6 Signs That Former President Obama Will Help Us Fight Trump
It’s only been 10 days since Inauguration Day, and the list of horrifying actions that the new administration has taken feels like it’s growing by the minute. From the “Muslim ban,” an executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for a period of 90 days, to Trump’s inclusion of Steve Bannon, his chief strategist and former leader of the alt-right website Breitbart, on the National Security Council, this new administration is clearly threatening the country as we know it in ways we can barely keep up with.
And all while this is going on, President Barack Obama is on vacation with his family in Palm Springs, California. You can’t blame the guy for wanting to take a break after eight long, often contentious years serving as our Commander-in-Chief. But that hasn’t stopped many voices on the left from crying out for his leadership during this increasingly frightening time. Over the weekend, the New York Daily News published an op-ed titled, “Obama, you need to come home,” in which writer Karen Hinton wrote, “Barack Obama needs to come back from his vacation. Michelle, too. We need a voice for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump.”
It’s unclear when Obama will return from his vacation and whether or not he will be that voice, but he has already given us hope, releasing a statement today in the wake of this weekend’s Muslim ban protests.
"President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country," Kevin Lewis, Obama's spokesman, said. “In his final official speech as president, he spoke about the important role of citizen and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy — not just during an election but every day. Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake."
The statement is just one sign of several that the former POTUS will be helping the left fight the Trump administration’s agenda. Here are five other signs that give us hope.
1. He started tweeting from a personal Twitter account. The afternoon of Inauguration Day, the former president took to his original Twitter handle @BarackObama. His first tweet, which included a cute “dad joke” (“Is this thing on?”), seemed to be reassuring followers that he’ll be using his original account going forward and will be “back to work” soon.
Hi everybody! Back to the original handle. Is this thing still on? Michelle and I are off on a quick vacation, then we’ll get back to work.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 20, 2017
2. He turned our attention to the Obama Foundation. Directing his followers to a YouTube clip featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama, Obama also asked people to weigh in on what they would like to see be the focus of his work on “the road ahead.” (Is helping stand up to and take down Trump an option?)
Although Obama aides haven’t been forthcoming about plans for the organization, they say tentative ideas include sections devoted to continuing advocacy for Obama's Affordable Care Act and climate change efforts, and defending Obama's foreign-policy record, including a rapprochement with Cuba and the Iran nuclear deal, reports Time.com. That certainly sounds like it may require going toe-to-toe with the Trump administration.
3. He will be living in D.C. Unlike former presidents who left the White House and Washington behind in one fell swoop, former President Obama will be living just down the street from his former home, so that Sasha can graduate from high school in 2019. The Obamas will live in the Kalorama neighborhood and will become the first First Family to remain in the capital since Woodrow Wilson was president, reports Time.com. Sure, this is just speculation but his proximity to all the movers and shakers of our nation’s capital could only help his ability to help influence change. At the very least, we may soon see him marching with protesters, like his former Secretary of State John Kerry did on January 21 during the Women’s March.
4. In his farewell speech, he stated that we can look to him for leadership. Speaking in Chicago, Illinois, where he first launched his political career, on January 10, Obama said, “My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain.” Granted, he finished that statement by asking Americans to believe not in his ability to bring about change, but in ours. But by saying he’ll be “right there” with us, one can only hope that means he’ll be fighting alongside us to defend the uniquely American values we hold dear.
5. In his farewell letter, entitled, “Thank you,” he reiterated that sentiment. In an open letter published to Medium.com, the former president explained our responsibility as American citizens to participate in “the daily work of citizenship,” and he noted, “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.” Yes, please!