Recently I saw a paparazzi photo of Barack Obama. He was walking alone. Michelle, Sasha, and Malia were involved with their own routines. He was wearing a leather bomber, jeans, and sunglasses. He still looked thin and fit. Nevertheless, his gray mane was quite telling. It was reported that he would be spending time on an island once owned by Marlon Brando to begin writing his White House memoirs for which he was awarded a handsome contract worth upwards of sixty million dollars. Not only is Obama recognized as an amazing orator, but he also has two bestselling books, which means that his writing is not too shabby either. I am not sure when his White House memoirs are due out. Yet, I am personally assured it will be well worth the wait. Moreover, there is also planning for Obama’s presidential library. Once the former President’s library is opened, I shall have to make a pilgrimage to Chicago to try and enhance my understanding of the man who became the first Black President of the United States.
Despite these important recent developments concerning Barack Obama, I must admit that I am waxing quite nostalgic for his presidency. I vividly recall after he was elected President in November 2008 the calls for him to do something regarding the economy and the two wars in which America was involved. I also recall his response to the international calls for Obama to step into the fray. Obama’s only response was that there is only one President at a time. The nation and the world would simply have to wait. Ironically, we seem to find ourselves in a similar situation with another Republican President. It took Richard Nixon six years to bill up to Watergate. The Iran-Contra Scandal did not emerge until Reagan’s second term in office. For all of Bush’s woes, it took him eight years to reach the paradoxical pinnacle of a national and international quagmire. Even Hurricane Katrina happened during Bush’s second term. The current administration has been scandal-laden since day one. Recall that Trump complained that his Inaugural crowd size was intentionally underestimated relative to Obama’s crowd size. Obama had close to two million attendants for his historical Inauguration. Trump had around two hundred thousand. The Women’s March that occurred the day after Trump’s Inauguration drew significantly more people. Aside from the ceaseless scandals emanating from the Trump Administration, perhaps we would be content to allow Barack Obama to ride peacefully off into the sunset; however, Trump’s obsession with Obama will not allow us that luxury.
Trump’s obsession with Obama became apparent with the Birther issue. Not only did Trump question Obama’s birthright, but he also questioned Obama’s academic standing at Harvard. Trump’s obsession with Obama led this writer to conclude that Trump could not fathom having a Black male in a higher position than he was. Trump ran his entire campaign with an anti-Obama undertone. The mantra “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” is nothing less than an ad hominem argument against the first Black President. Once Trump actually secured the presidency, his obsession Obama did not end. With Trump’s failed raid in Yemen, Trump stated that the planning for the attack was formulated under Obama. Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban was aimed at seven Muslim-majority countries that it claims were identified by the Obama Administration. The irony here is not lost. While campaigning, Trump consistently stated that Obama was the worst President ever. Yet, Trump was continually stating that he was following Obama’s lead on several fronts. Trump fired Sally Yates as acting Attorney General. Trump has been attempting to “purge” Washington of Obama staffers. In one broad move, all Obama era prosecutors were asked for their resignations immediately. Despite all these Obama references, the most egregious evidence of Trump’s ongoing obsession with Obama came with the unsubstantiated accusation that President had ordered the “wiretapping” of Trump in Trump Tower. This accusation spawned its own cottage scandal from which the nation has not extracted itself.
Trump has been making a great deal of noise about Barack Obama. For all intents and purposes, Trump seems to have two policy agendas. One policy agenda is to enrich billionaires. His other, and most intense, policy agenda is to reverse as many Obama-era policies as possible. As of yet, he has not been able to get major legislation passed regarding that aspect of his reason for being in office. Yet, it appears that on an almost daily basis, Trump signs an executive order aimed at dismantling the Obama legacy. Trump and Republicans seem driven by an anti-Obama ideological myopia. The essential problem becomes the fact that many Obama policies beneficial to forming a more perfect union. A blanket erasure of such policies ushers into America nothing less than a society steeped in dystopia.
Barack Obama’s response to those who needed him to say something after he was first elected in 2008 also applies to his leaving office in 2017. There is only one President at a time. Yet, there are occasions in the offing that will provide us with an opportunity to hear from Barack Obama. When his library opens he will make a speech. When his book comes out, he will go on a book signing tour and media blitz. In the meantime, we are left in a situation similar to the one we found ourselves in after Obama was first elected President. We find ourselves waiting on Obama.