Editorial: Help keep President Obama’s legacy alive

Editorial: Help keep President Obama’s legacy alive
September 22
08:30 2016

President Obama is making the rounds as he nears the end of his presidency. We’ve seen him fired up and ready to go, but no more than on Sept. 18 when he spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 46th Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner. This was his last speech to that group as president.

Add to this the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, and you have a powerful speech to Black America. You have a “double-dog dare you” speech to Black America.

In historic elections, Obama was elected president the first time in 2008 then again in 2012. His legacy could be said to be mixed, but there were some historic moments: helping to keep the United States out of a depression, saving the U.S. auto industry, killing Osama Bin Laden like he said he would and getting the Affordable Care Act passed, to name four. Obama is working to make sure people remember him in a positive light just as all presidents who near the end of their terms do.

What better way to keep hope alive than with Hillary Clinton. Clinton, Obama’s former rival, was honored at the dinner. She is now embracing his legacy and has said she would continue working on matters that matter to black Americans, such as justice reform.

Obama said this at the dinner (see

“In fact, if you want to give Michelle and me a good sendoff – and that was a beautiful video – but don’t just watch us walk off into the sunset, now. Get people registered to vote. If you care about our legacy, realize everything we stand for is at stake. All the progress we’ve made is at stake in this election. My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration — that’s on the ballot right now!

“And there is one candidate who will advance those things. And there’s another candidate whose defining principle, the central theme of his candidacy is opposition to all that we’ve done.

“There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter. It all matters. And after we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election. You want to give me a good send-off? Go vote. And I’m going to be working as hard as I can these next seven weeks to make sure folks do.”

Obama clearly points out the high stakes in this election. It’s monumental, possibly more important than the last two elections.

The president asks you to go vote for Hillary Clinton. He was once her rival, yet he appointed her secretary of state. He is embracing her candidacy. Whatever you have against Clinton, you have to know that the alternative is much more dire.

Help keep the president’s legacy alive. A group of students urged Michelle Obama to stay four more years. Mrs. Obama said “No,” but you can say “Yes.” Vote for Hillary Clinton to continue the fight Obama started. Otherwise, we had better be prepared to go back in time where it won’t be comfortable.

Go to the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture after it opens in Washington, D.C., this weekend and see what it was like.

President Obama ended his speech this way:

“And what an inspiration all of you are — especially the young people who are here.

“That’s why I am still fired up.  That’s why I’m still ready to go.  And if you are, too, if you’re ready to continue this journey that we started, then join me. Register folks to vote. Get them to the polls. Keep marching. Keep fighting. Keep organizing. If we rise to this moment, if we understand this isn’t the endpoint, this is the beginning, we’re just getting going, we’re just getting moving – then I have never been more optimistic that our best days are still ahead.”

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Donna Rogers

Donna Rogers

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