David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, had extraordinary access to Barack Obama both before and after this election. Regardless of your feelings on Trump’s election, this is a sharp and insightful take on Obama’s perspective:
Even in the midst of what he can only see as a disastrous turn of
history, Obama retained the uncanny capacity to view his
quandaries as if he were drafting a research paper. “A President
who looked like me was inevitable at some point in American
history,” he said. “It might have been somebody named Gonzales
instead of Obama, but it was coming. And I probably showed up 20
years sooner than the demographics would have anticipated. And, in
that sense, it was a little bit more surprising. The country had
to do more adjusting and processing of it. It undoubtedly created
more anxiety than it will twenty years from now, provoked more
reactions in some portion of the population than it will 20 years
from now. And that’s understandable.”
How did he speak with his two daughters about the election
results, about the post-election reports of racial incidents?
“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told
me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated.… This is
not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living
organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a
decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight
for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding.
And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going
to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may
be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop… .
You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start
worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places
where I can push to keep it moving forward.”
If you read only one thing this Sunday night, this should be it.