Opposition Op-ed

Obama’s Greatest Promise Evaluated

On July 27, 2004, a young newly-elected Senator from Illinois was thrust into the national spotlight. Barack Obama gave a riveting keynote speech endorsing presidential candidate John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Foreshadowing the message his campaigns would promise in 2008 and 2012, he speaks with vigor and delivers a hopeful message.

Listening to this speech thirteen years later, I am covered in goosebumps yet utterly disillusioned. The only problem with his hopeful message is that it was not true then, it did not become true after the next three presidential elections, and it is not true now. He discusses partisanship, race relations, the media, and mentions the word “hope” eleven times.

“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s a United States of America”

This could not be more untrue. Today Congress and Americans are hopelessly divided. Partisan news outlets fill every corner of the media and crazy relatives post fake news articles like “What You Need To Know About The CIA Coup Against Donald Trump”. We have gotten to a point where we are asked to turn off the news or a historic presidential inauguration because someone may be offended. Whether or not Obama is to blame, partisanship increased under his watch.

“There’s not a black America and white America”

Race relations decreased greatly over the last three years. More police shootings have been covered by the media. There have been massive protests and fellow citizens have died. People have chosen to take sides – Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter (both of which are accused of racism). This is so very sad because a serious issue was made partisan. Obama is not to blame for this, however these strained relations were not mended during his presidency.

“Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?”

I would like to participate in the politics of hope. However, it is tough sometimes given the recent election of Donald Trump who consistently marginalizes people he is supposed to protect. Our inactive and incompetent Congress is also discouraging, and most Americans agree but still don’t act. Right now, people want the politics of cynicism and the media serves us what we demand (stories that bleed). Obama deserves credit for encouraging optimism as it is healthy in doses. I am often cynical about politics, but I do consider myself a closet optimist.

It is very easy and typical for politicians to make empty promises that we quickly believe. Putting aside Obama’s achievements such as healthcare and ending the financial crisis, we were not delivered the hope and unity he promised for twelve years. Today our country looks like a dystopia when compared to Obama’s bright vision of a united American people.

Even though our former president’s vision was not achieved and may seem unattainable, we should still strive for it as Americans because it is the change we need.

 

 

 

2 replies »

  1. I do have to disagree here. Obama certainly delivered on everything he intended to do. Understanding his history and who helped to shape his thoughts is key to understanding the purpose of his presidency. Saul Alinsky, Richard Ayers and Reverend Wright just to name a few. These were all very radically left people who did not preach any sort of unity, rather encouraged a divide and conquer mentality.

    He did vow to “fundamentally change” America, and he delivered on that. He fed people hope, however he never tried nor intended to deliver that hope. His presidency started off rocky, from Boehner wanting to make him a one term president, and with Obama letting Republicans know that they were in the back of the bus. This may not be his fault, but he certainly did not try and build any bridges.

    Race relations did get far worse under his watch, and he is actually directly responsible for much of it. From saying the police acted stupidly when Professor Gates was arrested, to Trayvon Martin, through Ferguson, MO and beyond. He interjected himself into situations where he did not need to be. Because the media fawned over his every move, that is where the media coverage of every police shooting of a minority comes from.

    He abandoned law enforcement at every turn. His most horrible display of this was refusing to light up the white house in honor of the fallen Dallas police officers. He also abandoned the military at every turn. Asking a marine to hold an umbrella to avoid a few sprinkles was not an accident.

    He sold a false bill of goods at every corner. Much like the die-hard Trump supporters who actually believe more than 2% of what that man says, Obama supporters are guilty of the exact same. I would contend that history may see W as the last good president this country had.

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  2. Thanks for your comment.

    Obama did not deliver on every promise (immigration and tax reform come to mind). This site provides many of Obama’s promises http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/browse/

    The people you mentioned were not prevalent during Obama’s administration. Those were people from his past and did not have roles in his presidency or campaign.

    The GOP clearly acted as obstructionists for 8 years. How can you build bridges when the opposing party refuses to recognize Obama’s birth in the US?

    Obama is not directly responsible for poor race relations. Years of abuse and ignorance built it up. And it ultimately boiled over after the media’s sensational coverage of police shootings. Obama walked a tight rope. He would’ve lost putting all his support behind either side. He admitted, “how inadequate [his] own words have been.” He sided with police and the BLM movement.

    Obama supporter’s in no way resemble the bind support Trump has and is receiving. He has admitted to sexual assault and made horribly racist comments.

    Obama will be remembered favorably as the ACA will be viewed positively just like Medicaid/Medicare are today among Americans.

    Lastly, I agree George W will be remembered favorably.

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