That Guy Barack Obama

That Guy Barack Obama

Lauren PesinWednesday,13 January 2016

When we look back at history and recall memorable U.S. Presidents, we may think of their many accomplishments: unifying the nation (literally); drafting the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; ending slavery; facilitating peace accords; starting, ending, and occasionally mishandling wars; expanding and reducing government; economic highs and lows. We may associate presidents to notable events that happened during Presidential terms, such as high-profile kidnappings, catastrophes, terrorism, and tragedies.

The more evocative bits of history often involve accusations of misdeeds, misconduct, scandals, infidelity, assassination, impeachment, depression, territorial disputes, market crashes, and bombs.

 We also tend to remember the Presidential firsts, such as:

George Washington was the first U.S. President who unified the new nation, shaped the chief executive’s duties, all while sporting wooden teeth.

John Adams was the first President to live in the White House.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams were the first father and son to have both served as Presidents.

Jackson was the first President to ride on a train and also, allegedly, engaged in over 100 pistol duels.

William Henry Harris was the first U.S. President to die in office, serving the briefest term. He really was a U.S. President.

John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic President.

Barack Obama was the first African-American U.S. President.

Then there are those embarrassing bits.

President Nixon, good ole’ Dick of Watergate fame, professes to the nation, “I’m not a crook.” Yeah, he’s still a dick.

George “Dubya” Bush’s infamous declaration on a U.S. Carrier stating, “Mission Accomplished,” when the war was still very much not over.

Bill Clinton, during the Lewinsky sex scandal: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Let’s also not forget he asked, “What is the definition of sexual relations?” Classic Bill.

There are also the unforgettable moments.

These memorable moments include the end of slavery, the atomic bomb, 9/11, any war, Japanese internment camps, the Civil Rights movement, and any misconduct or injustice outcry, as well as:

President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863):

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

President Truman’s presidency, marred by McCarthyism trials, sensationalism, blacklists, injustice, and witch hunts — ”Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?” In addition, Truman will always be remembered for dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, arguably ending WWII.

What will President Obama be remembered for?

I can’t recall anything particularly awkward, or something that reached Bush Jr.’s level of unmitigated stupidity. He may be remembered for:

– Passing Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act)
– Osama bin Laden being found and killed (like a mangy dog…spit spit)
– Benghazi (particularly in light of the motion picture)
– The Economic stimulus package ($787 billion)
– Winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
– Ferguson outrage
– ISIS-time

Americans tend to hold onto tales of misconduct and laughable public statements, along with the quality of life altering, can’t-go-back events, such as atomic bombs, 9/11-level tragedies, assassinations, and war.

It’s the uncomfortable, tragic, and inappropriate moments during a U.S. President’s term that are often remembered when people who voted for them are no longer alive.

Even the actions of Presidents considered colossal failures (Bush Jr.) are all but forgotten over time.

So then, regardless of the final status of the Affordable Care Act, or economic decisions or conditions of Obama’s Presidency, I’m not so certain about what he’ll be remembered for.

The reality is that Americans are a fickle bunch who don’t remember much. Subsequently, my guess is that President Obama will be remembered for marking history as the first black President, possibly as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and maybe a few people will remember Obamacare.

What do you think the American people will remember President Obama for?

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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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