So this is really happening...
I don't know about you but this whole experience of living in America in the year 2016-early 2017 seems surreal to me. Many of my older colleagues have compared it to Germany right before Hitler took office, while some of my more religious companions compared it to the new Pharaoh in Egypt who did not know Joseph (Exodus 1:8). However you decide to make sense of it, I'm sure that we can all agree that it there is an eerie type of difference about our President Elect and his upcoming service. Unlike many people I know, I wasn't surprised when Trump got elected. Annoyed yes, but not surprised. Annoyed because the country that I live in which I had hoped was becoming more progressive and more capable of making sound judgments, proved to me (once again) that maybe we aren't. Maybe we aren't as far ahead as I thought we were. Maybe my being frequently surrounded by people who don't look like me, yet are enlightened and progressive, and dare I say smart, fooled me into believing that the rest of the country was like that too. I suppose not, therefore I am not surprised. Besides, this is the country we live in. America, the land of opportunity.
I don't follow politics closely enough to speak for or against Trump's policies. I honestly can't even tell you what any of them are. I just know that a person that is as intolerant, impulsive, insensitive, and insecure as he seems, may not be fit to hold the office of President of the United States. I am somewhat comforted in knowing however, that although the President is the face of the country he is not the most powerful, and that there are checks and balances in place. I am even more comforted in knowing that God is still in control. So as to whether or not Trump will be a good President, I suppose we will have to wait and see.
*That's Tweetable* I am comforted in knowing that although the President is the face of the country he is not the most powerful
As I thought about these things and the pending inauguration, I smiled as I reflected on how proud I was of America and how proud I felt to be an African American over the past eight years. Regardless of what your personal or political opinions are about President Obama, you must give credit where credit is due. Maybe he didn't do the things you wanted him to do, and maybe he didn't create as much change as you think he should have. But if there is one good thing (and I have many) I can say about President Obama it is his relentless call to action and encouragement of the average citizen. People like you and me, getting involved and making change where we can. In his recent Farewell Address, he stated "change happens when ordinary people get involved and engaged and demand the idea" and I couldn't agree more.
It's unfortunate that not everyone shares this appreciation for his term, and even more frustrating that some people are down right disappointed. But as I mentioned earlier, the President isn't the most powerful man in the country, Trump won't be and Obama wasn't; I don't think people get that, and as upsetting as it may be, there are some things he just WAS NOT able to do. It's as if people had this unrealistic idea of what they expected to happen when he got into office. When he was first elected it was a common joke in the AA community that he was a 'Black Superhero' or that he would save all the black people. Funny, and as admirable as it sounds it's simply unrealistic.
I think we have to keep in mind that he is only the FIRST African American president and essentially he had to tread lightly. Some people call him a coward, or afraid for not being vocal enough on certain issues, or adamant enough about others, but I just see it as him choosing his battles wisely. As we all need to do. I believe that there aren't many people who would have been able to take on that role, survive the slander, backlash, disrespect, and intolerance from thousands of people daily, yet still lead with tact and grace. The fact that he didn't go crazy while in office is commendable in itself. What I'm saying here is that he was simply yet another individual who paved a way so that those of us coming after him can walk the path.
We must keep in mind that we still live in a racist country; maybe not explicit "bring out the dogs and the fire hoses" racist but the reality is that it was difficult for many of our fellow country men to see an African American man in office. Even worst, is that they were not silent about their disgruntlement. They attacked his character, his color, his background, and his birth certificate for crying out loud; and primarily because of his race. So yes, we've made great strides and advances, but based on some of the things I've seen over the past eight years, I will continue to address the work that still needs to be done.
*That's Tweetable* Yes we've made great strides and advances, but I will continue to address the work that still needs to be done
Maybe you wanted a super hero, or a savior, a white man, or even someone with a larger pair of you-know-what. And maybe you can't concur with the proud feeling I have. Proud that I was able to witness a family that looks like me live and serve in that office for eight years. Proud that 20 years from now when my children are reading from their 'less than perfect' history text book, they will look to me and ask what it was like to be alive during this time, and that I'll be able to tell them. And proud simply because I witnessed another human being display resilience, decency, and strength amidst a raging storm.
*That's Tweetable* I'm proud simply because I witnessed another human being display resilience, decency, and strength amidst a raging storm
Not everyone agreed with Martin Luther King, Nat Turner, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, or even Frederick Douglass. I'm sure that there were those who complained about what that person should have done, or how that person did not meet their specific needs. However, years later we reflect on these pioneers and acknowledge all that they DID do, because that's what matters. And if anything, our departing President's term and our pending President's arrival should teach us that even if you are least expected to get involved or win, there is a strong possibility that if you chose to (get involved), you could go all the way.
Happy New President folks.
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