Will Obama’s Legacy Be The “Hateful Eight” Years of Change?
Now that more than eight years have passed since the days when Barack Obama made his meteoric rise in politics, it’s fair to say that he’s had his chance to deliver on his campaign promise of “change you can believe in.” The effects of his Presidency will be felt for decades no doubt, and his legacy has yet to be written, but for this snapshot in time in September of 2016, what positive and meaningful change has Barack Obama delivered?
Time Heals All Wounds, Right?
Even though I’m a conservative, and my candidate lost the 2008 election, I had high hopes that Barack Obama would indeed deliver on some of his promises of unity, transparency, peace, and prosperity. I was naive to his intentions of course, given his cloaked history, “no vote” record in Illinois as a State Senator, and his total placeholder status as a U.S. Senator; but all that aside, I hoped he could be a fresh, new, moderate, unifying voice after the turmoil experienced during George Bush’s term. That was not to be. That may have been the message, but I don’t think that was ever his intention. What an utter disappointment he’s proven to be. What a missed opportunity for him to shine, and what a missed blink in history in which we all could have benefitted.
As time passes, his legacy may shine brightly. I’m good with that, as we need to move forward. That said, if it were written today, “hateful eight” is the most fitting term that comes to my mind, when describing the past two terms in office that he’s delivered to our doorstep.
Promises Made. Promises Unkept.
Given the divisiveness of Congress, has he acted as a unifying leader of leaders? Given the riots in the streets by African Americans from Baltimore to Ferguson, to Seattle and beyond, has he delivered the racial unity he had us hoping for? A majority of citizens are proud of the fact that his election made important history in being the first person of African American descent to take the seat of President of the United States. Historical significance aside, has he delivered the positive and meaningful change that he promised back then? Or were we all duped?
Here are some questions I ask myself, to gauge whether change has been for the best:
- Are we more united by our differences, or are we more divided?
- Are we more prosperous, or poorer?
- Are our cities, suburbs and rural communities more peaceful, or more violent?
- Have citizens ceded more power to political parties, or are citizens still in control?
- Have lobbyists, corporations, and billionaire power brokers gained more or less power over our elected officials?
- Are we more moral, or more immoral as a nation?
- Are there more community service organizations, or are there fewer?
- Are people living longer, or has life expectancy decreased?
- Is the education more affordable, or less affordable?
- Are we sharing Democracy worldwide, or do others look at us now more as an experiment in government gone wrong?
- Are we evangelizing our faith, or are we more apt to hide our faith?
- Are we more free, or less free to do and say what we believe in without retribution?
- Are we a nation that operates better today under the rule of law, or is our nation following the rule of men?
- Has our military and veterans experienced more or less support from our government?
- Has the IRS been used illegally by our government as a partisan
- Is our government more, or less transparent in its operations?
- Have our government’s covert actions advanced our country’s principles, or lost peoples’ trust?
- Is personal privacy respected or disrespected by our law enforcement agencies?
- Are we at war, and do the people support this war or not?
- Are drones and other means being deployed to kill foreign and domestic targets, in lawless fashion?
- Is the Constitution itself being followed, or suffering constant challenges by the elected official(s) sworn to uphold it?
There are dozens more questions that I could add to this list, and you likely have a few dozen of your own to add, but my personal conclusion at this point in time is clear: The past eight years have devastated and divided us as a nation. The promise of “hope” was only a campaign slogan. The results today speak for themselves. I pray now is that no matter who wins the next election (Clinton or Trump) that the President’s actual performance will rise above my expectations and fears.
The U.S. doesn’t need another hateful eight years.