The results of this year’s presidential election will be a physical manifestation of the frustration and anger that voters say they feel every day. Terrorism is constantly in the news, mass shootings appear to happen every month, and racial incidents between white police and African American suspects continue to go viral. Gun violence and racial tensions have been debated many times on the national stage this year, but the arguments don’t seem to lead to any meaningful action that appeases the thousands of protesters. And with the second deadly attack on police officers in the south within as many weeks, many are convinced that nothing can be done to stop the violence.
So does this kind of violence mean that President Obama has failed to live up to the enormous expectations and historic responsibilities inherent in being America’s first black president, or has he actually done more for race relations than any president before him? Though millions of people still support Obama, a lot of people are disappointed and frustrated by years of battles that end in stalemate between Obama and Congress. The election in 2008 championed messages of hope and change, yet the legacy Obama is leaving at the end of this year appears to be a far cry from those early sky high promises.
Obama’s relatively moderate stance on the race issue has both disappointed and discouraged his left wing base who want him to take drastic action and fix the problem – because the thinking is, if Obama can’t bridge the racial divide, no one can. But Obama is trying to negotiate a delicate balance between black and blue protest movements based on deep-seated historical divides, which calls for exactly the kind of middle-of-the-road politicking that he has been so careful about delivering. And although Obama hasn’t erased hatred from the country as many people hoped he would, hopefully by simply being who he is, he has laid an unconscious foundation for America to eventually become colorblind.
Feel like it don’t matter if you’re black or white? Movie for your musical mood: Michael Jackson’s This Is It