A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
- Basil of Caesarea, Cappadocian Religious Leader (329-379 A.D.)
“[T]here are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America.” – Barack Obama, DNC Keynote Speech, July 27, 2004.
Remember that speech? I sure do, and that electrifying seventeen-minute speech was the spark that ignited Obama’s rocket rise to political stardom. He was a breath of fresh air, a voice that rose above the petty politics of our day.
Most of us remember that speech, but it’s hard for most of us to remember the guy who made that speech. The president we’ve gotten to know is a man who urges his supporters to seek “revenge” and to “punish our enemies.”
Eager to propel his rocket rise, within days of being elected to the U.S. Senate, reporters from his adoring media were already asking Obama if he had any plans to run for president in 2008:
“You know, I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I’m not one of those people.” – Barack Obama, November 8, 2004.
Ultimately, Obama’s own HOPE for the presidency won out over his repeated assertions that he wouldn’t have the experience to run in the next election, but even though he had reversed himself, there was still something refreshing about the way this guy who had already wooed so many managed to remain humble and aware of his deficiencies and lack of experience.
In 2006, Obama released his book, The Audacity of Hope. There was a good deal of candor when Obama shared this in the prologue:
“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views. As such, I am bound to disappoint some, if not all, of them.” – Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, published October 17, 2006.
Already looking at a run for the White House, Obama was shrewd enough to realize that the factor of his being an unknown, a “blank screen” onto which many people could project many things would be one of his greatest strengths, at the same time, he was also smart enough to realize that those widespread hopes and great expectations could become his greatest liability were he to have to live up to them once elected.
So when he finally declared his candidacy and it became time for Obama to begin projecting his own images onto that blank screen, what did we get? We ended up with slogans such as
And through four years of his presidency, what did we actually end up with?
Barack Obama wants people to vote for him out of revenge? Revenge for what? Daring to challenge you? Daring to provide the American people with an alternative to your failed presidency and perpetual campaigning?
As he predicted might happen, I think Obama now knows that most of America did end up disappointed in his presidency and he realizes now that his time is done. Only a loser seeks revenge.