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Barack Obama's Legacy - Real and Imagined

February 6, 2017

In the final days of his presidency, Barack Obama was frantically exercising his presidential authority, showing toughness against the Russians, disdain for the Israelis, and compassion for convicted drug dealers.  Though he never uttered the words, “The public be damned,” many saw his brazen actions as those of a man who no longer worried about accountability to the people. Still, his October plea to voters, his farewell speeches, his introspective press interviews, and those strategy sessions with Congressional Democrats revealed both his deep concern about public perception, and a desperate attempt to preserve his legacy.       

If President Trump keeps his word, Obama’s efforts will be in vain. The unpopular Obamacare, which was sold to the public on abject lies, will be repealed and replaced. Obama’s unilateral and dangerous open-door immigration policies will end, and that farcical international agreement that only succeeded in delaying Iran’s nuclear ambitions will likely be re-negotiated.

Barack Obama is about to learn that legacies can’t be written with a pen.   

Still, the man who ran on “hope and change” did transform America, though it’s not change he’s willing to acknowledge.       

During his January 10th farewell address, Obama said, “I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10, or 20, or 30 years ago, no matter what some folks say.”

Yet a Gallup Poll showed the percentage of Americans worried about race relations grew from 17 percent in 2014 to 35 percent in 2016. According to a survey conducted by the New York Times last year, six in ten Americans said race relations were growing worse, up from 38 percent the year prior. Surveys by the Washington Post, Rasmussen Reports, and the Pew Research Center all reported similar results.        

Obama’s self-delusional legacy is in stark contrast to the reality of a deeply divided nation - divided politically, socio-economically, and yes, racially. 

How it happened is no mystery.

When he first appeared on the national stage in 2004, he delivered a passionate speech deploring those politicians who would divide us. “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there is the United States of America.  There is not a black America, a white America, a Latino America, an Asian America; there is the United States of America.”    

We now know he was reciting an empty platitude. It was the worthless rhetoric of an ambitious politician. After he was elected to the presidency, it became clear that, as a far left ideologue, he has always seen minorities as victims. He began almost immediately to propagate that concept, and to reverse what he perceives as systemic racial bias.

When two uniformed New Black Panther members, one wielding a nightstick, posted themselves outside a Philadelphia polling station in 2008, they were charged with voter intimidation. Obama’s Justice Department quickly dropped the charges, and several insiders revealed that his department would no longer prosecute minorities for civil rights violations.

That allegation gained credibility over the next eight years, as Obama intervened in one local law enforcement incident after another, invariably injecting racial overtones and reinforcing the notion of systemic racism. His perception of race relations became more apparent when he embraced a militant anti-police organization, deceptively named “Black Lives Matter.”

The racial division fomented by his administration was just the beginning. 

Drug abuse across America exploded under Obama’s administration. According to the DEA, from 1999 to 2007, heroin deaths across the country hovered around 2,000 per year. In 2008, they began increasing, and between 2010 and 2014, they rose dramatically to more than 10,000 deaths per year.

We can’t know how much of that is directly due to the narcotics flooding across Obama’s open borders, or to the hardened drug dealers he routinely released from our prisons, or to the atmosphere he created by those actions, and his lax attitude toward the drug problem. But certainly, none of that did anything to reduce the problem.

And after eight years at the helm, Obama completely realigned our moral compass. Polls indicate that religion has declined in our country in recent years, and Americans have abandoned many of the Judeo-Christian values that guided us throughout our history.     

It’s no coincidence that radical concepts, once utterly unimaginable, suddenly became the subject of bitter debate, and are now sanctioned by our government and celebrated by our society.  Marriage and the family unit, which throughout civilization had been constants and considered the keystones of a sound society, have now been completely redefined. 

Obama’s new, accommodating morality has migrated to our schools, where liberal educators have hijacked the role of parents and clergy, and students now struggle with gender choices along with career choices.  

But perhaps the most profound change in our country is in our electorate. 

Most of those railing against our new President are irrevocably committed to the past, blind to the arbitrary enforcement of federal law and the widespread corruption they witnessed - the deceptive health-care promises, the Benghazi cover-up, and the flagrant mishandling of classified documents. Half the country now seems to value progressive ideology more than integrity and competence. 

President Trump can end Obamacare and secure our borders, but Barack Obama’s sad legacy will be with us for a long time to come.

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Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published online and in print.