I have written in this space previously that a president’s legacy can be felt for decades. Whether that legacy results in militant Islam flexing its muscle in Iran courtesy of Jimmy Carter, or a quarter of a century of economic growth thanks to the economic vision of Ronald Reagan, we usually do not simply start over with a new president – we build on a collection of presidential legacies.
The Fall of 2017 is too soon to have felt the full impact of the Barack H. Obama presidency, but there is one area that is undeniably a legacy in action, growing like dandelions in a springtime lawn: race relations. Perhaps dying dandelions would be a better metaphor. While the legacy grows, race relations wilt away.
Before Obama, race relations in America were not perfect, but according to the narcissist’s own words, America would begin to heal once he took the oath of office. Instead, he slowly tore open old wounds. Race-based hirings in his White House included the addition of a full-blown racist as Attorney General. Today, Eric Holder, Michelle Obama, and the influence of Al Sharpton are all gone from the national scene. Presidential verbal attacks on police have ceased. Now we are left with the aftermath.
Under the Obama presidency, racist organizations such as the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter were encouraged. Under the cover of race, these - and other - left-wing organizations gained support while working for a more leftist society. Unfortunately, little attention has been focused on the political gains of the left under the guise of race. The national press does not care how much of George Soros’ money rolls into these groups, and they share the end-game of destroying capitalism and other freedoms.
Now Obama is gone; now the important support from America’s chief executive has dissipated. Everything now is the new guy’s fault. He didn’t criticize only the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, he criticized the left-wing thugs, too. He must be the problem. He criticized millionaires for disrespecting Flag and Country, ostensibly over the issue of race relations, so he is obviously not down with the cause. He must be the problem.
Examine the national media narrative closely and you will detect a sense that Black Americans had it great before Donald Trump was elected; unless, of course, the point is being made that Blacks have always had it bad, then they only had it good during the Obama years. Never mind facts, such as the economic malaise, particularly for Black Americans, under Obama’s policies.
There are two fascinating aspects of watching race relations retreat to a low state not seen since the 1960s. One is the obvious: that Blacks emerged from slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow with the help of Republicans. As a group, they hitched their wagon to the Democrats during the Lyndon Johnson administration. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act kicking and screaming, with Republicans leading the charge for passage. It’s been downhill for Blacks with the Democrats ever since.
The second, less talked about and intriguing aspect of the daily squabble about race relations is that there will always be racists. Racism should always be resisted, but the presence of 100 or so neo-Nazis in a Virginia demonstration allowed the national press to pretend that racists were hiding behind every bush. Not only was the characterization by the press absurd, but there are only a few thousand neo-Nazis nationwide – a small number in a country of 320 million.
I have known people with racist tendencies who are White, Black, Hispanic, Armenian – you name it. Having lived for 17 years as an adult in California, where I was a “token White” at a job and was fired from that same job because of my skin color, I was astounded by the amount of racist comments I heard from non-Whites, usually directed at other non-Whites.
We all have our prejudices; some will always carry prejudices too far. It is a human tendency to seek out those who are like ourselves, whether in appearance, beliefs, or tastes.
People fear or dislike differences, so we work to improve on those instincts.
One of the legacies of Barack H. Obama appears to be that he has set back improvements made with race relations by 45-50 years. Naturally, the liberal narrative has been to blame deteriorating race relations on Obama’s successor, but the legacy of Lyndon Johnson – kicking and screaming – plays a role in media deception, as well.
Obama will go down in history for a number of negative reasons, but perhaps – although we should all hope not – the biggest negative may end up being the damage he caused to race relations. Legacies take time to determine, and even longer for a country to escape.