Look, no one wants him to go. We’ve all witnessed eight years of a truly good, decent and honorable man leading our country with integrity and courage. Did he get everything right? Good God, he’s a human being. No one can. And he faced unprecedented (or, as the lump of rotting pumpkin flesh about to replace him would say, “unpresidented”) obstruction from a Congress that did everything they could to stop him from governing. I mean, they stole a Supreme Court seat from him. Stole. It.
Yet through it all, instead of becoming angry or petulant or whiny or tweeting something deranged at 3 a.m., President Barack Obama handled it all with grace and true patriotism. Country before ego, democracy before self-interest.
The importance of his presidency cannot be overestimated. History will only continue to elevate his legacy. Yet the lens of time will show us, once again, the painful arc of our moral universe. Stunning progress followed by a staggering regression. One step forward, one ugly primordial scream back.
One of the things that struck me most about President Obama’s Farewell Address was how he emphasized how nothing in our Constitution is “self-executing.” Which means our elected officials, even our President, can break the law with impunity unless we demand something be done. There is no automatic trigger that, once violated, will protect us. It’s on us to do that. It is on us to demand that.
“Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning — with our participation, and with the choices that we make and the alliances that we forge.So when Trump and the GOP try to repeal ethics oversight or rush through cabinet nominees without completing full background checks of financial disclosures or appoint his son-in-law which is clearly illegal based on the anti-neoptism law, it is on us to stop them. It will be on us to stop everything.
Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law, that’s up to us. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.”
All that will be ahead of us. It will be tiring and it will be exhausting. Though, gifts like Donald Trump’s golden showers, will give us some light amidst the darkness (though, as fun as it is, let’s not let all the pee-pee jokes distract us from the real, live treason).
But for now, all I want to do is say thank you. Thank you to a man who helped make our country and our world better. And from a man who I have no doubt will keep doing the same as a private citizen, just like us. I will miss this man, and I will miss this family. Thanks, Obama.