Often when I am teaching online or writing essays for my website, I have a habit of using this sentence, "I would like to get all my cards on the table before going any further." It is my means by which I can get my classes or readers updated about where I am on some issues. It doesn't matter whether my audience agrees or disagrees. Nonetheless, it matters to me that they know where my starting point is. This essay is such an example.
Over eight years ago, I had just arrived at the airport in Cape Town, South Africa. My youngest daughter, Michelle, had been volunteering at an orphanage caring for children whose parents died from AIDS. I hadn't seen her for over a half year. After landing, we went to a restaurant in the airport and attempted to verbally catch up with all that we had missed.
Then Michelle, after about twenty minutes of our verbal hyperactivity, stopped. She looked at me and said, "What's happening with Barack Obama in his attempt to get nominated by the Democratic Party?" I brushed her comment off as if to say that he didn't have a chance and went on talking about other important matters. She was surprised at my indifference to Obama's campaign. I explained that he didn't have a chance.
Michelle knows that no one in the family is more left of center or liberal than I am. I told her that I was in college and graduate school in the 60s and matured intellectually during the civil rights movement. There was no way Obama would become the Democratic candidate let alone win in a national election to be the next president. America still hadn't come of age on the issue of racism.
Well, that was a mistake on my part. When I returned home, I was listening to Hardball with Chris Mathews within a couple of days getting back to Crown Point, IN. Mathews was talking about Obama being liberal and didn't have a chance, which essentially was what I had said to Michelle at the airport in Cape Town. However, when I heard someone else say it, it changed me. As a result, I was off and running. During the presidential campaign, I wrote about Obama, I talked about him, I sent my contribution to his campaign.
When Obama won the presidential election, I received, like many other supporters, an invitation to the inauguration. Interestingly, during Obama's presidency, I went back to Greece where I lead a tour years before. I visited Thermopylae again where in 480 BCE, Leonidas and the 300-Spartans held off Xerxes commanded an army of a couple hundred thousand. When Xerxes told Leonidas to surrender, Leonidas responded, "μολὼν λαβέ," which means essentially "come and take us."
Obama is determined, like Leonidas. He will stand and fight to protect individuals or the nation. In a neighboring town to the Thermopylae battlefield, I bought three T-shirts. They had a Spartan military helmet and the words, μολὼν λαβέ, under the helmet. I sent one to Obama. I saw courage and determination in his actions like Leonidas' two and a half millennia before.
The top picture is of the invitation to Obama's inauguration. The picture below is one that I took of Obama in Gary, IN during the campaign. Finally, the next picture is one that I took at Thermopylae of Leonidas. All three are on my office wall in my home right above my computer.
In two days, Obama will leave the White House as our president. He will be replaced with the Donald. Even though the Donald lost the popular vote by more than 2.6 million votes, the prospect of enduring the Donald for four years will be a personal test for me. While I attempt to come to grips with that reality, the years of a thoughtful, determined, and calm president are gone. The comparison of what America had and what awaits America is a double-whammy. Therefore, in terms of a quasi-Rogerian therapy session, I have listed the attributes that I see in Obama and, in the other column, how the Donald fares in comparison.
Finally, the above part of this essay were my personal observations. Whether you agree with them or not, ultimately, the question is whether you trust the Donald. Would you trust the Donald to pay you an agreed amount for services rendered? That isn't his track record.
Politics always get down to the local level. Would you trust the Donald 1:1 with any family member regardless of sex? I won't trust him around Ginger.
Do you believe the Donald regarding the truth about anything that he says? He hasn't yet sued the dozen women that have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct. At least, the Donald admits that Obama is an American after nearly a decade of lying. Well, he is our president for four years...unfortunately.
Finally, this is President Obama's Farewell Address.
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