I Hate Obama for Giving Me Hope
Ezinne Ukoha

It’s funny that you talk about the timing of Obama’s coming into our lives. I saw Obama from a different trajectory… he spoke at the 2004 DNC. He was… brilliant. Magnificent. Rhetoric… speech… is my thing. It’s my area of study. Because of that, I am jaded. I have high standards. He left me breathless. He was, and I believe is, one of the greatest orators of our time. And there is a sincerity there, such a beautiful sincerity. 4 years before he sold Hope and Dreams wholesale, I was already buying my share. I stood up and boldly said, that man will be President. My friends were in shock, thought I had lost my mind. They didn’t want to say it out loud… this was a time before Trump, a time when bigotry was hidden behind polite silence. But they thought I was insane for declaring that a Black man would be President. I did NOT, however, think that he would run so soon. I didn’t think he was ready, I didn’t think the world was ready. It was timing. It was Bush being such an extreme fuck up that the DNC could have, quite frankly, fielded anyone and they would have beat out the Republican candidate. Who the players were didn’t matter. It was party driven politics. So the world got to Hope for Change.

And the world did change. Mostly for the better. But you’re right, and I feel it too. There is more sadness for me than anger. I scoffed at those who claimed racism dead upon his election, but I still hoped that the change I had bought came in how the country saw itself as well as in actual policy. Policy we got. The country’s reflection showed just how ugly we are, how much hate survives. The backlash of electing the first Black President was severe and continues today. That isn’t Obama’s fault. That is our fault. And yes, that failing makes me both sad and angry.

I am not yet willing to sell the Hope for Change that I took stock in though. When no one else could imagine a Black President, I listened to Obama speak and said this man will lead this country. Well, I was right. And history will show the amazing job he did. I have another prediction for you. If she’s willing, and we will be blessed if she is, Michelle Obama will someday lead this country as well. Hopefully we’re better people by then.