Au Revoir, Mr. Prez! | THE POLITICUS

Au Revoir, Mr. Prez!

Casting my vote, 2008
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So much has happened. It might as well have been fifty years ago; at least, that's how it seems to me. On the night that Barack Obama was elected on November 4, 2008, the elation I felt over the idea that a nation that was built upon the bloodied backs of African American bondage had just elevated to the presidency it's first black man seemed too good to be true. For weeks I was walking on air. But as the days leading up to his inauguration went by, that feeling of elation began to slowly dissipate. By January 20, 2009, it was gone, That's when it hit me:
 
What's this president going to be doing for the next eight years, I asked myself? The same damned thing that black people in this country have been doing for the last four centuries - cleaning up the mess left behind by lazy and ignorant white people! What's the big freakin' deal?
 
I was expecting the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt with this president, and ended up disappointed. Most of the blame for what he left unaccomplished lies at the feet of the disloyal opposition. He might have done so much more but for the fact that the right wing in congress were determined to destroy his administration. Much as they tried, they didn't succeed. Given all the obstruction (I dare call it "treason") he had to contend with, it's a miracle he was able to accomplish anything. And through the storm, he and Michelle - and those two extraordinary kids - handled themselves with the utmost grace and dignity.
 
But as much of a disappointment to this crazy lefty that he might have turned out to be, I never - not for half-a-second - regretted casting my vote for Barack Obama. But for all the obstacles that were thrown in his path, he might have been remembered as a great president. Perhaps he will be. At the very least, historians in  the not-too-distant-future will remember him as "near great". Of that I have no doubt. He certainly was the most competent chief-executive of my lifetime - and I've been around since Eisenhower.
 
I could write more about this but I'm tired and not in the best of moods this evening. In the wee small hours after his election eight years ago, I wrote a piece called "Wake Up and Face the Dawn". This one might very well have been called, "Wake Me When It's Over". The fact that this able and decent man will forever be sandwiched in the history books between George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump is too sad for contemplation.
 
Every day, the ramifications of this electoral catastrophe become clearer and clearer. I am no longer comfortable living in a country so civically irresponsible that it would send a man as horrifically corrupt, unhinged and unqualified as Donald Trump to the White House. I am so utterly depressed tonight I can barely articulate myself. And to think what we might have been....
 
God bless and good luck, President Obama. You'll be missed more than you know.
 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

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Here's a link to the piece I wrote early in the morning after that historic Election Night eight years ago:

I cannot believe our luck has gotten this bad. I don't know what else  to say.

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