So President Obama, I saw your clip where you state you consider it a personal insult to your legacy anyone who refuses to vote for Hilary Clinton this November.
Mr. Prez, with all due respect — I’m personally torn regarding your legacy. Below I explain why. And from what I’ve read from others, I’m far from the only person feeling similarly.
The GOOD good:
LGBT rights, and equality — finally someone at the highest levels of political life had the fucking courage to support LGBT folks in a real meaningful way and then act on it.
Sonia Sotomayor and appointing 2 women to the US Supreme Court — ‘nuff said. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a BOSS, I know she’s not your appointee[+1 to the Clinton’s for her], and it’s unrelated, but still she’s dope as hell.)
Thank you for all you’ve done to support women’s rights as well. This def can not be minimized. And thank you for speaking on immigrant’s rights, students/education, and the need to change how our nation treats our environment. Even putting money behind things like solar energy — appreciate that about you.
Thank you for allowing Black folks visibility within the White House — at functions, those performances I’d catch on networks like PBS where Stevie Wonder performed where transformative..that’s OUR President who made that happen! You brought us pride on the daily with your beautiful family. Your terms in office did a lot to normalize how non-Black folks are exposed to various parts of our culture.
I’m so appreciative of this. I remember the walk on your 1st Inauguration Day — a mix of both huge pride as well as some terror, I’m yelling at my TV “Be safe, get in that damn limo bruh!”; scared for real something terrible was gonna happen to you or Mrs. Obama. Thank god I and probably a million other anxious sick Americans were dead wrong. (Every day, we just wanted y’all to be safe and well protected.) I could not have been more proud that Inauguration day. I thought of my dad, of my mom, my grandparents; it was a powerful thing for my wife and I. I can still remember looking over at my wife Sherri and my son, we probably all had tears in our eyes just mesmerized by y’all. All of those things matter and brought deep gratitude in my heart on more than a few occasions watching the news, seeing you love Mrs. Obama and your daughters with so much love and pride. Those things mean a ton to millions of folks, from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds — love is a universal thing — you made so many people proud…and proud to be represented by a Black man such as yourself. Big ups for that.
Contrary to how many try to spin it, you have done so much to promote unity and bring ethnic folks of all backgrounds together in America — that is a powerful thing. I loved seeing White folks supporting you and celebrating during your wins — all kinds of people from many ethnic groups joining hands put you in office. From how I see it, you honestly try hard to be truly inclusive. That’s a deeply powerful part of you and your family’s legacy.
And, while I’m extremely appreciative for all that you’ve done to support LGBT folks, women in general and in many instances Black folks in general, I’m also not blinded by those positives to the point I don’t see the glaring problems of your presidency either.
Your legacy as President of the United States also includes a legacy of war akin to the notorious, George Bush.
You completely and totally decided: Nah, Wall Street/Bankers didn’t need to be prosecuted for collapsing the GLOBAL economy. They didn’t need to be brought to justice for robbing ALL of us of our limited amounts of wealth, financial security, safety, jobs, peace of mind, etc. They and their greed crippled most of THE WORLD.
You handed those same sons ‘a bastards how many trillions of $$’s? — I’m being sarcastic — you gave ’em more money than god dude. Small ‘g’ cause I’m kinda agnostic at this point.
You did NOT take one single high-level financial insider/banker/wall street thug to court and prosecute ’em. But, you took OUR money and handed it to them with a bow — and you’d consider it a diss if we don’t vote Candidate Clinton? You even employed some of these Wall Street insiders in your administration — what is that about?! Really, you’re worried that we should be utterly concerned with your thoughts on our behavior? With respect — clean up your own house first Mr. President — then come at us…or rather don’t come for us at all.
You’ve refused to prosecute George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Chaney for deceiving the American people and starting a war based on bullshit. Not to mention, those jackasses wanting to bring back torture, renditions, and the forfeiture of our civil liberties on a massive scale. (Not even months into your 1st term, you began to back-pedal on committees to investigate and punish their war crimes, especially the now well documented instances of Bush era torture and killings. Your administration even secretly pressuring other nations into covering up the crimes Bush’s administration committed.) Why? How many people have died since they launched the war in Iraq? Don’t call the investigative process divisive, in order to “move forward”, that’s defective reasoning. Justice would be them seeing their date in court before the eyes of the world, same as Saddam Hussein. You denied the world real justice — you nor they are above right and wrong. You enacted the same Scooter Libby elitism you decried while campaigning.
You’ve killed how many civilians in other countries? You’ve stepped up the drone wars like a boss — if that’s the kinda boss you wanna strive to be. In my opinion, you really need to give that Nobel Peace Prize back as a show of respect. Did you hear young Malala Yousafzai when she spoke to you about what your drones are doin’ in her local of the world?
You’ve vilified Whistle Blowers. Think about that. The very people like Chelsea Manning and Snowden and others, who actually gave Americans truth about the wars our money is funding. You are actively seeking to destroy our ability to have transparency into how OUR government operates. Why the hell are you not worried about how history with judge your legacy when it comes to this?
Why have you NOT decriminalized marijuana? I don’t even smoke (..yet?) and I see the need for it’s change in classification. Yeah, it’s great you’ve pardoned so many needlessly incarcerated — big ups to you for that. But, until the War on Drugs is completely stopped — they’ll likely end up right back where they came from — often unjustly/illegally locked up under the guise of law and order, specifically targeting Black, Brown, POC and the poor. Hilary Clinton hasn’t committed to completely stopping the war on drugs so why should any person of color or person of good conscience vote for her? She is a significant part of this war on people of color being as bad and disastrous as it is.
And we should just trust that she’ll do differently? I reiterate, she hasn’t even pledged to end this war on drugs/prison pipeline and you want us to pledge our votes to her? Based on what sir? You actually made pledges you haven’t fulfilled, so why the hell would we think she’ll act on things that she won’t even give a straight answer to us on? No, let Mrs. Clinton speak on her plans to decriminalize; end the war on drugs/prison pipeline/disband police, and make restitution first…then talk voting for her.
Some more of the UGLY ugly politics as usual, that are part of your legacy:
In public on multiple occasions you’ve resorted to paternalism and White supremacists dogma at its worst — from scapegoating and policing Black folks and their behavior for how White folks in general perceive and treat us. (Remember your comment on your elderly grandmother being afraid of us; and then of course “pull up your pants” ..yes, those pants are reason enough to criminalize and kill us right? Come on sir. Seriously.)
I was married young and take care of my family as is true of many, many, many other Black families. Those tropes are tired sir. Worn and tired. At the end of the day, it’s just another way of blaming us for the ills that are well documented as structural racism, and yet, you still attributed the root of these problems to us, as though we can change them, when they were NOT created by us, nor are they in general kept in place by us.
Black folks are not pretending to be perfect, nor faultless; please stop pandering to the logic that claims we are. As far as I can remember, it wasn’t until the brave women who started the Black Lives Matter movement decided to create a leaderful movement — that doesn’t rely on paternalism and a central leadership — that you began to change how you addressed our people, even how you approached speaking to us. We don’t need another Bill Cosby or some other Uncle Tom incarnation in order to tell us to “do better” or “act right”. Sir those days are over. More and more of us have had our eyes opened to the reality of Respectability Politics and how truly meaningless they are to real freedom for Black folks…I mean if we want to stay mental slaves then yeah, they’re hugely important..but if we want true equality, then respectability politics aren’t worth shit.
In recent years especially, Democrats have consistently neglected poor folks of all ethnic backgrounds and how is voting for Hilary Clinton going to change that? You did relatively little for the poor compared to what you did for the wealthy. Yes, the economy is a helluva lot better than Bush left it — I am NOT debating the reality you are a far BETTER and more qualified President than George Bush was — that’s fucking obvious — it’s why you kicked the Republican’s asses 2 years in a row. Congrats on that, you deserved it. But, poor folks are tax payers too — they’re citizens too. I’m tired of ’em being scapegoated and dog whistle politic-ed over and over and over. And you’ve done less than stellar in helping them.
I’m concerned about your legacy sir — you’ve got only months left in office at this point, what will you be putting in place (long term) to protect Native People’s? God knows, the American government has a well worn history of fuckin’ ’em over on the regular.
You enjoy the clout of Black cool — but please don’t confuse that with proving in action that you really give a damn about ALL black people. IMO, you have not done enough for all black folks during your presidency and I understand the Clinton’s track record when it comes to Black people and the poor.
My vote has value and I’m not blindly giving allegiance simply because you use some paternalistic demand that purports to tell me what I ought to do. I don’t think you realize — in 2016 Black folks are not all looking to being lead by any one central leader. Like 2Pac said, in the 60’s we asked, in the 70’s we asked, in his opinion the 90’s was the end of that. You are my President, I voted for you — but I do not give you or my country my blind allegiance. I support many Black leaders doin’ positive things — but I’m done with paternalism. And I’m done with being dictated to by those in authority even by someone I respect overall as much as I do you. And your legacy needs some work.
As I’ve said multiple times, I have a HUGE amount of respect for you sir. You remind me a lot of my father — a lot. He’s a preacher. Speaks in a thoughtful and significant way, although he is at the same time a very quiet man. A former soldier, self-educated and yet, very much entrenched in a religion I vehemently disagree with. So, after years of struggle I finally had the balls to stand strong for what I believe is right and told him so. And similar to what I’m relaying to you, I pulled no punches — and it was not only cathartic for me, it was healing for both of us. He’s still deeply devout to his church and way of life, but we now share respect as a two-way street. In my opinion, that’s what you need to do in your dealings with Black people — we are NOT your children. Please, modify how you exchange with us — cause from my POV, many more of us are done with business as usual from leaders such as yourself.
From where I sit, your legacy is “complicated” for lack of a better word. I don’t see it as being as solidly positive as you’re alluding to — and I’m not talking about the BS that been heaped on you from racists and jackasses like those at FOX News — those mutha fuckas are pretty transparent in their bigotry. You never deserved any of that type of horrible treatment — I’m sorry you all had to endure that. And, I am greatly appreciative you’ve pushed forward despite the shit they’ve put you and your family over the last 8 years. Y’all didn’t deserve any of that. That portion of your legacy makes you a champion to me …like I said, complicated.
The things you’ve chosen not to do, or to ignore or refused to change, or even honestly acknowledge with your very public platform are extremely important and they’re telling as to where the Democratic party puts its values. I’m done with being a token for them. They can EARN my vote. That shouldn’t be too much to ask either. And of course I’ll never fucking vote Republican, those folks running their party are significantly in a whole nutha universe when it comes to fucking over the American people…scratch that, the global citizenry. They’re earning the results of their Southern Strategy; let ’em eat cake…and then fuckin’ choke on it.
Respectfully, your constituent and in many ways still a fan,
Below is the C-SPAN video of President Obama’s speech I’m referencing in this post.