In what should not have been a surprise to anyone, President Barack Obama was named TIME Person of the Year, joining 12 others who have been named twice for the annual award. Among the reasons for his selection, TIME pointed out that he is the “first Democrat in more than 75 years to get a majority of the popular vote twice. Only five other presidents have done that in all of U.S. history.”
TIME explained that Obama’s ability to capitalize on the changing demographics in America represented a unique ability that few others of yet to master. “When his name is on the ballot, the next America — a younger, more diverse America — turns out at the polls.”
Obama is the quintessential symbol of “yes we can” and regardless of how you view his performance he is the embodiment of “hope and change.” Yes we can overcome adversity and systemic racism, and yes you can hope to change the world.
Now the backlash will begin. We will have to endure another round of polarizing statements and comments from Obama detractors. We will relive the worse moments of the debate that roared through the country for the past year which culminated with Obama’s victory in November.
Those people will ignore the monumental real and symbolic victory of the first African American president once again defying all odds and winning re-election. They will ignore the compelling symbolism of the new America represented by Obama’s coalition of minorities, young people, single women, and the LGBTQ community. They will not acknowledge that the demographic most associated with voter apathy is Obama’s strength and they enthusiastically flocked to the polls in support of him. The voting bloc of America that has been most frequently disenfranchised represent Obama’s base and they are here to stay.
They are going to once again try to tear the president down and divide the country. They will wonder how they lost, why did they lose and it will start a new cycle of wonder and bewilderment. We will have to endure for the moment as they regurgitate the rhetoric of the two Americas, one being the “good” makers and the other being the “devilish” takers. They will dust off their old columns and talking points on the economy, and they will lament over what “could have been” like lovelorn, hopeless romantics in need of one endless love.
None of that will matter. Obama is the TIME Person of the Year because he was elected to be the most powerful man in the world and the leader of the free world for a second time. And there is nothing that they can do about that, except be proud to be an American and support your president. Congratulations to President Obama.