Barack Obama

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Barack Obama

  • Carolyn Fagan

    Carolyn Fagan is a writer. After spending a life in Rhode...

Help me savor these last few hours knowing that my president cares about the safety of people that aren’t just white. Savor it with me—the concrete knowledge that we currently have a president who addresses all situations objectively—who understands that a child getting hunted down and murdered is that, and not something excusable. We’re about to have a president whose only answer to dealing with crime is to enact a policy that is 93-94% race-based (or racist, for people who understand what words mean) and only 10% effective. We’re about to have a president that seems, in complete honesty, slightly excited by the prospect of having the authority to physically torture human beings. I understand that my statements—in their language—are slanted towards my own ethics, but what is the flip side of these ideas? I understand that people who voted for, and currently support, Donald Trump are not bad people through and through. Political decisions can be rooted in any number of causes, and I know there is a strong argument for prioritizing economics over certain moral issues and human rights. Right? That’s the argument there? That’s the thing that liberals and Democrats and progressives are told? That they are morally idealistic children with their heads in the clouds while Republicans are the grown-ups that actually make sure the country is running? I mean, I disagree entirely, but I would very truly love to hear this expanded and explained, because I don’t get it. I don’t get it because I’ve been waking up several times a week to video footage of black people being tasered, men with families being shot, “suicides” in jail, and a PhD student being accused of stealing his own car and tackled by six men. Are you kidding me on that last one? A, presumably white, woman called the cops because she saw a black man with a car, and then six police officers tackled a very cooperative student and brought him to jail. For getting into his own car. And this is what is caught on video. This is how people act when they know they are being watched, being heard. How can any person watch this happen to another human being and not completely erupt?

A little over four years ago, 20 children, six teachers, and a mother who used to hand me candy on Halloween were murdered in my hometown. It was days of terror, weeks of disorientation, months of instantly paralyzing sadness, disbelief. In that first weekend, when I held close to my best friend between shuffling through silent rooms, waiting for a list of names to be released, Barack Obama’s words infiltrated us. He stood in our high school—traffic jamming up the town—and spoke words we felt, words we needed, words to which I continuously return. 

Tell me that you believe, for a single moment, that Donald Trump could comfort a person in those moments. Or at least tell me that the lack of comfort is worth whatever tax cuts you might be getting.

Fuck your Trump. I don’t even care about your Lincoln that much, to be honest. He abolished slavery as a war tactic. I want Obama. I want to hear the words Obama has to say. I want to watch the way Obama speaks. I want to learn from a person who has dedicated themselves to being a teacher, to listen to a person who has dedicated themselves to speaking only when they have something to say, to hear reasoning from a person who thoughtfully analyzes reasons based in reality. I want a person who has faced a single hardship, who can logically empathize with people of color, people of different religions, people who have been gutted by terrible situations—even if they, in slight ways, contributed to those situations. I know it cannot be Obama anymore. But I am also absolutely certain it will never be Trump. 

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Oh, also, Joe Biden actively brought attention to the prevalence of sexual assault against women, especially on college campuses. Mike Pence voted No on prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, No on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes, and even No on requiring states to test students? Can anyone explain to me anything good about Mike Pence? Does he even like people?

Squeezing this all in here but also taking time to mourn the loss of a woman in the White House who is singularly brilliant.

Also, what can I say about the teens? We just had the privilege of watching two black girls grow up before our eyes, which was probably a more enlightening and important experience than if you were to sit down and read the constitution.