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Featured Opinion

The wasted Obama years

By Josh Moon

Alabama Political Reporter

We will miss the Obamas.

Oh, I know that conservatives will swear they’ll never miss Barack and Michelle Obama, but they will. Even if they’ll never admit it.

The reason I am so confident of this is because the Obamas are good people.

There is no arguing that fact.

Unless you are far-right, racist wacko, it is impossible to deny that the Obamas are good and decent people. You can see it in their genuine love for each other, and in the way they care for, joke with and talk about their daughters.

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Even if you have disagreed with every policy decision made by President Obama, and even if your kids hated Michelle Obama’s healthier lunchroom food, you still have to begrudgingly admit that the Obamas have set a wonderful example for how a First Family should live and behave.

That we didn’t take more advantage of that fact is one of the biggest disappointments of the past eight years.

To be fair, it wasn’t most of us who failed. It was the small, vocal minority who went after the Obamas over all sorts of ridiculousness.

Remember the “terrorist fist pound” between the president and First Lady? Michelle’s bare arms? Obama’s mom jeans? Too much golf? Too many vacations? Was he really born here? He’s a socialist? She’s angry? He’s secretly a Muslim?

This is how we spent the eight scandal-free years of the nation’s first black president.

On that never-ending list of nothing.

We had a biracial man who grew up in a single-parent home, then later living with his white grandparents, and whose family relied on government assistance for a time, who rose above it all, went to one of the finest colleges in the country and became the most powerful man in the world.

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And what did we do with that remarkable example?

We argued over whether he was the antichrist.

Think of the good we’ve wasted. Think of the minds we could’ve changed, the social ills we might have corrected if only this country would have been more accepting and proud of its first black president instead of so damned scared of him.

Want to teach the value of family and involved fathers to minority children in the inner-cities? Obama.

Want to prove to the skeptics that welfare programs and minority college programs work? Obama.

Want to give single mothers and the grandparents raising their grandchildren hope? Obama.

But instead of focusing on all that was good with Obama, so many instead made up bad.

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Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not talking about disagreeing with Obama’s policies, or even hating his policies.

No, I’m talking about the crazy that went down over the past eight years, as Obama’s presidency was cast as a scary, new-age-socialist regime, with school children were being indoctrinated, black people getting free stuff and America “fundamentally changing.”

It didn’t matter that none of it was true. Planting those seeds was enough to sow doubt and fear in the minds of Americans already wary of a black man leading the free world.

So, the game was an easy one to play. And I guess, given the money Fox and other conservative outlets have racked in over the last eight years, it was an easy game to win.

And that’s the shame of it all. We had a real opportunity to move forward as a country, to move past our issues with race, to show to the world that America was ready to take pride in the progress we’ve made.

But we weren’t ready for that. We regressed.

Proof of that will be sworn in on Friday.

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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