Barack Obama Appreciation & Farewell Thread - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-19-2017, 04:18 PM   #1
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Barack Obama Appreciation & Farewell Thread

Preamble: This is an appreciation thread. If you aren't a fan, there are other threads to discuss that in. Please stay clear of this one and let it a be a peaceful one for those who wish to express their appreciation. I know there's an Obama General Discussion thread, but I thought it would be nice to have a thread specifically for this occasion, for posterity. But if the mods disagree, they can merge.

Preamble II: I would be saying this even if Hillary had won. This is not about the incoming president. I'm not even going to mention him. There's other threads for that as well.

I've been taking a long break from FYM since the election. But in the final hours of the Obama presidency, I felt the need to create this thread.

I will try not to be long-winded or too hagiographic. He was not perfect. He has his flaws. Not everything he did was great. The drone program is still very ethically problematic. We still can't be sure he would've done anything about the NSA spying on everyone if Snowden hadn't kind of forced his hand. He never even tried for a single payer healthcare plan, and he gave in on the public option. He wasn't able to make any headway on gun control. Common Core is very polarizing. He hasn't been progressive enough for some on the far left, I guess. He has his shortcomings, as all presidents do.

But damn if he wasn't the best president of my lifetime(i.e. since the 80s) thus far. There were several occasions over the last eight years during which it felt like I was inside an episode of the West Wing - when the ACA was passed and pre-existing conditions ceased being a thing, when the gay marriage ruling came down(getting to see U2 play Pride at their first show after the ruling with the rainbow flag on the stage was pretty special), when he signed the executive orders allowing Dreamers and their families to come out of the shadows, when the Iran deal became official, when he signed the Paris climate change agreement, just to name a few. Not to mention what he's done for the economy given where it was in 2009. Also not to mention having to do most of this against a congress that was set on impeding his progress every step of the way.

But aside his myriad accomplishments, it was also just the way he carried himself, with consummate dignity and class from beginning to bitter end, even when his legacy became suddenly under threat. He was eloquent, calm, cool under pressure, witty, and thoughtful, among other adjectives. I was always impressed at how naturally funny he was at those Press Association dinners. I was comforted by his presence every time he had to speak after a school shooting or after another black guy got killed by a cop - at least as much as one can be comforted in such situations - simply because he was always as sad and anguished and even angry about it(and our government's seeming inability and/or unwillingness to do anything about it) as we were - his anger was never overt, but it was always there, seething beneath the surface. And I've admired him the past two months as he's been as gracious as he could be about the transition despite the fact that he must be privately so upset about what could happen to many of the things he's accomplished in short order. In addition to all of this, he made it through eight years without any major scandal and without starting any new wars, something none of his four immediate predecessors can say.

I was talking about this the other day, but I'm not sure that there will be another president in my lifetime that I will like, on a personal level, as much as or more than this President.

I was 16 in 2000. My first years of real political awareness were pretty much centered on being against someone(George W. Bush) rather than being excited about anyone. Even in 2004, nobody was that excited about John Kerry, it's just that he wasn't Bush. But Obama was the first politician of my lifetime(other than Jed Bartlett, anyway) that actually inspired me, that made me want to vote for something. I'm 32 now, and I'm starting to get old enough to realize that politicians that actually inspire you and leave you with a lasting impression that is mostly positive are pretty rare. I've hopefully got many decades left, but I'm acutely aware that there may never be a president who eclipses this one as my favorite of my lifetime. Nor, for that matter, a first lady who eclipses Michelle as my favorite.

I think history will view him kindly. I think he will be remembered as a great man. I know he will be missed.

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Old 01-19-2017, 05:31 PM   #2
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During the concert a few minutes ago, Toby Keith thanked President Obama for his service.
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