Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Emancipation of Barack Obama

HISTORY HAS NOT yet rendered its verdict on President Barack Obama. But we know now that he was no fluke of history. In 2008, Atlantic columnist Ta-Nehisi Coates notes, Obama was a talented rookie -- but arguably very, very lucky. By 2012, however, he "was the captain of the football team" with a formidable record. Coates thoughtfully  writes: "The second chapter of the Obama presidency begins exactly a century and a half after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect" and that "Lincoln’s [Emancipation Proclamation] order transformed a war for union into a war for abolition, and in so doing put the country on a road to broad citizenship ..." I would add that Obama's reelection put the country -- kicking and screaming (see the dying GOP of angry old white men), messily (see Congress) but irrevocably -- on the road toward the Framers' dream of "a more perfect union." It's rarely pretty, but that's how American history is made.

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