There is a word that is almost like a twin to the word ‘politician’ and that word is ‘legacy’. The word ‘legacy’ stands for something that is gifted, left behind, like in a will, by ancestors. It can also be something that is bequeathed to the next generation, by a leader. Every politico is an egotist and is consumed by the need to leave a legacy. This is true for politicians everywhere but I’ll restrict my conversation to just one nation for now.
The nation that I want to narrow down to is one that I, like the rest of the outside world, love to rant about. It is a country that we all love to love and chastise in the same breath and still dream of migrating to for the sheer quality-of-life experience. It doesn’t do things by half measures. It provokes cries of indignation at it’s lack of understanding of others and it draws gasps of awe at it’s breathtaking technological achievements and it’s unbelievably powerful military might.
The United States of America. And we are all ‘I love America, but I wish….it’s just that…..if only they’d….’ guys.
Before I get carried away, let’s focus back on legacies. Right from the time those Neolithic builders left tools and beads finely crafted out of bone, buried inside circles made out of huge blocks of stone on the meadows of present day Wiltshire in England 5500 years ago, humans have been consumed by the fear of being forgotten once they are gone. There have been monuments, sarcophagi, walls, murals, paintings, writings and sculptures. There have also been inventions and innovations that have shaped civilization. All these have enriched our understanding of the world and more importantly, our understanding why humans behave the way they do. They can all be broadly classified under legacies.
US Presidents are just as wrapped up in their legacies as any rulers anywhere.
Kennedy’s legacy was detente and a step back from the brink with the Soviets and perhaps the most glorious chapter in space exploration, the Apollo Program. Johnson’s was a sorry Vietnam mess and the first reports of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that inflicts itself upon soldiers who know they are fighting an unjust war. My FB friend, Ricky, after reading this post, was kind enough to correct me here. He points out that Johnson did pass some great legislation, such as the Civil Rights bill and the Medicare. He is right and I stand corrected. Thank God they let you edit your own writing when you blog.
Nixon midwifed the birth and facilitated the beginnings of the rise of a new super-power (China), while Carter showed us what an inept President really looks like. Reagan legalised extra judicial shenanigans, showed us how to do business with both sides in a conflict and drew the curtains over the cold war, sparking the beginning of all the mess that the world is in today.
George Bush Sr and later his son, helped reveal to us a monster called the Defense Industrial Complex and acquainted the world with the word ‘Bildeburg Group’. William Jefferson Clinton taught us that no matter how morally corrupt and depraved a philanderer you may be, Americans will still vote for you.
Barack Obama…. I have finally arrived at the subject of my piece. Its been 5 years now that he has been President. 5 years of snide remarks, outright and personal insults. Bigoted screams about his religion and his citizenship. All this not from the American people. They voted him in twice, they were with him. It was his own colleagues from the other side.
Yesterday’s photo of him warmly shaking hands with Cuba’s Raoul Castro triggered my desire to pen down my thoughts about Barry Obs. I’ll be upfront with you. I love the guy. To me he can do no wrong. Well, maybe not always, but most times. His increased drone attacks I am appalled by. The recent NSA leaks? Hey, every government does it, man, chill out, okay? I love his disarming grin, his devastating sense of humor and the complete lack of aggression in his countenance.
And his readiness to break the mold. Obama stepped forward to shake Castro’s hand at the Mandela funeral. He obviously decided that enough was enough and it was time to forget the past and move ahead as friends. Can you imagine George W or John McCain or Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin doing the same thing? I can’t.
Barry did much the same thing with Hassan Rohani, President of Iran. For the first time in three decades, an American President shook hands with the other side and triggered the most comprehensive effort in normalizing relations with Iran and bringing peace to an entire region. For the first time, an American president showed the guts to stare down the Israelis.
Take Osama Bin Laden. For all his bluster in those 8 long years in office, George W Bush could not bring to justice the one man who had been the brain behind the most devastating terrorist strike of all time. Barry had the guy wacked nice and proper and tossed into the Arabian Sea the first chance he got. Muslim burial? Did that mass murderer deserve any burial at all?
On the home front, the passage of the Affordable Care Act was Barrack Obama’s single most important contribution to American society. Sure the computer systems had glitches but that was only temporary and procedural and the dust has settled. Most employers and employees in America will tell you that their healthcare insurance premiums are way lower now than before.
Barrack also became the first sitting President to openly support same-sex marriage and call for full equality for LGBT Americans. His administration urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 and California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. He doesn’t give a damn about all those crappy nutcase anti-gay evangelists that dot the American countryside, who are busy spreading their own version of God through their bigotry and hate.
Barry, you don’t have to be concerned about leaving legacies. They are substantial and recognizable. But I have to caution you, seeing the way you are going. Just watch your back. This time you won’t have to worry about driving by grassy knolls and the bullet won’t be from some cheap mail-order rifle. This time there is a kid with a grudge in the block. He wears a yarmulke, knows how to handle a high-powered Galil 7.62mm sniper rifle, speaks only in Yiddish and can get you anywhere. You are this close to pissing his masters off.