And he’s gone, gone, gone . . . nearly. President Obama spoke one last time to our nation. He gave his last presidential address (steeped in democracy) on Tuesday. He spoke from his heart and from who he fundamentally is—a caring, decent, upstanding, deeply intelligent gentle/man.
Here’s a small snippet from the beginning. President Obama said:
It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.
What a radical idea.
My dear friend sent me her poignant and profound thoughts about the speech. I was so moved that I asked to share it with all of you.
A guest post by Dr. Kathleen Damiani.
It was a strange experience watching Obama tonight give his farewell address. I had the most surreal experience at the end. It felt to me that here was this black man … with his beautiful family …. leaving his presidential position with such class, . . . as though he was carrying our legacy of democracy out the door with him like a torch…. with all the dignity and vivid memory of how precious and fragile this democratic experiment has been for over 200 years. I felt that he was honoring the fragments of our collective identity as Americans — still shattered by Trump’s election — gently handling those fragments as though he were laying flags over the coffins of dead soldiers.
It was unnerving, chilling. Something ended tonight, not just a presidential term, but our identity as Americans.
So here is this black man, leaving the podium, leaving the stadium, leaving the White House . . . … but it is HE who is carrying the symbolic scrolls of democracy: meaning he carries the heart-knowledge of those non-religious principles that connect all human beings; principles that all healthy societies require to thrive: what it means and what it takes to lead a population to greater inclusiveness; social & economic justice for all, not just a few; freedom, compassion, integrity and enlightenment. Those scrolls cannot be transferred to his successor: one whose self-interest over-rides the good of the whole. They can’t be transferred because the “orange monster” has no capacity to recognize or treasure or even perceive these scrolls of the soul of democracy that belong to collective humanity.
Meanwhile Obama’s orange orangutan successor is a mere shell: the clothes have no emperor (Charlie Ebdo). Here’s what I saw. Our collective shadow consists of all the centuries (here in the U.S) of race-ethnic-gender hatred, fear, aggression, prejudice and racism. Trump & his basket of deplorables no longer disguise their shadow but openly display it as a badge of honor. The shadow of white males of privilege, narcissism & cruelty has been thrown out in psychological projection onto, traditionally, black men. This is Jungian psychology 101:
White male projects his shadow (fear, sexual envy etc.) onto black man, then beats him into the ground for all the evil that resides NOT in the black man, but within the unconscious of the ignorant immature white male.
As Obama walked off, he carried no white man’s projections. There was no (psychic) container –in Obama– to attract or receive that national projection of the collective shadow of master-slave, racism, cruelty, fear & hatred. Instead, Obama carried off all the dignity of the last 240 years. This is NOT about Obama’s political failures and successes; it’s about his grasp of the Good of the whole, which a leader aspires to and articulates for the masses. . . .something that lives and breathes at the symbolic level and translates into just laws, accountability, transparency, and a shared intention towards integrity.
The orange monkey now has to carry the collective shadow for the entire country. Why? Trump cannot carry anything else except the shadow! He has never nurtured his soul or heart into maturity or expression. Thus, there is a void: there is no organ of clear perception that seeks, discovers, perceives the Good in order to return the gifts of vision and principles to all people. He is empty. There’s nobody there. All that is left is a dirty orange mirror for the collective shadow.
There, tonight, on TV, we witnessed the grand reversal of our national secret shame: slavery and racism–denied for so many generations. It was the black man and his family who walked away in dignity, light and triumph with the prize of democracy.
And the rest of us? We are left—-finally—-to face our collective shadow, in the daylight, every day, until we wake up.