Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why We Shouldn’t Mourn The Obamas’ Departure From The White House; Huffington Post, 1/19/17

Zeba Blay, Huffington Post; 

Why We Shouldn’t Mourn The Obamas’ Departure From The White House

"The Obamas meant many things to many people. To some they meant the fruition of the American Dream. To others they meant the destruction of it. There are millions of Americans who are emphatically glad to see Obama go, who are blissfully excited about a Trump presidency and its vague promise to “make America great again.” 

And there are millions of Americans who feel as if a loved one has just died. But no one has died. If we should take anything away from the legacy of these last eight years, it’s that there is no president who can save us from our collective demons. Only we can do that.

For those whose hearts are breaking, it may seem pithy and banal to use the quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

But really. Don’t cry. Because the Obamas get to be citizens again, for one thing. They get to move out of the line of fire of an almost constant, condensed stream of racial hate. But also ― we got to witness this. For better or worse. We witnessed a black president. And for centuries to come, children of all races and backgrounds will see his face looking up at them from their history textbooks, and they will take for granted the profundity of it.  

There’s actually a streak of that intangible thing called “hope” to be found in the Obama’s departure. For many of us, the prospect of the next four years seems bleak. But if Barack Obama could get through eight years as a black president in America with his sanity and his dignity intact, and even effect a little change, perhaps there is room for some cautious optimism. At the very least, we can try."

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