A lot of the anger and fear that is being expressed today by many Americans, especially Republicans, is, in large measure, a response to the country’s growing demographic diversity, and some see that fear resulting in “a far-right reactionary movement hell-bent on turning back the clock,” with many in the movement critical of President Obama at every turn.
Those same people believe President Obama is secretly Muslim and they also think he was not born in the United States. Remember back in 2011, Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate, was one of the loudest voices declaring that Obama was not born in America, while seeking to find proof to support his claim.
This has been the political environment Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, elected in 2008 and again in 2012, has worked in for the past 7 years, an environment that has limited the chances for finding real solutions to the country’s many challenges.
No doubt, President Obama took office knowing that the eyes of the world would be on him, but I don’t think he imagined that he would have so many detractors, with many wanting to see him fail, hoping that he would never succeed. And many of them went as far as to brand him as being un-American. Most shameful has been the treatment President Obama has received from the Republican leadership in Congress.
Following the inauguration of President Obama back in Jan. 2009, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in the Congress, asserted their priority would be to make Obama a one-term president. Even though Republicans refused to cooperate with the President, blocking and opposing him at every turn, President Obama came into office thinking about the future of the country and the American people, believing that any change should broaden opportunities for all.
Additionally, the President’s policies have helped to turn around the economy for which he has been given too little credit. Also, his view of government as a positive force has led to health care reform with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, creating a watershed moment in American history, indeed, a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, many Republicans in the Congress are still trying to defund and dismantle the new health care law, now two years since its roll out in Oct. 2013, instead of working together to make this complex social policy a successful endeavor.
By the content of his character, President Obama has inspired the nation, especially young black Americans, and he has achieved great progress for the American people. And it confounds me to think that we still refuse to realize we have to come together and work together, so that we all can rise together. During his last State of the Union address recently, the President made it very clear that “progress comes from the choices we make together.”
Come on people, our destiny is one and the same; we are all marching on to the same goal; it will be all of us who save this country. Whatever direction the country takes following the 2016 presidential election, the fact remains: “Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.”
Larry Sutton is a former teacher at Clinton High School.