#168: Barack Obama Speaks of Mirrors


Barack Obama Speaks of Mirrors

What I see.
Damn, I am handsome
and my wife is beautiful
and my children–exceptional.
Hands down,
I am the most handsome
president in the history
of these United States
of America.
I, too, am perhaps
the funniest.
Did you see my spiel
at the White House
Correspondents Dinner?
Damn, I was funny.
Michael Jarmer laughed
so hard he wept.
And that evening when I
took the chair away
from Stephen Colbert:
I absolutely killed it.
So I am handsome and funny.
But could I be the most
progressive, the most liberal
U.S. president of all time?
I very well could be that,
too. And that’s one reason why,
despite positive approval,
I have so many detractors,
ravenous detractors on the
right and far right and wing-nut
right. The other reason is because
I’m black. The irony is not
lost on me. Our nation’s
cloistered, closeted racism
rears its ugly head when
a black man becomes the
president, just as its sexism
will rear its ugly head
when we elect a woman in 2016,
and we will elect a woman in 2016.
Not that racism and sexism
had not already been rearing
their ugly heads–only now
it has become like a game
of whack-a-mole. It’s everywhere
and all at once. But here’s
another thing I might take
credit for, if I may be so bold:
we can disabuse ourselves
finally that we live in a post-racial
society. We can finally talk about race.
And we can finally talk about gender
and sexual orientation.
That’s not all me, but in large
part I take responsibilty.
Look at me. Handsome,
funny, liberal. People have
health care now. That’s me.
We are climbing out of the
largest deficit in American history.
That’s me. Job growth up. Look at me.
I’m ending wars, not starting them.
Sort of. That’s the tricky part,
and, I know, despite his almost
unfaltering admiration of my job
as president of the United States
of America, it’s the one thing
that worries Michael Jarmer
the most. I would ask him,
has there ever been a president
who, by some kind of executive
decision, has not killed people?
Jimmy Carter? Is he the only one?
I have to look myself in the
mirror each and every day
and I have to be able to say
that I have made the best
decision I could make toward
the best outcome with the
least amount of collateral
damage. Bad guys are dead.
Some good guys, unfortunately,
have also died. Let’s be specific:
noncombatants, women, children
are dead. And I did that.
I’ve sent the drones that dropped
the bombs. I see myself.
This is also a part of
what I see.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

2 thoughts on “#168: Barack Obama Speaks of Mirrors

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