On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will become the 45th Resident of the United States. For most liberals this is a frightening prospect-even more frightening than the Obama Presidency that began 8 years ago was for conservatives. Love him or hate him Donald Trump is going to be a different kind of President. Time will tell whether or not he will be a good President.
In light of this peaceful transition of power, I thought I would share a few positive thoughts about President Obama. I am aware that in the minds of many saying something positive about President Obama is an oxymoron at best and impossible at worst. Others will ask why don’t you say something critical about him-I’ve been doing that for 8 years. There are some things I like about the President and since this is his last day in office I thought it was time to say it.
The first thing I admire about President Obama is the example he set for men as a husband and father. In a country with far too many children growing up without a father he has been a breath of fresh air. The negative social, economic, and family consequences from an absent father is felt across all racial and economic strata. Barring one of the greatest coverups in the history of the Presidency (and that would be saying something) he has taken responsibility as a man, husband, and father seriously and I can only say may his number increase!
The second thing I admire about President Obama is that he was upfront about his beliefs and never wavered from them. I don’t think I was surprised one time during his Presidency. I rarely agreed with him, but he is a liberal, he espoused liberal views and pursued liberal policies. A few conservatives could learn this lesson from him.
A third quality I admire about President Obama I learned from Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars. Woodward describes numerous meetings of the top security people in the President’s administration. The President would listen to all of his options, sometimes in painstaking detail, before making a decision. He comes across as someone who was deliberate in the decision-making process, yet committed when it was time to act. The killing of OBL is one example of this process.
Sadly, in the one area that I believe will be regarded as his biggest domestic failure, the Affordable Care Act, he did not entertain conflicting points of view, covered up the truth about its costs and effects (keeping your doc and your plan), and many are suffering because of it.
Finally, I appreciated his public candor about faith. In a 2008 interview with Christianity Today Magazine, he clearly stated, “I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” In fact, he was speaking about faith and public life before he became President. My favorite Obama speech is his 2006 Call to Renewal address. My favorite quote from that speech, one that I wish he would have remembered and repeated as President said,
But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Politically, I am not sorry to see President Obama go, but I do wish him and his family the best and will watch with great interest to see what kind of former President he will be.