19 February 2014

My First Black President

Barack Obama takes the oath of office
administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
at the Capitol, January 20, 2009

Oh, South Africa, how could we guess you would beat us to it?  And with a man who, straight from political imprisonment, established whole community reconciliation?

Barak Obama, brave and beautiful man, you brought vision of a renewed democracy from the day you entered the race to the day you left the turtles crawling in your dust.

Full engagement with the people’s representatives moved government slower, but it renewed constitutionality as our Preamble affirms “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice … "

I was proud to vote for you, to hear intelligence in your every word, to see you listening—what joy!—to hear you insist on discussion and debate, my hero.  You are a citizen of your country and this showed in every move you made.  It still does.

You and I did not anticipate the venom in the slogging turtles that edged forward to surround you, did not anticipate stalling as the warm up to barricading every path you opened toward equality in health care, employment opportunity and wages, peace and environmental safety.

Each barrier became a thicket of brambles so deadly that you traded education for a sharper sword, still believing in compromise, but selling our future.  Wounded and broken hearted, I still follow in your slogan “Yes I can,” still applaud your spirit, but sadly.

I stand with you bewildered by the traitors to democracy who make a mockery of a Constitution that bends under their lies.  I look beyond you at what will become a new condemnation of Black leadership, all history to the contrary.

Broken-hearted as I am, I hold you higher than the racist “No, you cannot” that continues to break the back of the American public so some can gain while others pay.  I celebrate you, your belief in Democracy and in our Constitution, your family and values.

Do not disappear, my hero.  Barak Obama, I look for you to continue to expose the turtles and their venom, I look for you to inspire other Black and White and American ethnic leaders. 

Do not disappear along with all the hope you raised.

Posted for my prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Leaders/Leadership at Poets United.

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast


  1. Obama seems to be plauged by terrible publicity. I wonder if it is because of his race or the fact that he is not 'publicity friendly'..Margaret Thatcher may be comparable character - her policies were disastrous (for the working class) but she was seen as a superwoman..Nelson Mandela politically was untouchable but perhaps he too had a kind of persona that translated itself to the world? But what do I know! A fitting ode..

  2. i voted for him, twice...i believed in him more the first time around and i know that the opposition he faced was insane...and well beyond race we are a divided nation in many ways on how we even approach democracy or what we call democracy these days....

  3. Well, because of his healthcare reform, we've had a VERY significant cut in our monthly income... so I'm not all that happy about everything he's done. But he has done a lot of good, and I adore First Lady Michelle.

    1. ... and we were already struggling...

  4. Susan, you echo my every thought about this man of integrity and vision. After eight years of the former President, I wept with joy and relief when Obama was elected. He has not failed - it is the refusal of the opposition to work with him that has tied his hands - and then they will blame him for what they would not let him do. I too fear for what comes next - another eight years swung to the right? more wars? more breaks for the wealthy, more poverty? more emission of fossil fuels, no progress in addressing global warming? The whole planet should be worried about what comes next. A great heartfelt write, which resounded in my heart, too. He is a TRUE leader, a highly intelligent man, and has proved himself a leader one can trust - they come along rarely. I wrote of another such man. I think you should send him this poem - he needs recognition that, given the legacy he inherited, he did far more than anyone could have dreamed, against such opposing forces. I hope the American public will reassure him of that.

  5. President Obama came to the scene believing on his vision. Not many could have seen it coming not that many years ago. Being reelected tells us volumes of his popularity though there were diverging opinions in recent times! Great write Susan!


  6. Susan,

    I was in Atlanta the night when Barak Obama was declared President. An interesting audience of strangers in a hotel, who both welcomed and rejected this new beginning.
    A second term which seems to simply biding time. At least that is the external view from here.

  7. When he was elected it gave me hope in a world was ready to give up on.

  8. I think there are many powerful forces against Obama who are determined to bring him down. I respect him enormously for bringing about health care reforms long overdue in your nation. You wont get another fine man like him. I wish we had him as our leader. I hope he survives the onslaught of his enemies and remains the President for as long as possible. Your prompts so far Susan have been fantastic. I look forward to them every week . Thank you!

  9. I voted for him before leaving for Sweden and so I haven't a clear idea of the situation now. Very intelligent argument that has been my impression as well. The president is facing a lot of opposition because there are so many corrupt officials in the government. I can't even imagine how hard it is to stay strong when under such pressure and of course the risk to himself and family when opposing those forces.

  10. i would've voted for him as well... i like what he does...his ideas - but yeah - they block him - he has a good reputation over here in europe and i do hope that he will be able to change a few things still

  11. I admired him and rooted for him when he won twice ~ I don't know what the issues are facing now but I respect his tenacity and coolness to carry out tough decisions ~
    I pray that he be strong enough to carry to the end all his promises to reality ~ Take care Susan. And this is a challenging prompt, just couldn't get my head to write for it ~

  12. This is an amazing piece, Susan and very in keeping with the way "praise-singers" of the Xhosa people extol the virtues of their leaders.


I want to know your responses, favorite bits, associations, suggestions, and etc.. Thank you for visiting and letting me know you were here!

(Note that I moderate comments before posting them, so you will experience a delay.)