I need a caption for this pic.
*Pic from cnn.com
The sweeping victory of Barack Obama ushers in a new era of leadership that will affect every aspect of American institutions and that sounds a death knell for the top-down, power-oriented leadership prevalent in the 20th century.A new style of "bottom-up, empowering" leadership focusing on collaboration will sweep the country. A new wave of 21st century authentic leaders will take oversee U.S. institutions of every type: business, education, health care, religion, and nonprofits. These new leaders recognize that an organization of empowered leaders at every level will outperform "command-and-control" organizations every time.
Left with the financial and ideological results of our preemptive attack on and invasion of Iraq and the winding down of our war in Afghanistan, Obama has had to develop and implement a foreign policy limiting Iran's nuclear ambitions and safeguarding America from the maniacal, ideologically driven violence of ISIS. How much he succeeds or fails in this effort will indelibly define his presidential legacy.Recent estimates are that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, about 16 million additional persons now have health insurance. Assuming this is so, this is encouraging if not remarkable. However, as I begin to rethink and review the Obama presidency, I think history will judge it based principally on two other matters: his foreign policy and the consequences of his presidency on the unfinished business of race relations in America.
There is one issue ... notwithstanding the paramount importance of the economy, that continues to be the common denominator of the presidential election in 2012, as it was in 2008: the historic issue of race and race relations in America.
Not since the Civil War and the failed Congressional Reconstruction thereafter has race been such an explicit or implicit national issue. "Race relations" principally, but not exclusively, between black and white America continues to be the 800-lb. gorilla in most American households.Perhaps only surpassed by sex, is any public discussion -- or lack of discussion -- about race in America weighted down with more hypocrisy, ambivalence, fear and misunderstanding.
In the most simplistic sense, use or disuse of the so-called "race card" will cease only when there is a completely new "deck" from which the card is drawn.
Virtually from the moment the Civil War ended, the search began for legal means of subordinating a volatile black population that regarded economic independence as a corollary of freedom and the old labor discipline as a badge of slavery.The failure of Reconstruction irrevocably hindered the intended outcome of the Civil War: the full restoration of all the rights and privileges of citizenship owed to African-American slaves under our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as amended with its Bill of Rights
The black-white rift stands at the very center of American history. ... If we forget that -- if we forget the great stain of slavery that stands at the heart of our country, our history, our experiment -- we forget who we are, and we make the great rift deeper and wider.Presenting a more optimistic outlook on race, in a December 2014 interview on BET, President Obama said:
It's important to recognize that as painful as these incidents are, we can't equate what is happening now to what happened 50 years ago. If you talk to your parents, your grandparents, they'll tell you things are better. Not good, in some cases, but better. The reason it's important to understand that progress has been made is that it then gives us hope we can make even more progress.
Regrettably, however, our 2015 existential reality repeatedly confirms that a deep and abiding derivative of the white supremacist racism of slavery is still alive and well under the presidency of Barack Obama. It is more insidious than ever, only today existing in a form commensurate with the ubiquitous and advanced technology of the communication of information in the second decade of the 21st century.
I had hoped it would be otherwise." [Source]Perhaps unfairly, but I believe unavoidably, Obama's presidential legacy will be determined by the success or failure of our collective effort to finally resolve the issue of race under his presidency. Historically, this is likely to be more definitive than any other single issue.