Obama Just Saying If You Don't Get Your Sh*t Together And Vote, America Is Over
"If anyone had a right to believe that this democracy did not work, and could not work, it was THOSE Americans." — Barack Obama, angrily
One of the themes of this week's Democratic National Convention — which has just been really good, we bet RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel is wishing the GOP had, like, planned one — has been that Donald Trump is fundamentally incapable of meeting the moment. Any moment. The presidency, the current challenges we face, stairs, ramps. Trump has never met any moments.
Meanwhile, the Democrats' addresses to the convention have met the moment. On Monday night, Michelle Obama pulled the fuckin' fire alarm, in a way we're not used to seeing her do. Last night, her husband former President Barack Obama did the same, in a way he doesn't do. And he was just saying that if you don't get over your shit and vote, America is over. (Which is a bit of an escalation from "DON'T BOO, VOTE," we think.)
He kept saying it. "That's what's at stake right now. Our democracy." Your cynicism about voting? Trump and his Republicans, who are no longer an American party, are counting on it. "That's how a democracy withers, until it's no democracy at all."
Watch Barack Obama's Full Speech At The 2020 DNC | NBC News www.youtube.com
We can't let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Don't let them take away your democracy.
There were times in the speech, which President Obama delivered from Philadelphia, the birthplace of our democracy, when he appeared to get righteously angry, but would then temper his delivery, as he talked about how many people have come before, how they suffered, what THEY did when America treated them like shit. It was almost as if to ask, "And you're not going to vote, because of whatever surely very important snowflake reasons you have? Fuck off." (That is not a quote. It was the look on his face.)
Obama told the story of recently departed Congressman John Lewis and other civil rights heroes coming to the Oval Office, when one of them said he never imagined he'd see a man sitting at that desk who looked like his grandson. That person, on the day Barack Obama was born, was hauled into jail while fighting for justice in the Jim Crow South. Obama was working up to the line at the top of this piece:
What we do echoes through the generations.
Whatever our backgrounds, we're all the children of Americans who fought the good fight. Great grandparents working in firetraps and sweatshops without rights or representation. Farmers losing their dreams to dust. Irish and Italians and Asians and Latinos told to go back where they came from. Jews and Catholics, Muslims and Sikhs, made to feel suspect for the way they worshipped. Black Americans chained and whipped and hanged. Spit on for trying to sit at lunch counters. Beaten for trying to vote.
If anyone had a right to believe that this democracy did not work, and could not work, it was those Americans.
But they didn't. They did the work. And you're not going to, you ungrateful POS?
Obama went hard after Donald Trump. He said "at a minimum, we should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million of us." But Trump doesn't. "We should expect a president to be the custodian of this democracy." But Trump doesn't, instead viewing it as a plaything for keeping his power.
He slammed Trump's stupidity, his irresponsibility, his vanity, his pissing on democracy to enrich and protect himself and his friends. And again, the recurring theme of the week, which is that it's not that Trump doesn't do what he needs to do, but that he can't.
I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care.
But he never did. For close to four years now, he's shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.
Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't. And the consequences of that failure are severe. 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever.
Even when Barack Obama was talking about Joe Biden, he was dunking on Trump's failures. Biden and Kamala Harris will "get this pandemic under control, like Joe did when he helped me manage H1N1 and prevent an Ebola outbreak from reaching our shores." Biden and Harris will "rescue the economy, like Joe helped me do after the Great Recession." (Here we are again! Democrats cleaning up Republicans' fuckups!) "I asked him to manage the Recovery Act, which jumpstarted the longest stretch of job growth in history." (The one Trump inherited, and then squandered, like everything else he's ever been handed on a silver platter.)
And Obama called Trump the fundamentally un-American president he is, saying Biden and Harris will make America "a nation that stands with democracy, not dictators" again, because they actually fucking believe in democracy, just as Trump and the GOP do not.
They believe that in a democracy, the right to vote is sacred, and we should be making it easier for people to cast their ballot, not harder.
They believe that no one — including the president — is above the law, and that no public official — including the president — should use their office to enrich themselves or their supporters.
They understand that in this democracy, the Commander-in-Chief doesn't use the men and women of our military, who are willing to risk everything to protect our nation, as political props to deploy against peaceful protesters on our own soil. They understand that political opponents aren't "un-American" just because they disagree with you; that a free press isn't the "enemy" but the way we hold officials accountable; that our ability to work together to solve big problems like a pandemic depends on a fidelity to facts and science and logic and not just making stuff up.
None of this should be controversial. These shouldn't be Republican principles or Democratic principles. They're American principles. But at this moment, this president and those who enable him, have shown they don't believe in these things.
They don't believe in it. They don't believe in America.
President Obama ended his address by saying that we can save this country, and the work will be long, but emphasized that if we even want one iota of a chance to do that, we have to do it NOW. "Any chance of success depends entirely on the outcome of this election. This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that's what it takes to win."
Like we said, the former president was different last night. He met the moment, like he always does, and like Donald Trump cannot ever do.
Trump ALL-CAPS POOP-TWEETED HIS WAY THROUGH OBAMA'S SPEECH, but that's not worth your time, because fuck Trump, the end.
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