President Obama held what will likely be his last press conference this afternoon. After the family returns from their annual holiday trip to Hawaii, the countdown to their last day in the White House will be well underway. As a result, the goodbyes have begun.
* If you haven’t already read the Ta Nehisi Coates cover story for the current edition of the Atlantic titled, “My President Was Black,” I strongly encourage you to do so. As you may know, Coates has often disagreed with President Obama. What is wonderful about this piece is that apparently he and the President had many deep conversations about their differences. It is clear that they both approached them by truly listening to each other out of mutual respect. That could be a lesson for us all.
There are many quote-worthy lines in this article – which covers Obama’s life both before and during his presidency. But this one stands out:
Over the next 12 years, I came to regard Obama as a skilled politician, a deeply moral human being, and one of the greatest presidents in American history. He was phenomenal – the most agile interpreter and navigator of the color line I had ever seen. He had an ability to emote a deep and sincere connection to the hearts of black people, while never doubting the hearts of white people. This was the core of his 2004 keynote, and it marked his historic race speech during the 2008 campaign at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center – and blinded him to the appeal of Trump. (“As a general proposition, it’s hard to run for president by telling people how terrible things are,” Obama once said to me.)
But if the president’s inability to cement his legacy in the form of Hillary Clinton proved the limits of his optimism, it also revealed the exceptional nature of his presidential victories. For eight years Barack Obama walked on ice and never fell. Nothing in that time suggested that straight talk on the facts of racism in American life would have given him surer footing.
* Michelle Obama gave her last interview as First Lady. Here is an interesting clip from the 90 minute special that will air Monday night on ABC.
* President Obama told Trevor Noah how he envisions his role as citizen.
* The world of music and entertainment will almost certainly weigh in. As a matter of fact, it’s already started. For example, today the movie “Barry” became available on Netflix.
* Here’s a collaboration between Jon Tarifa and Spiros Lena:
* Finally, this one comes from Messenger: