I never voted for Obama but, for me, the silver lining was that his election would finally stomp out the last embers of America’s racial antagonisms.
I was wrong. As it turns out, those lonely embers were too valuable politically to be wasted. So, Obama decided to pitch in with the arsonists.
It’s sad, really. No human being was more uniquely positioned to end the myth of debilitating racism in America than its first black president. No one. This was Obama’s unspoken mandate. He blew it.
And now America has this out-of-control racial inferno – zero percent contained – fueled mostly by the dried-up memories of real atrocities that don’t exist anymore.
So, as America burns at the cliff of a political Armageddon, I was really intrigued to find out what Obama thought of it all when he crawled prematurely from post-POTUS hibernation on Friday to speak with university students.
He’s had two years to relax, reflect and recharge without the weight of the world on his shoulders. How would he wield his influence to help quell our out-of-control political fires?
Well, let’s just say he took out a velvety can of political gasoline and poured it on the fire.
“There's a reason why progress hasn't been easy and why, throughout our history, every two steps forward seems to sometimes produce one step back,” he told a hushed audience. “Each time we painstakingly pull ourselves closer to our founding ideals ... somebody somewhere has pushed back. … More often it's manufactured by the powerful and the privileged who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep us cynical because that helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege.”
Uh-oh, here it comes …
“And you happen to be coming of age during one of those moments. It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He's just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years. A fear and anger that's rooted in our past ...”
Ladies and gentlemen, what on Earth is he talking about? “… powerful and privileged” who keep Americans angry and divided? Capitalizing on resentments? Fanning flames of “fear and anger rooted in our past”? Who’s doing that?! Isn’t it obvious?
Obama goes on in the speech, skillfully crafting words to paint a picture in the minds of students that doesn’t exist in real life.
He talked about the new generation’s “acceptance and celebration of our differences” creating conditions that are “ripe for exploitation by politicians who have no compunction and no shame about tapping into America's dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division.”
He talked about “appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another,” under the guise of order and security.
He said he was “hopeful because out of this political darkness I am seeing a great awakening of citizenship all across the country,” and he was excited to see “people of goodwill from across the political spectrum call out the bigots and the fearmongers.”
Obama’s remedy for restoring political sanity in these “extraordinary” and “dark” times? Vote in the midterms … for Democrats.
Oh OK, now that makes it clear what all the make-believe is really about: politics and, perhaps, revenge. Obama still nurses the resentment over his “shellacking” during the 2010 midterms.
“… my administration couldn't reverse forty-year trends in only eight years, especially once Republicans took over the House of Representatives and decided to block everything we did, … ”
That shellacking was an ear-piercing rejection of his policies and a threat to his legacy. Obama wants Trump to see how that feels in November.
The 2010 midterms blocked Obama’s hopes to “fundamentally” change America. And all the stuff he accomplished with “phone and pen” is now erased from political history. It’s enough to make a politician’s blood boil.
Just after Trump became president-elect, Charles Krauthammer said this on Fox’s “The Kelly File”:
“Obama's legacy is toast. Obama's legacy is gone. Which explains why he's so desperately, and unusually in American history, campaigned so roughly against Donald Trump. He knew that so much of his accomplishments had been built on ramming stuff through the House and the Senate with very little consensus – in fact, none on Obamacare coming from the Republicans – on executive orders that are reversible with the stroke of a pen, on regulation that is easily reversible; that it collapses if and when his successor turns out to be a Republican. And that's what happened.”
“I think he’s going to end up as a parenthesis in American history in the sense that he thought when we came into office, … he was the Ronald Reagan of the Left, meaning Reagan came in, he changed the ideological trajectory of the country, he turned it into a conservative country where that was the underlying consensus. Obama thought he was going to change all of that and begin a liberal ascendancy the way that Reagan began a conservative ascendancy. Well, it did not turn out that way. The country rejected his policies.”
“The idea that he would be the beginner of a new liberal ascendancy is now dead and Obama, I think, understands that very well.”
Today, Obama would probably beg to differ on the death of the “new liberal ascendancy” part. His return may be evidence that he’s not given up on that. The problem is, the new “ascendants” are nuts. They are committed to scorching the Earth, if necessary, to release the evil Republicans’ grip on power.
Liberal-left forces let loose during Obama’s eight years have degenerated into grotesque political Frankensteins. They shut down speech, threaten impeachment, threaten public officials with violence, encourage mayhem, brazenly defy explicit federal laws in the name of some Spartacus-like higher good, and they collaborate with the worst of political thugs by doing or saying nothing.
Obama said nothing.
Rather than quelling our irreconcilable antagonisms with language that reinforces the legitimacy of a duly elected president, or telling the naked truth about the infinitesimal influence of fringe racism in our day, Obama chose to capitalize on manufactured “resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”
On Friday, n0 human being was more uniquely positioned to inject much-needed sanity into our discourse at such a critical moment in the country’s history. Again, Obama took the low-hanging fruit.
He blew it.