Chido Nwangwu, Publisher, USAfricaonline.com focuses on a new book by former American President Barack Obama which gives account of some events during his presidency
“For all our differences, we remained bound as one people . . . together, men and women of goodwill could find a way to a better future.”
Those words reflect the essential character, fundamental outlook and philosophical disposition of the first African-American President of the United Staes, Barack Obama.
He served as the 44th President.
Those are his exact words in the best-selling book, ‘A Promised Land,’ published on November 17, 2020. It is the first of the two memoirs.
This November 25, 2020 Thanksgiving weekend, it will become the highest selling presidential memoir in history. It has a total of 768 pages which provides the insider roles and events which became prominent or obscure, non-publicized factors that shaped the course of history under the charismatic Obama,
On the motivation for writing the book, Obama said in a tweet that he seeks to “provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody.”
The book, understandably, serves as a platform to further confront (or simply to correct) the unusual and non-presidential conducts of his successor Donald J. Trump at the White House. And Trump before he became the 45th President.
Also, he reveals how his team “used” Trump as a distraction for the media the period he had ordered the raid and killing of Al-Qaeda’s kingpin, Osama bin-Laden. It was at the 2011 White House Correspondents dinner. Trump, for almost 16 months, was hawking the false and racist claim that Obama was not born in the United States. It’s the dog whistle, fancifully known as “birtherism.”
Trump and his cohorts demanded the “certificate of live birth” or “produce his long-form birth certificate” for Barack Obama. While millions of decent and fair-minded Americans frowned at the crass and incendiary advertisements yet baseless claims of New York’s flamboyant real estate and reality tv show mogul Trump, there were millions of others who cheered Trump on!
This is important because it laid the foundations for the segment of these United States (at least 15% of both the voting and non-voting youth) who still, foolishly, believe: •that Obama was an “illegitimate President”, •that Obama was not born in the U.S., •that Obama is/was a muslim; •that people of African descent in America are children of a lesser ‘God’. They don’t believe that Black Lives Matter!
“Fortunately it turned out that the country’s leading distraction had been invited to sit at the Washington Post’s table that night, and those of us aware of what was going on took odd comfort in knowing that once Donald Trump entered the room, it was all but guaranteed that the media would not be thinking about Pakistan,” Obama indicated in his big book.
bin Laden was killed by U.S Special forces, in Pakistan.
At dinner, Obama recalled that “my face fixed in an accommodating smile, as I quietly balanced on a mental high wire, my thoughts thousands of miles away.”
“When it was my turn to speak, I stood up and started my routine. About halfway through, I turned my attention directly to Trump…. As the audience broke into laughter, I continued in this vein, noting his ‘credentials and breadth of experience’ as host of Celebrity Apprentice and congratulating him for how he’d handled the fact that ‘at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks….These are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.
Well handled, sir. Well handled….. The audience howled as Trump sat in silence, cracking a tepid smile. I couldn’t begin to guess what went through his mind during the few minutes I spent publicly ribbing him. What I knew was that he was a spectacle, and in the United States of America in 2011, that was a form of power. Trump trafficked in a currency that, however shallow, seemed to gain more purchase with each passing day. The same reporters who laughed at my jokes would continue to give him airtime. Their publishers would vie to have him sit at their tables. Far from being ostracized for the conspiracies he’d peddled, he in fact had never been bigger.”
Again, in 2012, from the elections held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, Obama and Biden won reelection. Regarding his campaigns, the first and the second, he notes the value and impact of communications, effective messaging to mobilize people.
The breakthrough speeches catapulted Obama to stratospheric level heights; leading up to his run for Senate; serving briefly and lining to a competitive field which included formidable technocrats, politicians and former First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton. Hillary was then serving as a Senator from New York. It’s true but necessary for me to note that the Clintons were at the pinnacle of their political influence, propelled by an intimidating armada of persons and “infrastructure”.
Without any doubts, at the time, they dominated the party. After all, to this day, no member of the Democratic or Republican party can unpack and explain and lend some vitality of life into any complicated public policy package better than Bill Clinton, former U.S President and husband of Hillary’s. Especially, healthcare policy details dripping with complex, technical arcana. Bill is a “natural.”
Although, Obama mentions Hillary’s roles and work as his Secretary of State, it does capture in complete substance what I believe, drawing on facts of demographics and stabilizing presence and consistent campaign support, helped substantially in Obama gaining victory. Worthy of mention in special, bold type is the esteemed U.S congressman, the distinguished Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Clyburn, one of the most of the establishment power players within the Democratic Party, choked off the critical votes the Clintons needed to advance. He blunted the Clinton machine, and Obama got the electoral juice to power forward towards nomination.
But the million dollar question that I have for former President Obama: did you take Americans to “a promised land”? Did you take African-Americans and continental Africans to “a promised land? No matter the answer, I believe you moved the trajectory of history, forward. We’re still on our way to the avenues enroute The Promised Land!