I’ve been immersing myself in everything Obama in the last few days. I think I’m trying, even as I know it’s futile, to inoculate myself for the coming four years, possibly eight.
So, after listening to the two hours of Fareed Zakaria GPS’ The Legacy of Barack Obama, I have now jumped to CNN’s film The End: Inside The Last Days Of The Obama White House. I am writing these lines during pauses that my thoughts, sometimes my tears, force me to take.
The film covers the period from Election night until his farewell speech in Chicago, with other flashbacks of key moments of the Obama presidency like the passing of the ACA, various press conferences, and the Sandy Hook shooting. I was, once again, shaken by this terrible tragedy and by President Obama’s tears during the press conference that he held to speak about it.
The film also includes various interviews with key members of the President’s staff, and we get a lot of detail from Cody Keenan, the President’s head speechwriter. In scenes with his speechwriting team, I found myself daydreaming of what it would’ve been like to have been part of that team. I would have loved it, not only for the writing but for whom they were writing.
But, moving on…Wait, I just took a peak at CNN. I don’t plan to watch the Inauguration. It was my first and only New Year’s resolution made back at the end of December. But, I do want to see President and First Lady Obama leave the White House, which is strange considering that I don’t want them to leave at all.
Well, getting back to the film. Wait! I just had to watch the video when the President and First Lady welcomed President-Elect and future First Lady to the White House steps.
Ok, now really moving on, the film is interesting from various points of view. I felt like a fly on the wall watching everyone preparing for the end, not only the end of a presidency but the end of the Obama era, a time when the President of the United States always gave messages of hope, unity, and let’s just say it, love.
Unlike Zakaria’s podcast, the film does not give witness to the incredible challenges faced by President Obama when he first came into office nor the incredible legacy that he’s leaving behind. The film does point out signature achievements, but it does so to emphasize the work done by the staff. This allows the viewer to appreciate how much hard work and preparation is done by the people who support the President on a day to day basis. It also allows the viewer to see, to feel, the anxiety and sadness of a group of people who must pass on a mountain of work that is threatened to be destroyed instead of used in a long path of continuity.
Speaking of continuity, during President Obama’s Farewell Speech in Chicago, he talks about the importance of the peaceful transfer of power. Of course, he’s right.
I am watching now more than I’m writing. I am watching Hillary Clinton take a deep breath, before she walks out to the crowd. My heart goes out to her.
The end of President Obama’s presidency is here. I can accept it, with a broken heart and fear in my heart, but with tremendous awe for having been witness to the presidency of a great man.
Goodbye, Mr. President. Thank you for showing us that so much is possible when we work together with hope and purpose in our hearts. We can survive what is coming ahead because you have shown us the way during these past eight years and more so in these very difficult last days. We can come out of this, bruised without a doubt, but with a new determination to continue to fight for our country and for what is right. Yes, we can.