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    Thank You, #44

    By Andrea Shorter–

    Oh, President Obama. Mr. President, you have been on my mind. Yes, you have. As we pause to give thanks for all of the good things and blessings we have in our daily lives, might I just say that I am so thankful for you. Yes, I can? I so am.

    I know your initial post-presidential plan was to lay low and stay out of the limelight, other than providing us that rare photo-op of you court-side at an NBA Finals game sporting stylish not-so-mom-ish jeans, ultra-suave lambskin leather or nylon bomber jackets that have “44” stitch on the left sleeve, or the occasional semi-daring semi-athletic stuff you like to do such as wind surfing in warm Oahu beach waters, just enjoying a well-deserved, semi-retired good, good life at 58 years old.

    I see you over there, and you know you look good. Even in a photoshopped pic of your sporting a George Clooney-esque salt and pepper beard that went viral as #ObamaBeard, fake beard or no beard you look good doing whatever you do wherever and with whomever. President Obama, you so chill, I get chills just thinking about ‘cha. You know I do.

    So, hey, if I might ask, exactly what are you doing these days? I do appreciate that you and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have launched a new initiative ( https://allontheline.org/ ) to end partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts. Thank you for that. I’ve also watched Factory, your first Netflix production with Michelle—fantastic. So good on you both for that, and thank you.

    I’ve also noticed that you unleashed the more woke than you’ll ever be twitter furies when you recently advised, counseled, chastised, whatever you want to call it, against confusing twitter woke-ness by calling out and canceling out folks with actual activism to create real social change. Word? Damn, Obama, you are bold. You are right about all that, but poking at that buzzy twitter-hive? It needed to be said. Thank you.

    What I am most appreciative of about is your semi-reluctant engagement (maybe, meddling to some) in discussions about the Democratic presidential primary to Make America Sane Again. Your word to the wise: steering policy platforms too far to the left makes for certain defeat of a Democratic win for the White House in 2020. Ouch, Obama! You’re killing us here. What do you mean? Are you just taking swipes at top-tier candidates #2 and #3 who are promoting mandatory Medicare for All over improving your landmark Affordable Care aka ObamaCare? Is that it? I don’t think so. You’ve never been that kind of petty, self-serving guy we now have in the White House.

    No, no. See, I think you are warning Dems against flubbing up what could be a close but so totally winnable race against the worst and most dangerous president ever by NOT alienating crucial middle American blocs, every pinkish suburb bordering on purple, and ready to douse and defect from this Trumpster-fire Republicans that can help to fortify what should be the coalition that Obama built—oh, that’s you!—to win two terms as POTUS.

    If that’s what you’re saying, I think we should listen. It’s not the popular thing that some party faithful, or Democratic Socialist party faithful want to hear right now as the seductive press for big revolutionary and structural upheaval abound in contest with a sure thing to win in 2020. This internal big-tent party tension is heating up; that’s for certain. If we only had that one candidate who could actually bring and hold those apparently divergent path-takers together through to victory in 2020. President Obama, any idea, hints, or clues as to whom you think that might be? Hm? Oh, you’re staying mum on that, guiding the process along the way, but letting the process process? Ok, then. That probably remains the better policy.

    To our former leader of whatever is left of the free world, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for not having a moral-deficient, scandal, and indictment riddled, definitely about to be impeached two-term administrations. Instead, your leadership inspired pride.

    No President was or will ever be perfect. After all, thus far you have all only been mere mortal men. You might, however, be as close to the most perfect president I will know in my lifetime. I guess as the first Black president, you’d have to be, right? You couldn’t have gotten away with even a tenth of the mess that this man … ooh, don’t get me started.

    Anyway, thank you, thank you, President Obama. And thank you in advance for the guidance and support that you will provide to the next must be damn near perfect Democrat president, be he gay or be she she—thank you. Don’t be a stranger, and stay in touch, ok? XOXO.

    Andrea Shorter is a Commissioner and the former President of the historic San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is a longtime advocate for criminal and juvenile justice reform, voter rights and marriage equality. A Co-Founder of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, she was a 2009 David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

    Published on November 28, 2019