The Man

Often when I am teaching online or writing essays for my website, I have a habit of using this sentence, "I would like to get all my cards on the table before going any further." It is my means by which I can get my classes or readers updated about where I am on some issues. It doesn't matter whether my audience agrees or disagrees. Nonetheless, it matters to me that they know where my starting point is. This essay is such an example.

Over eight years ago, I had just arrived at the airport in Cape Town, South Africa. My youngest daughter, Michelle, had been volunteering at an orphanage caring for children whose parents died from AIDS. I hadn't seen her for over a half year. After landing, we went to a restaurant in the airport and attempted to verbally catch up with all that we had missed.

Then Michelle, after about twenty minutes of our verbal hyperactivity, stopped. She looked at me and said, "What's happening with Barack Obama in his attempt to get nominated by the Democratic Party?" I brushed her comment off as if to say that he didn't have a chance and went on talking about other important matters. She was surprised at my indifference to Obama's campaign. I explained that he didn't have a chance.

Michelle knows that no one in the family is more left of center or liberal than I am. I told her that I was in college and graduate school in the 60s and matured intellectually during the civil rights movement. There was no way Obama would become the Democratic candidate let alone win in a national election to be the next president. America still hadn't come of age on the issue of racism.

Well, that was a mistake on my part. When I returned home, I was listening to Hardball with Chris Mathews within a couple of days getting back to Crown Point, IN. Mathews was talking about Obama being liberal and didn't have a chance, which essentially was what I had said to Michelle at the airport in Cape Town. However, when I heard someone else say it, it changed me. As a result, I was off and running. During the presidential campaign, I wrote about Obama, I talked about him, I sent my contribution to his campaign.

When Obama won the presidential election, I received, like many other supporters, an invitation to the inauguration. Interestingly, during Obama's presidency, I went back to Greece where I lead a tour years before. I visited Thermopylae again where in 480 BCE, Leonidas and the 300-Spartans held off Xerxes commanded an army of a couple hundred thousand. When Xerxes told Leonidas to surrender, Leonidas responded, "μολὼν λαβέ," which means essentially "come and take us."

Obama is determined, like Leonidas. He will stand and fight to protect individuals or the nation. In a neighboring town to the Thermopylae battlefield, I bought three T-shirts. They had a Spartan military helmet and the words, μολὼν λαβέ, under the helmet. I sent one to Obama. I saw courage and determination in his actions like Leonidas' two and a half millennia before.

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The top picture is of the invitation to Obama's inauguration. The picture below is one that I took of Obama in Gary, IN during the campaign. Finally, the next picture is one that I took at Thermopylae of Leonidas. All three are on my office wall in my home right above my computer.

In two days, Obama will leave the White House as our president. He will be replaced with the Donald. Even though the Donald lost the popular vote by more than 2.6 million votes, the prospect of enduring the Donald for four years will be a personal test for me. While I attempt to come to grips with that reality, the years of a thoughtful, determined, and calm president are gone. The comparison of what America had and what awaits America is a double-whammy. Therefore, in terms of a quasi-Rogerian therapy session, I have listed the attributes that I see in Obama and, in the other column, how the Donald fares in comparison.

President Obama The Donald

  1. Connects with people. Obama does possess the ability to cross race, sex, religious, and educational backgrounds and is able to communicate with all sorts of various groups.
  2. Intellectual. This is another attribute of Obama. When he processes information, he can grasp the details and employs a logical rationale for his particular viewpoint.
  3. Organized. Obama will get the pertinent facts before deciding or acting on all issue facing America or the world.
  4. Public speaking. I would be hard pressed to name a public speaker that can speak and communicate to all sorts of groups throughout the States and overseas better than Obama. He does so with style and a sense of understanding his audience. Whether he makes prepared speeches or impromptu ones, he knows the material and presents it well.
  5. Scandal. Personally, Obama is scandal free and that is true within his administration. This is rare when compared to previous administrations.
  6. Intelligence. He is extremely intelligent, which can be seen by merely listening to him logically express his point of view. Whether you agree with him or not, he possesses an ability to logically think through an issue. In addition, he doesn't talk down to others or tells them of his intellect.
  7. Sense of humor. Obama can be funny when he wishes to be. An example of this was his last pardon of the annual pardon of a turkey from being the main dish at some family's Thanksgiving dinner. However, more importantly, he can laugh at himself and isn't offended when others poke fun at him.

  8. Honesty. Again, regardless of whether a person agrees or disagrees with Obama's positions, he is honest about what he thinks is important or critical.
  9. Controlled emotionally. I don't recall ever seeing Obama get emotionally so upset that he loses control in an argument with anyone. He is so controlled and cool under pressure that some of his political distractors feel that he is too controlled.
  10. Leader. A leader is called leader, because that person leads others who follow. The Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare is an example of this leadership. A century before, Teddy Roosevelt proposed legislation for universal healthcare, which was the same year that Norway did. Norway passed it and became the first nation to provide universal healthcare. A hundred years later, America was the only one without it. Obama lead the reluctant Congress to join the rest of the Western world to pass it.
  1. The Donald does also possess the ability to connect with people who don't like Muslims or Mexicans for example.

  2. The Donald isn't intellectual. He responds emotionally especially when the issues relate to him or his idea.
  3. The Donald is not organized when responding to issues political or personal. Whether it be his behavior with women or his love for Putin.
  4. The Donald is not a public speaker. He can't use a teleprompter without looking like he is reading the script from the left or right teleprompter. Additionally, he can't stay on topic and merely goes off message.
  5. Scandal is his middle name. It abounds around the Donald personally and/or in his corporate world. The Donald will sue anyone who disses him whether it be the dozen women or corporations.
  6. The Donald isn't a smart person even though he always is telling people that he is. Hey, he went to Wharton, which proves that he didn't say what he did say regarding Megan Kelly. The Donald will talk about anything even though he doesn't even know the facts. He talked about the Ukraine and the Crimea, without knowing the actual names of the places and was oblivious to the Russian invasion of Crimea.

  7. The Donald can't laugh at himself, but he hates it when others laugh at him. This is particularly true when Saturday Night Live (SNL) spoofs him.
  8. The Donald is dishonest even when confronted with videos which he says something different. Whether he claims that he wasn't for the Iraqi war or that he didn't attempt to mess around with a dozen other women.
  9. Go to Google, and click on images of Donald Trump. You determine if the Donald is in control.
  10. The Donald is far from being a leader. He leads those who have already decided on issues of racism, sexism, xenophobia, or whatever. He determines the lowest common denominator of many of his followers. Then he leads them with building the wall, banning Muslims, checking on Obama's birth certificate, and replacing Obamacare. Instead of being a leader, he leads where his followers are already. That is far from leadership and far from being a presidential leader.

Finally, the above part of this essay were my personal observations. Whether you agree with them or not, ultimately, the question is whether you trust the Donald. Would you trust the Donald to pay you an agreed amount for services rendered? That isn't his track record.

Politics always get down to the local level. Would you trust the Donald 1:1 with any family member regardless of sex? I won't trust him around Ginger.

Do you believe the Donald regarding the truth about anything that he says? He hasn't yet sued the dozen women that have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct. At least, the Donald admits that Obama is an American after nearly a decade of lying. Well, he is our president for four years...unfortunately.

Finally, this is President Obama's Farewell Address.

Visit the Obamacare page to read more about this topic.

Obama signs health insurance reform bill

Obama Signing the Affordable Care Act