When a President leaves office, there is always talk about their “Legacy”. What will historians write as their “Legacy”. I’m not sure if the Presidents care but the media does. I would like to add my two cents regarding President Obama’s legacy. In full disclosure I did not vote for him and personally differ on several issues.
With that understanding…..
President Obama was MY President. I believe he did care about me and did his best to represent all Americans. Regardless of right-wing media, I do believe he is an honest man with great character. He is incredibly intelligent. I was proud to call him my President.
Barack Obama was the first African-American President. It was the center of all discussions when he was elected. The wonderful thing is that he soon stopped being the first African-American President and became the President. Even his critics stopped seeing an African-American and saw a MAN. The nation recognized him as the President, NOT the African-American President. Isn’t that the heart of Dr. King’s dream. We stop seeing skin color and see the individual. It’s okay if you do not agree with them, the disagreement is not about race. America stopped focusing on race and focused on the man. President Obama was able to take us beyond race and focus on him, the person. Like or dislike it was about the person and not the skin color. I believe history will not focus on America’s first African-America President (which is a major leap forward) but on the fact he moved the country beyond race.
There is much talk how the country has become more divided, including race relations. Relations between white and black America has declined. The appearance is it has declined but I believe that is only about appearances. Before Dr. King, Malcolm X and their contemporaries, America lived with blinders. White America ignorant or unwilling to see the two separate Americas and Black America reluctant to push matters in fear of a return to previous days. Everything appeared to be fine. With the onset of Dr King and the civil rights movement, America erupted. Things got “worse”. In reality nothing got worse. American prejudice was a deep wound covered by a bandage. It was infected and killing the country. Dr. King ripped off the bandage. The wound was ugly and festering, but now it was open. Open to air and the light so it had a chance to heal. Many Americans came together and doctored the wound. They fought back the infection and America began to heal.
As time passed the wound was re-covered. It was much better but by no means healed. We kept it covered for over 50 years. America was still wounded and healing had stopped. I believe that President Obama helped rip the bandage off the wound again. It is there for all of us to see. He brought America out of its age of apathy and forced us to see the wound had not healed. He forced us to take off the blinders and deal with our injury. We now have just accepted that there is an injury. Now it is time to start treating the wound and healing. President Obama started that process. He made all Americans look. I have faith that we will heal the wound. We will accept that there is still problems in America and it is up to us to fix them. I believe that history will credit President Obama with starting the second civil rights movement in America and we will ALL benefit from our advances.
President Obama was a man of action. He wanted to get things done for the American people. Take Health Care. Our Health Care system was in trouble. President Obama was the first with the leadership and vision to take the health care system on and pass Obama Care. Maybe it doesn’t work. It would be impossible to correct something as complex as American Health Care without some problems. It will probably be years before we find a system the works for all Americans. They can repeal Obama Care but they are forced to deal with the health care system and keep many of the things that did work. The point is, President Obama was the first with courage to make that huge first step. History will see him as the father of our modern health care system that is the envy of the world.
President Obama served much of his two terms in an environment of grid lock. Dealing with a legislature locked in battle and accomplishing nothing. The American people wanted solutions and congress gave them speeches and no action. The two parties fought and accomplished nothing. President Obama felt an obligation to serve and provide solutions. President Obama used executive orders to force action on some of America’s biggest problems. He dared and pleaded with congress that if they didn’t like his executive orders to pass laws that addressed these issues. He did not stand back and accept doing nothing. His opponents railed. They called the orders unconstitutional and demanded they be rescinded. I too did not agree with all of them but I respect President Obama for taking some action. I respect him for attempting to force congress to do their job. I respect him for caring enough to force solutions to our problems. History will see his legacy as a man of action.
As I mentioned throughout the blog I did not agree with much of President Obama’s political opinions. As a man he rose beyond our differences to be a President that I was proud of and have great respect for. It is a true measure of a president when those that oppose their views can still be proud to call them our president. I would love to have the opportunity to hang out with President Obama. I hope President Obama turns to teaching in some form. His intelligence, wit and passion make him the perfect person to teach. I would proudly take a class from the President. I have no doubt I would leave them with some new perspectives and insights into the world and probably new beliefs.
Thank You President Obama. Your legacy will be among the great Presidents that have served our Nation.