Week by week, as he gets closer to the finish line, it’s becoming clearer that Barack Obama is more of the president I hoped he could be back when I was blindly in love with him. This has felt especially true as he’s been taking on violence in many forms, countering a lame duck narrative by battling for peace, from Iran to incarceration to the intimate violence of rape.
The year before I became a professional journalist, I was so hard up for him that I spent the autumn of 2008 living in dinky Doylestown, Pennsylvania and volunteering on his campaign. In wanting to do everything I could to ensure Obama was our first black president, and because of the Electoral College, living among that town’s 8,337 swing residents was more important than being among New York City’s millions of reliably democratic votes.
I was fascinated by Obama’s story as a black and mixed American, of course. But I was also deeply hoping he’d govern for LGBT rights and against foreign military violence, after the ultra violent George W Bush years.