When Barack Obama took the stage on Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, he reminded the world that the nation was flawed from the outset. He, also, reminded citizens that despite those flaws the power to make the country a better place lies in their hands.
Speaking from Philadelphia, the location to where much of the American experiment was blueprinted, he lifted the need to vote for his former vice-president, but the urgency to get Donald Trump out of office.
Obama had no crowd around him but speaking directly to the constituency, took us to social studies class with this refresher about the role of the president, that he or she should “be the custodian of this democracy.”
“We should expect that regardless of ego, ambition, or political beliefs, the president will preserve, protect, and defend the freedoms and ideals that so many Americans marched for and went to jail for; fought for and died for.” He fiercely drew attention to the current president’s lack of interest in helping anyone outside of himself.
“I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care,” Obama said.
“In close to four years, now, he has shown no interest in putting in the work. No interest in finding common ground. No interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends. No interest in treated the American presidency as anything but one more reality show he can use to get the attention that he craves.”
He punctuates this sentiment with the following remark, “Donald Trump has not grown into the job.”
Never before has a retired president so publicly spoke out against a sitting president, but with such high popularity (and like it or not a successful two-term administration), if any former POTUS could take this liberty … to protect liberty … it would be him.
Obama also addressed the Trumpian tactics aimed to hinder the vote.
“Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy … Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too,” he urged.
One way that President Barack Obama brought it back home to the heart was by invoking the memory of Congressman John Lewis who died only a month ago. He mentioned that in one sitting with the beloved civil rights leader and some other freedom fighters from the era that so many only read about in books or old news clippings, he was asked his birthday. When he shared, he was born on August 4, 1961, one of the men said that was the exact day he was being arrested and jailed because of the work they had done to destroy Jim Crow as they knew it.
Across party lines, people were in awe of his speech.
@BarackObama is still my president and proud that he has represented our country in the highest office with such integrity.
— RedactedEdits (@EmilyCapelle1) August 20, 2020
a real man's act….donald could never that
However, one person clearly was not and took to Twitter with large caps to voice his frustration.