WASHINGTON, May 5, 2016 — In 2008, Senator Barack Obama launched a presidential campaign with a promise of “hope and change.” What President Obama delivered is a country divided, angry and pessimistic. “Hope” and “change” don’t mean what he thinks they mean.
Obama failed the economy, America and the world. He promised to unite America. When he was elected President of the United States, African Americans and much of the white community saw him closing the book on racial injustice and inequality. He would lift black America into the economic and social mainstream.
He failed. He failed Freddy Gray, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown. He failed their communities.
Racism in America has festered and worsened under Obama’s watch. In 2014, he attempted to relieve tensions following a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white police officer who’d shot an unarmed black teenager. Obama met with law enforcement officials and black leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, to discuss how to “strengthen neighborhoods.” He was faulted for not using terms like “police brutality” and “institutional racism” when he talked about Ferguson.
Obama said he would fight for poor families and put an end to Wall Street corruption. But he refused to hold anyone on Wall Street accountable for the greatest financial disaster to hit America since the Great Depression. There has been no legal or financial reckoning for any firm or individual. There have been no meaningful reforms that might prevent a repeat catastrophe.
Time may heal most wounds, but not these. Employment remains stagnant, a painful reminder of the havoc inflicted on the bust’s innocent victims. As the ghost of Hamlet’s father might say, America will be stalked by its foul and unresolved crimes until they “are burnt and purged away.”
President Obama has made a mockery of the United States across the globe. He said he wanted to stop Syria’s Bashar al-Assad; then he drew his “red line” in sand, on the sand. He said he wanted to stop ISIS brutality; ISIS is bigger and more entrenched than ever. He said he wanted to eliminate the threat of a nuclear Iran and secure Israel’s future; Iran celebrated the lifting of sanctions against it in January with ballistic missile tests in March. Incredibly, the Middle East is even a bigger mess now than it was when Obama took office.
In 2012, Obama said al Qaeda was “on the path to defeat” and “decimated.” He said this repeatedly, by one count 32 times, even after an al Qaeda-linked attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
In a press conference immediately after the November 13, ISIS-cell terrorist attacks in Paris, Obama sounded detached and disinterested on the possibility of terrorists entering the U.S. with refugees. He mocked Republicans for that concern. At a press conference in the Philippines the following week, he revised and extended those remarks.
A theme of Obama’s presidency has been that al-Qaeda is on the run; ISIS is the JV team; both organizations are contained, and we need only stay the course to fight them. This is wrong, and obviously so to much of the world.
Obama has claimed that we’re out of Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re not. In October, he announced that the U.S. would keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, contrary to his campaign promise to pull all the troops out. Meanwhile, more than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command “have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials,” according to the Daily Beast.
When Obama leaves the White House, he leaves the country in shambles. Russian fighters buzz our navy ships and warplanes; North Korea and Iran are pursuing ballistic missile technology and nukes to put on them in complete defiance of treaties, agreements and U.N. resolutions; America is a paper tiger.
It’s no better at home. The economy is dragging; incomes are stagnant; race relations are as bad as they’ve been this century; refugees, migrants and criminals cross our borders with impunity.
We can start next year to repair the damage done by eight years of the Obama Administration. The 2016 presidential race has come down to Trump and Clinton or Sanders. Trump and Sanders came out of nowhere to shake up their parties’ business-as-usual campaigns, two outsiders propelled by the hope and rage of an ignored and abused electorate.
Hillary Clinton promised more of the same, an Obama third term. Rattled by the Sanders storm, she has shifted her rhetoric, but no one expects a Clinton to be anything but a Clinton.
Donald Trump is the man with no ideology and a thousand different positions, often on one subject. He has been close to a lot of liberals, including Clinton, and espoused many of their positions. Will Trump keep his promises to conservatives, or will he show his liberal side if he becomes President?
No matter who wins in November, America might lose. But with the danger comes opportunity: Obama will be gone, and there will be change. That’s cause for hope. In leaving office, Obama may finally deliver what he promised in his quest to get it.