Last night, I watched Barack Obama deliver his farewell speech, ten days before Donald Trump takes office as the new President of the United States of America. I can’t believe I just typed that. The crowd chanted “FOUR MORE YEARS” and I wish it was a possibility. President Obama said:
“Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard. It has been contentious. Sometimes it has been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.”
He kept things classy; when he said that “in 10 days the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy,” the crowd began to boo. He urged them to stop, saying that the peaceful transfer of power will occur, just as former President Bush did for him eight years ago.
President Obama said that he left the stage even more optimistic than when we started. “Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace, you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands.”
President Obama asked us to believe, but not in his ability to bring about change. He asked us to believe in our own ability. “I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written. Yes, we can. Yes, we did.”
Re-reading this amazing speech brings tears to my eyes once again. I am terrified of what is to come once Donald takes office. This is a man who has no idea what he is doing. He is appointing people who want to tear apart all the work that President Obama has done in his years in office. This is a man who is grossly unqualified for the position he is about to fill. Can you imagine Donald delivering the speech that Obama did? Neither can I. He can’t do it.
I am trying to believe. I am trying to have hope. But it’s difficult to see when we’re losing a fantastic President and replacing him with a bloated orange sack of hot air. Donald got elected because he knew how to rile up a crowd. He could say the right things to incite a riot, and people bought into it. The American citizens elected Hillary Clinton, but the system elected Donald. And now we’re stuck with him for the next four years, unless an impeachment occurs and succeeds.
I am a woman. I am a minority. I support LGBTQ+ rights, am pro-choice, and am everything Donald hates in a person. This is a punch in the gut to know that we’re going from such a classy President to one who is simply an ass.
Half of the country voted this circus peanut into office, but I hope that they realize their mistake and take President Obama’s advice. We have a voice. We have the power to change things. We don’t have to sit back and try to survive the next four years; we can speak out and take action and do our best to keep this train from derailing. We have to. America won’t survive if we don’t. I’m absolutely terrified, but I have half the country on my side, and together, we can and we will bring about change. In all sincerity, thanks Obama. Your shoes are impossible to fill and you will be missed more than you know.
I am going to have to try my best to be vague in order to protect the privacy of certain individuals, so bear with me. I am a government contractor, which often leaves me waiting until the last minute to find out if my contract has been extended and I still have a job. I’m not faulting my contracting company, as this is just the way it’s done. To their credit, I have never been out of work due to last minute renewals not going through as planned. Not everyone in my building is as lucky though; contracts end all the time and some without much warning. Last week, one was forced to put their employees on furlough “until further notice” because the funding was not approved and they have no way to pay their employees until it is.
Naturally, the affected employees were upset, and they had every right to be. One took to Facebook almost immediately to voice her disappointment. Her comment got feedback as you would expect, but one person (I’ll name him Bob) went slightly overboard. Bob was also affected by the furlough and was apparently more upset than anyone could have imagined. His comments were not only inappropriate, they were threatening towards important people in the United States. Word got back to his supervisor about what was said, because it’s Facebook and you can’t say anything on there without the whole world finding out. I heard rumors that the FBI and the Secret Service were both notified and looking for Bob. I heard for sure that both of his supervisors suggested he be dismissed immediately, as employees that say what he said should not be employees for the government. The whole thing is a mess.
Apparently, Bob went to the hospital shortly after stirring things up with his comments. The general opinion is that he did this in order to explain the comments away as some sort of temporary insanity. That opinion is just that, and he could be genuinely sick for all I know. From the feedback I’ve heard and the remarks from those involved, it’s not looking as though it will matter what frame of mind he was in when he said what he did. Regardless of intent, he made threats. I highly doubt Bob would have gone through with anything, but one look at the front page of any news website or paper will tell you that we’re no longer allowed to go easy on people and give them the benefit of the doubt. Too many psychos in the world are causing irreparable damage for anything to be ignored at this point.
What did surprise me though, which may reveal my naivety, is that Bob is very likely without a job now because of a Facebook post. I recently made a comment on Twitter that sometimes I’d like to throw people out of windows when they get on my nerves. I will go through life without throwing a single living thing out of a window though; it’s normal for us to turn to social media when stressed in order to vent. If my comment was about throwing my boss out of a window, would that be a threat? Would I lose my job? It’s a strange thing to think about, but offhand remarks about harming others are taken much more seriously now that we know that people exist that will be more than happy to follow through with a vengeance. If I posted about throwing my boss out a window, and then I did so, the first thing people would cry out is “why wasn’t anything done to her when she made those threats??!?”
Bob behaved like an idiot and unfortunately he and his family are currently paying the price. People are going to say awful things about he and his wife as they try to navigate through this mess. It’s unfair and could have easily been prevented had he just watched what he said or simply said it in the privacy of his home rather than a public website. Freedom of speech only goes so far. There are things you just can’t say. I can say Obama Sucks until I’m blue in the face, but I can’t say I’m going to track him down and do something awful without suffering some sort of consequence. I might know that I’m not being serious, but how is anyone else to know unless they check me out? I’m curious to know what you think. Where do we draw the line with critiques on our government and officials? What is okay to say and what is crossing the line? How should we decide what is a serious threat and what is just someone blowing off steam?