The title of my blog post yesterday was: “My Last Post on Obama.” Well, I was wrong. Here is another. Reading comments from my liberal and Democrat friends and especially my black friends, I realized that I may have failed to acknowledge the historic event that Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency has been for multiple reasons. Older black people in this country never thought they would live to see a black President. That milestone and their feelings are worth our consideration. It will never be something I can feel, but they feel it deeply.
Obama is our first black President. We are a country that is still in formation and we will be as long as it exists. Will we learn to be more tolerant of each other? Maybe and maybe not. No matter what you grow up believing or grow up learning, tolerance is not “out there.” Tolerance is “in here.” It is inside each of us. We either choose it or we do not choose it. Even worse than that, you cannot choose tolerance once and be done with it. You have to choose it with every new human interaction. We will only get better as a people when most of us choose tolerance as a way of life at the individual level. It will be hard, but worth our effort.
There are many things that drive us apart. Almost any word can be deemed unacceptable. As long as we make value judgments on everything we see and hear, how could we not be doing the same thing with people? We do not even allow them to express themselves without dissent. We can do better. I can do better.
President Obama has the highest likability rating of any President in our history at the end of his presidency. Many black people will always view him as out best President ever. Many Democrats think he has done an excellent job during his eight years in office. We should respect their right to believe that and let the historians tell their story fifty years from now.
Because of his job as President, Obama has had to live his life the last eight years in public. His family was in the news constantly and that is not unusual. The Obama family has been both praised and criticized on a daily basis. Families do not deserve this kind of scrutiny. It is unfair, but it is the way of the world for people in leadership positions. With all that going on, Barack and Michelle have raised two daughters and demonstrated to the world what a cohesive and loving family looks like.
We still have some growing to do as people and as a country. Our governments and our laws need to reflect that growth.
Obama will not be our last black President, but he will always be our first black President. Bill Clinton tried, but I am reserving that honor for Barack Obama. Considering out history, it is a momentous occasion and should not be minimized.