Skip to main content

Adieu Obama: How Will History Remember Itself?


On January 20th 2009, when a 44-year-old man from Hawaii with roots from the slums of Kenya made a triumphant entry into the white house after breaking the highest glass ceiling of power, he didn’t just make history, he became history. A piece of literature that will forever be told. Obama received national notoriety in 2004 when he made a key note address at the July Democratic National Convention at Boston, paving way to his election into the United States Senate in November of that year.

Barack Obama was box office upon arrival. He exuded poise; a silver lining in a society with dark economic clouds and a fulfillment to the August 28th 1963 dreams of Martin Luther King. The President began his historic term with the nation in the middle of an economic and foreign policy turmoil. He confronted global crises, terrorism, mass shootings and the challenges of growing economic inequality. He fulfilled a promise made by generations of Democrats to secure universal health care, and he served justice to Osama Bin Laden.

However, as Obama leaves the oval office, there are regrets, missed opportunities and a few ‘what ifs’. In the last eight years, nothing has been more controversial than the gun control debate. It was fierce at times and emotional at other times, but it was a raging conversation at all times. Obama will always remember gun violence cases like Sandy Hook and wonder what might have been. On January 5th, 2016, Obama announced new executive actions extending background check requirements to more gun sellers but political pundits believe that this was never enough to stem the scourge. In many ways, Obama was frustrated by the NRA and its cohorts on this subject. Whether Barack Obama will do some pro bono work in his post-presidency days will entirely be his decision. However, the gut feel is that he will depart from public glare with Donald Trump at the helm. We can only hazard a guess at this time but only in the fullness of time will we truly know.


Many have questioned, and rightly so, if the life of the average African American is any better today than it was eight years ago. The facts suggest that black shootings and discriminations have become more pronounced over the past eight years. Racial tensions have become louder from Dallas to Louisiana, and Barack Obama have most times looked like a man caught in the middle. Yet, one truth that cannot be gainsaid is that Barack Obama changed how black folks thought of themselves and the wider nation they lived in. Obama’s attainment of the nation’s highest office illuminated the depth and breadth of black genius in American society, helping to inspire millions of young people to nurture bigger dreams.

And some words for Michelle Obama. The outgoing first lady is grace personified and has more than carried herself with dignity over the past eight years. In a society where there is a dearth in effective parenting, Michelle has done a great job in bringing up Sasha and Malia under enormous pressure. As the Guardian newspaper puts it ‘Her public resilience in leading a charge to promote healthy eating across the nation, including providing nutritious foods for economically and racially segregated youth living in poverty, was illuminating – as was her willingness to speak truth to power at the Democratic national convention, where she acknowledged living in a house built by slaves. Moments like these cemented her soaring stature nationally and solidified the special place she holds within the hearts of black people everywhere.’ She has also managed a home that have been largely free from scandals, in an age when the social media scrutiny on those in power has been rife. There is a feeling that the last might not have been seen of Michelle Obama, if not now then certainly in the future.


In summary, these are early days to pass a verdict on the presidency and the entire legacy spectrum of Barack Obama. The jury will be out on that one for a long while. Hindsight they say is a beautiful thing and it is only when posterity looks back through historic lens that a last word will be said on the presidency of Obama. Yet, one thing we can all agree on is that Barack Obama was the face of history and while he tried to play down the significance of his racial roots, he cannot entirely divorce this reality from the way his presidency panned out. When all is said and done, history will be merciful to Barack.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Everyone Thinks of You

1. Remind yourself that most people are NOT thinking about you anyway.
Ethel Barrett once said, “We would worry far less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.” Nothing could be closer to the truth.

Forget what everyone else thinks of you today; chances are, they aren’t thinking about you anyway. If you feel like they always are, understand that this perception of them watching you and critiquing your every move is a complete figment of your imagination. It’s your own inner fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion.

It’s you judging yourself that’s the real problem.

2. Acknowledge that external validation is only getting in your way.
Spend time clearly and consciously articulating to yourself how your thoughts about what others are (potentially) thinking plays out in your life. Think of situations where it gets in your way, and identify the triggers and the regrettable responses it causes in your life. Then identify a new behavior that cr…

18 Things I Learnt in 2018

1. One day at a time. I have learnt that you will not always find all the answers, and some things will always remain grey. But the secret is to always take life one day at a time. Some things will only get clearer along the way. Don’t try to enter the future all at once. There is power in un-clarity.

2. Random check on people can be really powerful.
A friend recounted to me how through a simple phone call she was able to salvage her friend who was on the brink of plunging into third mainland bridge. Care, and truly care for people. Ask ‘how are you’ and really mean it.

3. Dreams do come true.
Earlier this year, I’d fiddled with the idea of how great it will be to speak on the TEDx stage someday. Interestingly, I wrote this as one of my 2018 goals even without having a clue on how. On December 1st, I ticked it off. It’s a cliché but you honestly have to see it, before you get it.

4. Stick to your plan.
More than ever before, I have learnt the power of sticking to your plan; the late…

In The Final Analysis, It Is One Life We Are All Given

Nia Vardalos once said ‘You only get one life so you might as well make it a happy one, and that's why I tend to just jump into things. I'm sort of a fearless idiot that way.’ It is a cliché which we have heard from time immemorial that life is short. But how many of us actually live our day to day lives like we’re really going to die one day? Aware that this thing called life is fleeting, and more importantly, a non-rehearsal.

Many of us live lives filled with tedium, responsibilities, and unpleasant chores. We spend so much of our mental energy just getting through each day that it’s easy to forget that our time on earth is finite, that each moment we fritter away is a moment we will never get back. This is a reality that though many are aware of, has not really sunk in.

Everything you desire in life has a price and you have to be willing to accept that price. If you desire to do great work, it will cost you. Likewise, security and comfort will cost you. If you want a luxur…