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The End Of The Road

Exactly eight years ago today, I wrote a post talking about the presidency of George W. Bush. He has just taken office two months before I started this journal in 2001. None of us could have predicted what would happen back in January of that year, through the tumultuous eight years that followed.

And now, it's time to do it again: time to look back on the job the White House resident did over the past eight.



President Obama didn't have a strong economy, like his predecessor had, entering the Oval Office. In fact, we were on the brink of both a nationwide and possibly a global depression when he took the oath of office.

So, he didn't get to just kick back and enjoy the first few months of his "honeymoon;" he had some serious business to attend to - and he did. Bailing out Wall Street, rescuing the Auto Industry and stabilizing our economy so that we would avoid a financial abyss. Certainly Republicans don't give proper credit for the decisive action President Obama took to get our situation stabilized in those early days, that set the tone for the rest of his term.

Osama bin Laden. The scourge of the west that never could be captured or killed, finally met his fate under the Obama Administration.

But there were many issues that still remain unresolved. Racism is still a very big issue in our country. Classism likewise has yet to be addressed. And, at least when it comes to our election, sexism was the story.

It's interesting how everyone is side-stepping what seems, at least to me, the most obvious and most likely reason Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. She is a woman and we still have an issue with women being in charge of many things in this land including our government. Especially our government.

Knowing all of the provable facts about The Donald vs. all of the accusations against Hillary, you have to wonder how anyone would feel comfortable voting for a guy with that kind of record. But, if you believe that a woman shouldn't be Commander in Chief, you would vote for a man with twice the flaws.

And that's just the problem... he may actually have twice the flaws. We simply don't know yet because there's so much that he is keeping hidden.

Even as President Obama made his final press conference, a very different experience from Donald Trump's attempt to have a press conference, he tried to keep everyone calm, to reassure us that we are still here, that things aren't the end of the world until they are.

But that echoes the element I suggested that a President does best. Even in my summation of George W. Bush's tenure in Washington DC, I noted his greatest moment was an inspirational action - a perfect pitch from the mound of Yankee Stadium right after the 2001 attacks.

That was the kind of moment that makes you feel pride, it makes you feel connected, it gives you a sense of strength and that maybe we're going to be okay, despite how everything looks. That is where a president can shine the brightest and encourage citizens to take charge of their lives, to get up and do something similar!

And President Obama had many times where he needed to present such moments, usually after some mass shooting in some part of the country for a varying host of reasons. He was the Scoutmaster: helping us along but reminding us that WE, as citizens, needed to actually do the work to make it work, but that we could make it through.

What sort of message will our new leader send?

This is the last and final time I get to use this icon attached to this post. I made this icon specifically because as the President himself had said: I'm everybody's president. He truly thought about all Americans and their situations and circumstances and how to make improvements for people who needed help. He may not have gotten everything he had hoped to accomplish done, but he gave it his best efforts.

But before we conclude, I welcome and invite you to say what you think of President Obama here... good or bad. Talk about his policies, his efforts, his style, his singing voice, whatever!

Please leave a thought about him as we say goodbye, and thanks for doing so!

This entry was originally posted at http://penpusher.dreamwidth.org/744748.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
pen_grunt
Jan. 19th, 2017 02:43 pm (UTC)
I loved the way that Obama was like the nation's dad. Sometimes loving dad, sometimes tough-love dad, sometimes stern dad.

I hate how much he was blocked and impeded at every turn--simply because he was Obama or because he was a democrat and there was a goal, day 1, to make him ineffective. He did a ton, considering that, and I wish he had been more of the outspoken IDGAF president that he was in his last year.

I also loved how, even in the wake of a horrid election, he was still trying to give people hope--saying he's going to stick around and that his work isn't done. I do believe that he's still got a lot of activism, a lot of work left in him. Part of that is because he's a relatively young president, but also because I truly believe he views this as his life's work--not just a job or a position of power.

And I freaking loved his videos that he would make--funny, catchy, hip little videos that showed a very human, very humorous side of him (i.e. the couch commander video), but also got his point across.

I'm going to miss him. I'm sad that my kiddo won't remember him as president--her first conscious political memories will probably be of this next administration. I had hoped with all my heart that was going to be Hillary Clinton, and I'm still grieving for the death of that dream.
penpusher
Jan. 19th, 2017 09:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for these thoughts, Missy! You're right, he really did represent a kind of father figure for the nation... a father that, as you noted, didn't always have the power to do as much as he could for his collective family.

And yes, "HOPE" wasn't just a slogan for him - he really believes in it, straight through to the next administration. I too believe he will remain on the scene, working on projects where he's needed, helping inspire others, and continuing to guide anyone who is looking for support in that way.

I don't know if we could ever quantify why Hillary didn't win... certainly there were several factors - Comey, people's hatred for Bill, Trump's constant accusations... but I still feel that since we haven't properly discussed sexism in our nation, we still have a surprisingly large segment of the population that still isn't comfortable with a woman at the top.

Thankfully, by the time kiddo gets to be voting age, that won't be an issue anymore - and perhaps sooner!
serendipity
Jan. 20th, 2017 01:19 am (UTC)
Well, that's one loaded question! I'll try to be concise.

I'm grateful to Barack Obama in a multitude of ways. In 2004 his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention inspired many of us with its brilliant oratory, and we felt the first glimmer of the "audacity of hope." Even after deciding to run for election, he has never wavered from his focus on inclusion and the work we all have to do. He has been a compassionate leader who inspires us all to lead in our own ways. He has tried to break down walls separating people and instead build bridges to connect them. He was respected by international leaders! He has made us cry with his obvious respect, love, and admiration for his wife and children. He has let Michelle do her own thing and together they have been so classy, cool, upbeat and wonderful... ahhh!

Of course I can't say I agreed with all of his political choices (particularly related to staying at war) but certainly agreed with more than those of any other Presidents who had my vote. I'm very proud of being an Early Adopter of his presidential campaign, and of working FOR such positive ideals as opposed to fighting against negativity. The campaign was so wonderful unto itself, and actually WINNING was simply beyond anything I had experienced in my lifetime.

I'll miss just about everything about him as a President but know he'll remain an active force for good and look forward to his and Michelle's ongoing efforts to improve our country and the world. I don't think their family will ever get the privacy they deserve, but hope that their lives will resume some semblance of normalcy soon.
penpusher
Jan. 20th, 2017 06:37 am (UTC)
Hey Seren and thanks for your response.

You're right about how long Barack Obama's influence has lasted, and thanks for the link. It seems impossible that it's been over a dozen years since that iconic speech in 2004.

Yeah... The Nobel Committee probably wish they could revoke his peace prize... but then again, he still managed to reduce troop presence... I doubt they'll ever have "normalcy," by regular Americans' standards... they're just too well known. But then again, has anyone seen Amy Carter since she left the White House??
low_delta
Jan. 20th, 2017 05:28 am (UTC)
Obama's oratory was amazing during his campaign, but not so great once he took office. But that's not uncommon for Presidents. Bush II went downhill in that department after he took office.

I hate to say it, but I think his biggest downfall was Obamacare. He used up all his political capital to get that passed. And all the racists who were looking for an excuse to come out from under their rocks seized upon that issue. That was what turned him into a Commie.
penpusher
Jan. 20th, 2017 06:44 am (UTC)
I'm guessing that hiring speechwriters is a priority during the campaign and they had to do their best work at that time too. You can't continue to spend on something like that once you win.

Obamacare is a double edged sword, primarily because the richest people paying into the system really don't like the concept. But the Republicans will not be able to create anything like it without some sort of similar set up. All they want to do is get the wealthy that money back, which is the repeal part of this. There is no replacing it without making everyone pay big money, and having people with pre-existing conditions drift away on their own.

I guess we'll see how everyone likes the alternative, soon enough!
halfshellvenus
Jan. 20th, 2017 09:19 pm (UTC)
I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for the economy, either, or for being a stable and inspiring leader even in terrible times (Sandy Hook comes to mind).

It has been frustrating to see him impeded from doing so much that he wanted to do and that the public as a whole wanted... but which diehard Republicans prevented, simply with the goal of making him "not succeed."

That stupidity and entrenchment has been absolutely aggravating, and he has borne it with better grace than most.

I will miss his intelligence, his compassion, his patriotism, his sanity, and simply the idea of having someone at the helm we could trust not to steer us wrong domestically or internationally.

I'm hoping a taste of The Wingnut and his capacity for rash, dangerous actions and the ability to embarrass us worldwide will cause enough people to realize the mistake of electing Trump that we never do this again, at least in my lifetime. Although I also thought they would come to that realization BEFORE the election, so the fact that we're here is a terrible, sickening shock.

I've been in mourning for Obama's leaving since long before the election. I would happily have gone another 4 years with him, if the law allowed it.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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