This is my last 2016 post. I started this blog almost eight years ago, in the early months of Barack Obama's presidency, at a time when all things seemed possible and hope was alive in a way that I hadn't experienced in a long time. As this year ends, however, hope seems to barely register for many people I know, let alone flicker. On many days, I am one of those people.
It's worth remembering the many good things Obama accomplished, not the least of which was pulling America back from the brink of a second Great Depression. Most importantly (and with a loud pu! pu! pu! for his final days in office), he will have served two full terms as the first African-American president in our nation's history. He and his family have carried an incredible historic weight for eight years, and done so with amazing grace and character. Whether all of us realize it or not, all of us are better off for that fact.
And, ironically, his presidency has exposed the extent to which America is still a very deeply racist nation, and is still unwilling and/or unable to deal with that fact. One of the most glaring recent examples of this was provided by Bill O'Reilly, who recently offered this "thought" on one of his broadcasts: "The left wants power taken away from the white establishment ... ".
That is as breathtaking an admission of white privilege as any newscaster on American media has ever presented. If there was any doubt about the entrenched nature of bigotry in this country, there can't be any now. We all need to face this fact every day, especially from January 20th onward. Those who will be in power from then on have no respect for Barack Obama, or anything accomplished by any African-American. They do not stand for America. They stand for whiteness. Never be ashamed of opposing them, and never be intimidated by them.
The path to a unified, better America runs through the need to stand up to them. I hope all of you are ready. I am. May your 2017 experience help you to find the way to play your part.