“I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president to all Americans, and this is so important to me,”
says a man who, just a few months ago, bellowed “How stupid are the people of Iowa?“, then called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Without even getting into the slurs and gibberish, the list of exclusive language Donald Trump has used throughout his campaign is too long for him to hold in his tiny baby-hands. We’ve all heard it. We are all witnesses.
The campaign promise that resonated most with his followers was to build a wall. Not just any wall, but “a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than [him].”
Now this man has the audacity to ask for unity?
One might call that the audacity of hope. That man is President Barack Obama, and he deserves better.
Obama campaigned for hope and change. We held our breath for a brighter future when we elected him president in the historical election of 2008.
In the eight years that followed, President Obama fought an uphill battle. Against a
do-nothing do-anything-to-thwart-him Congress. Against dissenters motivated more by the color of his skin than the content of his ideas. Against apathy and hate—antonyms, somehow joined together in harmony to make Obama’s job as Commander-in-chief more impossible.
And yet, Obama worked with a cool head and compassion, never once faltering if he felt that way.
For eight years, he fought for his people—all of us—to have in a better way. He did it with dignity and aplomb.
It wasn’t swift, it wasn’t elegant, and it certainly wasn’t spectacular. But through hard work and determination, President Obama eked out small improvements in employment. Love won when same-sex couples were granted the constitutional right to marry. And yeah, it’s imperfect—in fact, I’d go as far as to argue that the very concept of insurance is an overflowing basket of deplorable and opportunistic greed—but the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction for an American people who are very, very ill.
In international relations, i.e., we now have them, with Cuba—a relationship the charisma of neither JFK nor Ronald Reagan could smooth over. Over in the delicate Middle East, Obama negotiated a landmark deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And don’t forget, uh, we got bin Ladin.
#ThanksObama. Love you. Mean it.
Today, I woke up prepared to cut off Florida to spite my nation. (Topographically speaking, it’s so easy!)
North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania: surgery will be more intricate, but I’m looking at you too.
Come together as one united people? Now? Get bent.
Part of me wants Trump to bear the hardships that President Obama has—knowing full well that that statement is laughable given his white and his political privilege, including a Senate majority and open Supreme Court seat.
I want him to have to plod. To trudge. To suffer.
But then I remember the Obamas, and I remember they deserve better.
The woman whose 21st Century update to “turn the other cheek,” is a belief that “When they go low, we go high“—she deserves better. Her two daughters, who have a right, goddammit, to an America that lives up to the “city upon a hill” vision that Kennedy, Reagan, and their idealistic father imagined—they deserve better.
But most of all, President Obama. He deserved better throughout his presidency. He deserves better in its waning days. For the rest of his life, this man deserves better than fragmentation, hate, and discord.
I won’t stand for anything that stands in the way of the unity President Obama deserves.