Although he has 10 months remaining in office and many challenges ahead, I’m already feeling nostalgic ahead of the time when Barack Obama is not president of the United States. Compared to the candidates — one of whom will likely succeed him — I wish Obama could have a third term.
Let me be clear. I have never been under any delusions about this presidency or this president. Obama is not, nor has he ever been our/my “Moses.” The truth is he is sitting instead in the seat of Pharaoh, and the last time I checked the president’s job description wasn’t rewritten when Obama was elected from the time when either Woodrow Wilson or Herbert Hoover was in the chair.
The Obama presidency has been one in which this “Pharaoh” tries to lead his racist, xenophobic people to “do the right thing” by way of the allegorical, enslaved Hebrew Chill’un we are all acquainted with because of their 400-plus-years of bondage. By the way, the haunting similarities between the Biblical Pharaoh and the American Pharaoh are far more important than random coincidence. But I digress.
I have many reasons for looking fondly at this president at this historic time. For one thing, this very first Black president of the United States does not wear the name of a former slave master. Barack Hussein Obama’s father was a Kenyan, an African who met the president’s mother, Anne Dunham, while attending a university in Hawaii.
This president and his family — including Marian Robinson, his mother-in-law—have far exceeded every standard of decorum I can imagine. They have lived absolutely scandal-free at the very top of the social pecking order, and yet appear to not be “stuck up,” as if they have remained unaffected by their “royalty.”
Eye-candy-wise, they are so-o-o fine, so pretty to look at. I like that about them.
Policy-wise Obama has won some “game-changing victories,” despite Republican threats that if elected, they would reverse them on their first day in office.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not going to be repealed any time soon.
The U.S. will not return to treating Cuba the way it did during the Cold War.
The U.S. will not get world sanctions imposed again on Iran because of its non-existent nuclear weapons program.
Those changes are likely to be permanent changes in U.S. policy.
I’ve got a personal reason for my fondness. I attended a session with Obama and nine other journalists. We were members of the Trotter Group of Journalists and Commentators (named after outspoken White House correspondent William Monroe Trotter). The interview took place one evening in late October 2010, and I personally showed up on Obama’s radar.
After everyone else’s questions had been answered, it was my turn. I began to ask the president about his decision to send his daughters to a private school, and was he concerned that it might offend D.C. residents he had not chosen a public school.
Before I could finish, the president interrupted me, taking issue with something I said in the set-up for the question. After he made his point, he allowed me to complete my question saying: “But I cut you off, Askia…” He called me by name! By my first name! I have proof. I have the audio recording. Funny thing though, on the official White House transcript, my name is not there. (Makes me wonder what other details are routinely left out of official White House transcripts…and who decides? But again I digress.) But that’s still pretty cool, isn’t it? The President addressed me personally.
There is one ruinous stain on the Obama legacy. He co-signed on overthrowing Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi. For that matter, Russia and China also co-signed by not vetoing the U.S. sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution to give Western-paid rebels a big boost establishing a no-fly zone, denying the government an important weapon in its self defense arsenal. Qaddafi lost and was brutally murdered. Bad, bad U.S. policy.
The United States committed war against Libya, overthrowing the government of a country with which the U.S. had formal diplomatic relations! Libya had only months before its betrayal by U.S. diplomacy relinquished all chemical and biological weapons research, findings, supplies, everything. The Libyan government was obviously trying to curry U.S. diplomatic favor.
The result has been a disaster for Libya, North Africa, Iraq and Syria, France, Belgium, for the world. That happened on Obama’s watch and permanently stains him.