Dear, Mr. President
You made it! Eight years, one recession, months of job growth, a new healthcare system, a slew of domestic terrorism, and the rise of social media. The world has changed so much under your presidency. You’ve changed the world so much in the last eight years. We’ll need several more to reveal your true impact on history. With your farewell tour over, your vacation in high gear, and Donald Trump’s presidency is full Bay of Pigs-disaster-mode, I’m thinking more about your impact on my life and how you can help black people in the Post-You-World.
My worldview developed, morphed and hardened during your presidency and I find it incredibly ironic. As I learned about Marcus Garvey, The Black Panthers and American foreign policy I grew to dislike you, America’s First Black President. In my mind, I was able to see past your charm, your jump shot, and your beautiful black family. I was able to see you as any other president… an Imperialist with the United State’s interest at the center of all your decisions. I still see that. But now, I hope my view is a bit more nuanced. Your childhood was complicated. You’ve struggled with your blackness, as all black people do, but in your own unique way. Growing up with your white mother and living in the ghostly shadow of your Kenyan father. Going from Hawaii to Indonesia to Los Angeles to Chicago. All while developing your idea of blackness, and feeling the pressure of racism. It’s difficult and complicated. Maybe you saw community organizing and social change as a way to center yourself and find your identity. Ultimately, you put a black face on white supremacy. You did instill hope. You did mobilize black people in ways we haven’t seen since the 60’s. You did restore our faith in the system. You did all these things. You gave black children a familiar face to look at. A black man with hair and a family just like theirs. You captured a feeling. Those feelings are different for black folks in this Post-Obama world.
I remember when my dad told me “this black man might win!” I remember when you won he said he thought he’d never see this day. That look in his eyes will stay with me forever. It was amazing. It was an experience this world will never have again. I didn’t get it at the time. When I finally did, I was against the system you became the commander of. Seeing the unemployment rate of black people, the destruction of Lybia, the rise of AFRICOM and the confusion surrounding black leadership frustrated me. I’m still frustrated. You’re obviously not to blame for all of it, but you’ve had a hand in everything.
Simply put, being the first black President of The United States is significant. On the other hand, you didn’t end racism, you didn’t bring people together, black boys and girls aren’t following your example in mass. The black condition hasn’t improved tremendously under your leadership. Again, I understand this wasn’t your responsibility. Of course, you were America’s president and not just ours, but with black skin, a black family and direct roots to Africa, you should’ve been able to look at the black dilemma with a level of care and understanding other commanders couldn’t.
I never thought you would create policy designed specifically for our benefit, but during your eight years and after, we would see a change in mindset. Black people would start believing in their own ability to change the world and maneuver through this system. I thought it would be a palpable, visible shift for black people in this country… but it wasn’t.
Things Changed. Things Stayed The Same.
In your post-presidency role, I hope you’re able to pass along some real insight into this structure created to destroy black people. You reached the top and we can put that to good use. You’re probably the only black person besides Beyonce, and to a lesser extent, Farrakhan, that all black people will listen to. You can use that power, years government experience, and your skills as a young Community Organizer to mobilize these grassroots organizations in Chicago and across the country. You could bring influences are leaders together. You could fund Black Think Tanks and intellectual groups. Black people need leadership and with the shackles of “President” off you, you can do whatever you want. We still love you. Help us the way we helped you.
Kabir Olawale Lambo
You fucked up with the drone strikes. No other way around it, bro.