As the Obama presidency comes to an end, the world would not be same again. We would be deprived of a leader, who had camouflaged behind his serene smile and a rangy gait, a stubborn optimism, unfailing grit, indomitable will and incredible gravitas. Every time Barack Hussein Obama took to the podium, the world held its breath to hear out, as he conjured dreams for countless people through his genuine determination, those crescendos alternating with pregnant pauses, the eclectic hint of a Hawaiian accent and ecclesiastical notes jingling with his prodigious charisma in an ethereal voice and inhuman grace.
The New York Times quotes Beverly Tan Murray, an African American resident from Miami as saying, “ Mr. Obama’s presidency was the living embodiment of a dream we were once promised. If we could live in a world where he was president, maybe America saw, respected, even loved us. For a brief, magical time, that “maybe” felt like reality.” Mr. Barack Obama carried hopes and aspirations on his towering image of a sensitive husband and a loving father, and that of a compassionate, humble and thoughtful man. His persona made the government feel alive as he offered a beacon of hope to a restless world in troubled times, time and again in these 12 turbulent years.
The posterity shall of course also be made to remember, time and again, that the very magnetic eloquence which led to his ascent, proved to be his Achilles’ heel. There always remained this formidable difference in his unquestionably noble motives and what he was finally able to attain for America and the world.
His massive domestic and international political fails, diplomatic setbacks in Russia and Israel, his inability to persuade the Congress on many key reforms, utter failure at being able to check gun violence even after the Sandy Hook and Charleston killings and developing breeding ground for terrorism in middle east due to detrimental inaction will always be blemishing his tenure at the oval office. Some even logic that it was his timidity and inaction on crucial matters at critical junctures which led to the general frustration against the vernacular politics leading to the rise of Donald Trump.
At the end of the day, inspite of his many heroics, irrespective of everything he did, be it Stimulus Bill, Obamacare, salvaging America of two economic recessions, Paris agreement on climate accord, Bilateral agreements with China, Russia and Latin America including Cuba and new paradigms of relation with European and Asian nations, his critics will see his failure over what he saw as pointless. He will be remembered as a leader who did not flaunt his achievements.
The Telegraph quotes Barack Obama saying to a young child interviewing for People’s magazine last month about the Tuesday farewell party. “We are going to have a big party before we leave office. But I’ll be honest with you- it’s going to be after your bed time. ”
As for us, this is no bed time. We will watch in delirium as your antithesis takes over as the 45th POTUS, who unlike you, is vindictive, irritable, argumentative and dangerous.
As for you, some will question your being a good president, no doubt about that. But you will always be remembered as the most beautiful person to ever reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Feature image credits: White House Photo/Pete Souza