Monday, November 21, 2016

Nothing in his term became him like the leaving of it.

Never enthused about the prospect of Obama presidency, my low expectations were marginally met. Neither the best and by no means the worst presidency, there were some modest accomplishments and many predictable failures. The handful of areas where I had had some hopes (the closing of the revolving door between government, business, and advocacy; the balancing of the branches of government, a greater respect for rule of law) were all dashed.

That said, this report reminds me of King Duncan's comments on the death of the Thane of Cawdor. My paraphrase: Nothing in his term became him like the leaving of it.

From Obama Reckons With a Trump Presidency by David Remnick. It is only a gloss, but a nice one.
I was standing to the side of the stage. Nearby, a stout older man appeared in the aisle, dressed in a worn, beribboned military uniform and holding a Trump sign. People spotted him quickly and the jeering began. Then came the chant “Hil-la-ry! Hil-la-ry!”

Obama picked up the curdled vibe and located its source. “Hold up!” he said. “Hold up!”

The crowd would not quiet down. He repeated the phrase—“Hold up!”—sixteen more times, and still nothing. It took a long, disturbing while before he could recapture the crowd’s attention and get people to lay off the old man. What followed was a lecture in political civility.

“I’m serious, listen up,” he said. “You’ve got an older gentleman who is supporting his candidate. . . . You don’t have to worry about him. This is what I mean about folks not being focussed. First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military, and we’ve got to respect that. Third of all, he was elderly, and we’ve got to respect our elders. . . . Now, I want you to pay attention. Because if we don’t, if we lose focus, we could have problems.”

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