Camelot 2.0: Obama's Legacy
Camelot. That's what comes to mind when I think about what I just witnessed over the last 8 years of President Obama's administration. And I say "I" because unlike any other public figure before him, I have felt a very real and personal connection to this President and his family. Not just because we have a similar heritage, but because of the Obamas' uncanny ability to breathe the rare air of the White House while at the same time relating to people on a personal level.
Watching President Obama's farewell speech made me think beyond party lines and feel tremendously appreciative of being alive at a time such as this. You see, regardless of your affiliation or feelings about him, it's difficult to ignore the immense importance of this moment in time. Not only did we get to witness the first African-American president, but we also witnessed an administration that came of age along with the new age of technology. Merging these two concepts together, the presidency somehow felt more tangible than before, and for that, I am in awe. The Obamas withstood a heightened level of scrutiny, commonplace when something so dramatic shifts age-old paradigms. But considering they did this at a time when that scrutiny was so in-your-face because of a constant and accessible news stream is a fact that cannot be ignored.
I remember where I was in 2008 when President-Elect Obama took that stage in Chicago. I remember everything I felt in that moment - hopeful, motivated, exuberant, nervous. I've kept those feelings close to my heart and even as I witnessed him making decision after decision, regardless of how great or small, I felt something. It was pride. Pride not only that someone who looked like me occupied the most powerful seat in the world, but pride because that meant that there was no longer a seat that I didn't feel capable of occupying.
As we transition to the next administration, I don't know what to expect. And so in the midst of the unknown, I will instead reflect on the fact that we will never have another family quite like the Obamas in the White House. Their ability to be tough and tender, firm and flexible, and private yet transparent is a gift. Witnessing this level of grace, humility and strength of character is akin to witnessing Camelot - a new Camelot - and for this unique blessing, I am eternally grateful.
(Photo by Essence Magazine)