44 | hail to the chief

Barak Obama-United States-Politics

 


INcite with angel Kyodo williams

To kick off 2013, I decided to share two essays I’ve written in celebration of and conversation with our 44th President Barack Hussein Obama, who is truly an American—in ways good, bad and complicated—than we likely have all considered. He has been deliciously complicated, frustratingly indecipherable and wonderfully imperfect. He has been a man. Can we do better politically speaking? Perhaps, but I think we’re a ways off from radical change in American politics. In this moment, he is a good as I think this America can tolerate. And in the moments in which I swing from fascination to frustration, I always remember that I’d much rather be in a heart struggle with him than overwhelmed and overrun by what the alternative was. We’ve gotta give it up: healthcare, marriage equality, don’t even ask anymore, mortgage relief, and a modicum of sanity on immigration reform, gun control and our incessant wars on the way.

Here’s to the next four years of number 44:

After Obama’s election I quickly realized that I wasn’t alone in my arms-distance relationship to being American. Over and over again I heard people—conscious, justice—seeking people: black people, white people, poor and privileged, from behind the scenes and on the frontlines—each on an outbreath of relief say: “I can finally be proud to be American.”

On the one hand, 2009 brings with it the incredible challenges of the freefall of an economic house of cards built with smoke, mirrors and lots of dishonest spit, an unjust war built on outright lies. and a devastating attack on a people that the world can no longer deny is on the short end of a harsh stick, built on a 60 year theft. On the other hand, we are embarking upon a new year, a new era, and a strange, new hopefulness that real people, tired of being polarized by fear, hate and separation can organize for hope, progress and change. And together, our collective will can make a difference.

Read how I became finally American

I remember it like it was yesterday. Hunkered down around the television, we clung to every word as you swept the nation off its feet in a resounding victory. In triumph, we poured into the streets, dancing into the night as if Liberation, herself, had finally come.

We carried you across the threshold into the White House on a delirious wave of excitement, brimming with expectation and overwhelmed by the potential that lay before us in this great union: Hope. Progress. Change.

And then we left you there.

We were so delighted with ourselves for having you, we forgot to show up for you. We set forth our demands and desires, but were not flexible enough to see where you needed our support.

The limitation of our childish love was suffered by us all, and our lessons hard won.

Read my love letter to a president

your in truth, aKw

naturally, this is dedicated to Barack Hussein Obama, but also to the millions of people that chipped in a bit of their money, a bit of their belief and a lot of their hearts to give us another shot at Hope and Change. may we all see it through together.


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angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author,
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angel Kyodo williams About angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams, the "change angel," is Founder Emeritus of a Center for Transformative Change. She now serves as a Senior Fellow and Director of Vision. A social visionary and leading voice for transformative social change, she is the author of the critically-acclaimed Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.
 
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