08
Jun
14

A Walk in President Obama’s Shoes

A Walk in President Obama’s Shoes

by @zizii2

(c) Callie Shell

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Something about President Obama in the video that surfaced from a gym in Poland this past week struck a chord with me. It was his groggy ordinariness as he peered mouth agape at the dumbbells possibly trying to mentally convert the metric weight measurements into our familiar imperial system. You could tell that he too like many of us was trying hard to drag his body kicking and screaming to do what his mind told him he MUST do – exercise for body and sanity’s sake. President Obama is no superhuman. The grimace on his face as he performed his routine in the gym told us that. Like us, he’d rather be doing something else. Mortal. Aging body.

The difference? He stuck with and plodded through his mission in the gym. No fanfare. No frills. Just keeping body and bloodstream functioning. Thirty minutes, we’re told he stayed there. Then next, he was suit-clad meeting European leaders. Meanwhile, all hell was breaking loose back stateside with GOP wingnut feral dogs viciously hounding a POW’s family with death threats, and an “all American” hometown into canceling a soldier’s homecoming celebration. A fashionably cynical postmodern schlock might probably find some grizzly irony in the juxtaposition of dumbbells gripped by a President’s sweaty hands in a Polish gym, and celebration buntings for a soldier’s return hurriedly torn down in an Idaho town scurrying into hiding as it is gripped by fear of the frightwing mob.

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This is our globalized world now of instantaneous communication, of a cacophony of events, vignettes and frozen images, of picture-snapping presidential oglers, and armed lynchmobs prowling for blood who’ve been set loose by hate-jocks saturating our airwaves — all jostling for our attention. All at once.
How does one stay true to a moral compass in the midst of this din, and extremes? How does one exercise strategic restraint in the face of blatant rightwing provocation? Difficult of all, how does one do all that AS LEADER of a diverse nation whose only glue is the pledge of CITIZENSHIP and creed – “all men (and women) are created equal”?

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In the run-up to the 2008 election, when so much hyperbole and thrills were running up some media legs (nothing sincere except to milk the rising African American political whiz for ratings gold), Candidate Obama modestly saw himself as a “transitional leader”. What did he mean? Few paid attention at the time, yet the clues lie in his book “Audacity of Hope” in which he described America reaching critical crossroads at which she either soars or fragments. To set this country soaring, Obama believed the toxic gunk that had trapped our nation in a thicket of policy, structural, and ideological dysfunction needed to be cleaned out. His Mama had taught him that when you see a problem you tackle it and not wait for someone else to solve it.

obama duhnam 3Source: The Women’s Eye

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In essence he saw himself as a plumber who takes on the unglamorous yet necessary task of unclogging the drains, septic tanks, draining swamps, and the like. He summed it up in his election night victory speech and even more soberly in his first Inauguration address. At the time many thought both speeches were Debbie downers and not commensurate with the public euphoria attending his election as First African American President. His own eye was NEVER off the ball. These were serious times demanding unvarnished grit and stamina to see the necessary task through to the end.

 

election 2008Source: JSOnline

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How does one cultivate such resolve? Why did the dashing young politician not buy into the frenzy that followed his national debut at the 2004 Democratic National Convention all the way through resounding victory on November 4, 2008? Sure, President Obama had and still has an ego and a surefooted confidence in his capabilities that some commentators insist is “arrogance” or even “hubris.” Absolutely, he’s brilliant and capable. And good looking. No apologies. No. Apologies!!!

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And yet he possesses a rare humility that peels back his high wattage smile to taut core sinews that plod away unrelentingly at unglamorous tasks. I argue that key phases in his life led him to hone these skills: Most importantly, marriage to Michelle Robinson has grounded him away from the fluff of politics and similarly sustained him through the orgy of hate he faces from detractors while in high office.

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But before this phase, he first learned as a child that try as hard as he wished, an absent father was never coming back. Secondly, he had to teach himself how to face head-on the tumult of ALWAYS being the different kid in any setting. No saviors. Janny Scott’s biography of Stanley Ann Duhnam tells the story of  President Obama’s Mom insisting that her son needed to fend for himself in the face of Indonesian kids bullying him, rather than save him. He learned not to be needy. Also steeled himself against the need for external validation, certainly not from admirers when the media hype overwhelmed the airwaves. And likewise when media storms rage, he possesses an internal shield against detractors too.

obama duhnam 4Source: Daily Beast

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The endless days spent sitting on the bench at his high school basketball games with the coach rarely calling on him to play, drove him nuts, as he recalled in _Dreams from My Father_. But it was a valuable lesson for his lofty perception of his own balling skills to be rudely clipped to size. Sit. Wait. This capacity has eluded many other world leaders, who have cracked when the adulation stopped.

(c) Callie Shell

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While Occidental College opened his eyes to causes greater than himself, and became the stage for his very first try at public speaking, it was his years in Columbia University pushing his body and mind to harsh limits that taught him ascetic fortitude. This is where he conquered youthful hubris, something Malcolm X also went through. Very important for SELF-CONTROL, sublimating baser instincts. This I believe is when he made the critical psychological switch from “Being” to “Doing”. Why? To Be is fraught with so much narcissistic baggage, impossible to attain let alone concretely measure. It is ultimately passive. A consumption of self. To Do, means to get outside of one’s own self. To Do is to apply one’s body, skills, however tentatively or competently to a task. It is active. President Obama reminded us of this point during the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act when he quoted LBJ’s saying “What the Hell is the presidency for if not to do something with it?”

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However, Doing something requires Empathy to give it a healthy direction, otherwise Doing can be destructive action. Sadly, many politicians never evolve out of their desire To Be. Thus, they never cultivate genuine empathy. Barack Obama was vilified when he said his Supreme Court pick would need to have Empathy because the capacity to envision the real life implications of the Court’s deliberations on actual people trumped abstract conceptions of laws. He also defined active empathy as the act of  Expanding one’s Moral Imagination, as well illustrated in this interview with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith when President Obama went to collect his Nobel Peace Prize in Dec 2010

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His self-conduct on the campaign trail be it doing the work of the home care giver cleaning, feeding and administering medication to an elderly disabled man, or honoring wait staff wherever he goes as President, has often been dismissed as photo-ops. Yet, he always follows up no matter how long it takes to ACT on the crux of the problems that those myriad ordinary people he meets, face. During the 2008 campaign, he, like other Democratic primary candidates took part in what was billed as “Walk a Day in the Shoes of…”, yet for him it was not just a feel-good photo-op. Last year the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was expanded to offer protections to home care workers.  Similarly he doggedly got the Pigford farmers settlement enacted, as he did the Native Americans settlement. And of course the big one, that cost enormous political capital and the deepening hatred of political opponents —  The Affordable care Act that now offers healthcare security to many millions of uninsured Americans.

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 That belief in Empathy was not a convenient political cloak he donned on the way to high office. No, it was forged in the streets he trod as a kid, as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, state and national legislator, all the way to the White house. Empathy was the oxygen he needed to practically survive his nomadic childhood and young adulthood, where he was always the stranger. It became second nature for him to connect to different peoples by seeking the common bonds first, because that was the most practical thing that he could DO, other than shrivel in a corner of loneliness or misery.

Obama like DunhamSource: Slate

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Sure these traits and beliefs are not unique to President Obama, which is precisely the point he has always tried to make. That his is not a rare story. The difference is we get to see him live out his principles and resoluteness in the full glare of media klieg lights and adversarial politics. We also see him make mistakes and pivot to correct them, with virulent mobs nipping at his heels, a poisoned media, relentlessly sullying his actions, while party support is tepid.
Yet at the end of both real and manufactured crises, he confounds his detractors time and time again. It is not magic. It is not luck. It is not a hoax. Rather, Barack Obama, with his faith in human decency and possibilities guiding him, learned to keep walking and working, whether the storm passes or not. Because that is what most unsung people in this global mosh-pit do. Survival. The alternative is untenable. That’s nihilism.

obama duhnam 2Source: New York Times

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123 Responses to “A Walk in President Obama’s Shoes”


  1. June 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Howdy! :) Thanks Zizi!

  2. 6 57andfemale
    June 8, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Wda been first, but for stupid login. Congrats, Carol!

    • 7 Cindy
      June 8, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      HAPPY BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY 57andfemale!

      Sending JOY to Mr. 57, Miss Pearl, Kasper and Mr. Nickelby.

      Wishing the family an AWESOME DAY!

  3. 8 lockewasright
    June 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Now I feel like a wuss for telling myself that I’m too tired from a busy day too exercise. Thanks Obama!

    • 9 Cindy
      June 8, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      Happy Sunday lockewasright!

      Please leave us with some more good sounds tonight : )

      I must confess, I am hooked, and I jammed a little bit more last night after listening to those guys blow.

  4. June 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Zizi, this is simply beautiful, thank you so, so much.

    It’s PBO’s empathy I love more than anything, and you got to the very root of it:

    “Empathy was the oxygen he needed to practically survive his nomadic childhood and young adulthood, where he was always the stranger. It became second nature for him to connect to different peoples by seeking the common bonds first, because that was the most practical thing that he could DO, other than shrivel in a corner of loneliness or misery.”

    That’s it, that IS it.

    • June 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Yesssss…I so agree with you Ms Chips…..A beautiful and passionate piece that gives us more insight into our President…

      and I think that his soul found much solace with Michelle Obama…it is apparent when they are in the same room together….that kinetic energy that connects them…

    • June 8, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      It seems amazing that his trials and tribulations of growing up shaped his most welcoming and unique personality he has as an adult. I feel blessed to be alive during his time as our President. More so I feel lucky that I recognize what a blessing he is to us instead of being influenced by the media or naysayers that are not open or fear changing things.

    • 14 Betsy
      June 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      I agree with you Ms. Chips, I love his empathy the most. Thank you Zizi.

      • 15 joyfulmeme
        June 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

        Empathy is his greatest quality. The RW targets that quality the most with translation to weakness. Zizi captured him beautifully. Thanks you.

  5. 16 MightyPamela
    June 8, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Zizii, brilliant, complex, long- view, and, Brilliant!! Thank you.

  6. 18 Nena20409
    June 8, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Zizi2, you did it. My second cry today. Well Done, Madam.

    Congrats CarolMaeWY on your Gold!

  7. June 8, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    ZIZI2, what a great article!!! You put into words what we are seeing everyday. This is is ordinary and extraodinary at the same time. He so outshines others that they can’t get past their envy and egos. His legacy will be for the ages. Thank you for writing this for us.

  8. June 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Sheer poetry, zizi. Love the way your mind works. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts with us here.

    These are some of the things that make PBO a unique man and surely a most distinctive president. He has a brilliant mind and sense of the moment but is also in so many ways of the common man. He is multi-cultural and multi-dimensional. The presidency is changed forever because of it.

    • June 8, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      I also dearly love that photo of him preparing himself, stilling his thoughts and grounding his heart in the moment, before his first inauguration. With all the hubbub and nerves, constant glare and momentum of a very, very long race, he is ready. A stunning figure, both physically and spiritually.

      • 22 jacquelineoboomer
        June 8, 2014 at 6:18 pm

        Of all the events I’ve “attended from afar,” that first Inauguration was stupendously stupendous, start to finish. I remember seeing that image of the soon-to-be President’s stilling his thoughts, real time. Perfect example of what he turned out to be, too: calm and confident, taking time to triple check with his own heart before he went forward in pursuit of the moment.

  9. 24 jackiegrumbacher
    June 8, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Zizi, you always amaze (in the true sense of that word) and always open our eyes to new ways of seeing. Those of us who love our president have always felt his uniqueness, while at the same time recognizing in him some of ourselves. We’ve expressed that by saying, “he seems a member of the family” or “he seems familiar, like someone we know.” Of course we say that because that’s us, or at least our best selves, reflected in him. When the president’s mother chose not to protect him from the hate around him, she made an incredibly difficult decision that probably cost her more pain than it did him. Most of us don’t have that fortitude and we feel rage and weep when he’s treated unfairly. But both of our responses are born of love. This president–this wonderful Barack Obama–inspires love as no other leader I have known it my lifetime. All the complex forces of his childhood made him that unique and lovable person and we can only be grateful for them and sad that so many people close their eyes to him. We’re the richer for letting him into our hearts and they are infinitely poorer for closing him out.

  10. 27 andogriff
    June 8, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for the excellent read, zizi! Congrats on first again, CarolMaeWY!

  11. 28 Paulita
    June 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Wonderful piece. I absolutely love your focus on his empathy. One of his best qualities and one most needed for governing in the best interests of the people. It is an essential characteristic of greatness and leadership, and one that is the most lacking in the many would be contenders, (pretenders), to throne.

  12. 29 Vicki
    June 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Gorgeous sumptuous feast of an essay on President Obama. You nailed it. Thank you, zizi.

  13. 30 hopefruit2
    June 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks zizi for this excellent piece! You nail PBO and his motivations with unparalleled accuracy – some of the MSM who try to psychoanalyze him ought to first read a few of your essays before making fools of themselves.

  14. 31 Vicki
    June 8, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    On the previous thread VC confirmed the news I posted earlier. Things Are happening in Geneva.
    First low level and now higher-up will be participating in US/Iran talks re nuclear issues.

    Cue the “We don’t want peace now or ever” crowd.
    Israel and our RW + AIPAC will be melting down in public pretty soon.

    This, in addition to what will soon be a steady outflow from Gitmo. Hard times for haters coming very soon, Let’s hope.

  15. 33 jacquelineoboomer
    June 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    zizi2 – Magnifique! Thank you.

  16. 34 sjterrid
    June 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks, Zizi for sharing this brilliant article.

  17. 35 Ceb
    June 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Zizi, this is a beautiful, thoughtful, and illuminating analysis. Thanks for sharing.

  18. 36 sherijr
    June 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Wow Zizi.. this is just so very, very good, thank you.

  19. 38 idon
    June 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    This is my favorite picture of President Obama, the community politician. He is not pretentious, doesn’t care about the trippings. All he cares about are the people and what he can get done for the people. It was this picture that made me question my values. About 6 years ago I was concerned about obtaining and consuming things. Now I just want to be a good neighbor, help others and marvel at God’s amazing handiwork. I love love my President.

    • 39 anniebella
      June 8, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      I was trying to figure out my favorite picture of FLOTUS. I’m not sure, there is so many.

  20. June 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Brilliant analysis! Well done. This is the subtlety which confounds his detractors

  21. 43 jacquelineoboomer
    June 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm

  22. 44 dotster3
    June 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    So much excellence here, zizi, as to the essence of PBO. In addition to the empathy that chips noted, I also have always seen him as “self-sufficient” as you described—–always clear-eyed, eyes on the prize, learned along the way to “keep walking and working” toward the good, never distracted by the staged storms swirling around. He is a unique, very special person.

  23. 45 jacquelineoboomer
    June 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Oh, good, it’s been decided. Dems “won’t be hurt.”

  24. 59 jacquelineoboomer
    June 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

  25. 62 Cindy
    June 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    HAPPY BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY zizi2!

    Thank you for this in-depth “masterpiece” of this GREAT man; President Barack H. Obama.

    I am so grateful that Barack Obama Sr. and Miss Ann Dunham found their way to each other, and produced a beautiful leader by the name of, Barack Hussein Obama.

    Thank you for high lighting the qualities of President Obama that others refuse to see and accept. I have no doubt that we haven’t seen the best of his works; something greater has yet to blossom and manifest.

    Our eyes have not seen it and our ears have not heard what the Lord is calling for his servant to do.

    Our Pastor likes to say; if you want to know if God has a calling on your life, if you want to know if you have received His fresh anointing, and if you want to know if He has called you to do GREAT works, just look at the hell that is being raised against you and around you, if there is no peace, you have been called, anointed and appointed.

    If all you have is peace then you haven’t been called.

    Surely, this great man has been called to do our Father’s will.

  26. June 8, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    What a treat, zizi!!!! Thank you!!!!

    • 66 desertflower
      June 8, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      LOL…this one’s a keeper!

      • 67 0388jojothecat
        June 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

        I was listening to Thom Hartmann last week and he thinks that this is the very reason some men need to walk around with big guns because they are no longer the main bread winner, their wives may be the only one working, and this sluggish economy thanks to the people that they continue to vote for, prevents them from being the “man” providing for the family. I think he his right. The nut case in Santa Barbara who could not get a girl because he is a sicko gets a gun to have power over women and men who he feels inadequate to compete with.

  27. June 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Really special ….

  28. 69 kasai
    June 8, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Good Day Tods:-)

    Happy Birthday Gabby…You truly are an inspiration…
    Thank you Zizi…what a wonderful piece..
    President Obama will go down in history as one of the Best ever! (if not the best)

    And this is why>>>

    In spite of Hate from the American Media and foreign trips blackouts (Thankful for Chips) love ya!
    Let there be no mistake… the World Loves President Obama…Period

    Many thanks to all..(hugs) (((Danny)) too

    • 70 Vicki
      June 8, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      100% truth telling here, Kasai.

    • 72 Cindy
      June 8, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Kasai,
      Happy Sunday to you!

      Please send this to morning jokester (morning joe). He made a claim on Friday that when he visits the other countries, the people always come up to him and say; we love your country but we can’t stand your President. So the jokester believes that President Barack H. Obama is hated around the world.

      A dumb a _ _ he is.

      • 73 kasai
        June 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm

        Hi Cindy thank you:-)
        Happy Sunday to you as well….

        I should send him a clip from CNN on DDay70..where one of the reporter was saying ” Pres.Obama is very popular around the world” I believe that slipped..LOL! Biggest reason why they always block his foreign trips..they don’t want Americans to see the love for PBO>

      • 74 anniebella
        June 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

        Do anyone believe Morning Joke? Our President, and for that our First Lady are like rock stars when they go overseas.

        • 75 Lovepolitics2008
          June 8, 2014 at 9:39 pm

          Joe may have encountered a person or two who doesn’t like President Obama. And he has made a stupid generalization. Or… I suspect that when Joe goes overseas, he only mingles with the white privileged elite, not the ordinary people, who LOVE and RESPECT President Obama.

          Can you just picture some ordinary foreign people who will come up to Joe Scarborough and say “I can’t stand your president” ?

          Yeah. Right.

    • 76 pkayden
      June 8, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Of course. Go Obama with your gorgeous self!

  29. 78 kasai
    June 8, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Andrea Mitchell should be fired for instigating hate towards a POW….and family and wonder why they’re receiving death threats…Despicable!

    • 79 Vicki
      June 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Andrea Mitchell is The Evil at the center of MSNBC. Her job is safe.

      • 80 kasai
        June 8, 2014 at 7:16 pm

        SMDH!!! Her personal dislike for PBO clouds her journo responsibility… she doesn’t even pretend to hide it anymore.

        • 81 dotster3
          June 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm

          I couldn’t believe right after the D Day festivities, where PBO received so much applause and admiration, there was Mitchell and Todd waiting to trash him, going right into their outrage about the Bergdahl deal. Todd smirks and sneers any time he has to report on PBO, which is constant, but Mitchell always is cynical and sarcastic and accusatory about everything he does, questions to guests are always framed with a negative, nasty slant. She has hated him from the get-go——his first few months there was not a day when she didn’t express her disbelief and disdain that he hadn’t gone to Israel as a first priority. (he was a tad busy with a collapsing economy and a million other dire situations left at his doorstep—-but Andrea didn’t care)

          • 82 kasai
            June 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

            Yep! she hated him from the get go…I have never heard her speak positively about PBO. Wish she just retire.

            • 83 pkayden
              June 8, 2014 at 8:13 pm

              And despite her hate, he easily won reelection. I’m becoming immune to all the MSM hatred of my President. I love him so much that I let their hatred slide off me, except to laugh at their ridiculousness. How is safely bringing home a soldier who had been held as a prisoner for 5 years a bad thing? This is the silliest “scandal” yet.

              • 84 kasai
                June 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm

                Her twit was uncalled and irresponsible, since she didn’t have any evidence of what happened to the POW.

          • 85 Lovepolitics2008
            June 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm

            The Washington elite was mad at him either because he won against the republican machine or because he won against the Clinton machine (dependent on their personal preference).

            Barack Obama NEVER WAS the candidate of the rich, privileged Establishment. And he NEVER WAS the candidate of the Washington elite or , as we may call it, the Permagovernment. Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Giuliani maybe, Romney,… were the only acceptable candidates for them. They had to watch IN HORROR this young, charismatic senator ascend to the presidency by the SHEER FORCE of his CHARACTER and his POLITICAL SKILLS. He was INDEPENDENT, hadn’t pay ANY DUES to them, DIDN’T BOW to them, and made no secret that he thought the presidency was at the service of THE PEOPLE, not the elite.

            At first, they thought that at least they would be able to control him. And they thought the presidency would change him, that he would understand who the real masters were. That he would, like so many before him, just do “little things” , afraid of losing political capital, afraid of offending wealthy donors, afraid of changing the status quo, afraid of confronting the neocons, and on and on…

            In the last five years, they have seen him push for health care reform and the end of the abuses of Insurance companies. They have seen a President who did his best to stop the worst practices of the bankers. A President who pushed for higher taxes for the 1%. A president who dared asked difficult questions to the national security establishment and the military leadership. A President who worked hard to end two wars and to avoid other ones. A president who has demonstrated, time and time again, that he wants to be IN CONTROL and that he is not their yes man.

            Is it any wonder why they hate his guts ? He’s not ONE OF THEM. He NEVER WAS.

            They CAN’T WAIT for the Clintons to get back into the Oval. So things will be able to go back to normal again.

    • 86 Jovie
      June 8, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      What is she getting at? That it’s the presidents fault? I don’t get it?

    • 88 99ts
      June 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      The word bitch – which is a huge insult that I have rarely, if ever before, used to describe a woman – sure fits the situation here.

      Also the wolf in lamb’s clothing, the back stabber and the liar.

  30. 89 Jovie
    June 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm

  31. 90 Jovie
    June 8, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Also, I have said this before, I think we have more pressing issues to worry about what Hillary says, when Hillary says it and to whom ?
    It’s almost an obsession… Why, I can’t go thru one post without hearing about Hillary Clinton.
    Lol

    • 91 jacquelineoboomer
      June 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I don’t want to hear much about her either, but I do want to keep my eye on her. Her actions could be damaging to Democrats, IMO.

    • 92 nospin
      June 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Jovie – I hear you. Every time I see that name I cringe.
      #nomoreclintons

    • June 8, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      She’s hawking a book and playing coy and disingenuous about her run, so she’s in the news constantly. Maybe she’s hoping more people will beg her to run. But YES, her presence takes Dem’s eyes off the ball for 2014. If she’s not going to chip in, it would be best if she would just go away and contemplate for a long while.

  32. June 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Beautiful, ziz, thank you so much. I think the constant slight ‘otherness’ that has been a factor all his life has been valuable, but I’m sure it makes his family all the more precious because that is where he completely fits in and is at rest, the still center of his spinning world.

  33. June 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    You hit another home run, zizi.

    Thank you so much. You are so astute and on point.

    This President’s temperment is one of the things that I’ve grown to admire and respect about him since he became President. His consistent focus on the long-term is something that keeps me in awe of him, as he is surrounded by people scared of their own shadows. He is the man for this time, and he will be remember well as one of the best Presidents we’ve ever had.

  34. 96 carolyn
    June 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    zizi, an excellent, perceptive analysis of President Obama. You have, I believe, elucidated the reasons so many people do not know how to deal with him, therefore demean him. He has plumbed depths of himself these others have not even attempted to. The others skate along the surface of their lives, and their ideas, therefore, cannot understand a man who operates in an entirely different way. This frightens them, and the only way they can fight the fear is to act with hate. Sad for them, really. Their lives are empty I believe.

    He has been through what the Old Testament prophet Isaiah calls a “refining fire” and has come through tested and proved. I do believe many of these lesser men know this, know they are lesser men, and therefore lash out.

    Much like FDR went through the refining fire of polio, and came out on the other side stronger and empathetic, so President Obama came through the refining fire of always being “the other” stronger and resilient, and sure WITHIN himself.

    Thank you for articulating what many of us have felt, but could not explain.

  35. 97 jacquelineoboomer
    June 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

  36. 98 hopefruit2
    June 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    https://twitter.com/MartinBashir/status/475784580536868864

    Jovie, here’s something about someone other than Hillary Clinton! :) The Tony Awards are on tonight.

  37. June 8, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I saw this and hope it is true. Such a lovely place and so close to where I live.

    http://wallstcheatsheet.com/politics/where-will-obama-go-after-the-white-house.html/

    • June 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      hmmmm NC….a hotbed of community organizing….aka…The Moral Monday Marchers…

    • 106 dotster3
      June 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      I love Asheville also—-one of my fave places visited—-wonder if that is to be a primary residence since I have heard Michelle say that they planned to stay in D.C. till Sasha finished h.s. at Sidwell.

    • 107 Jovie
      June 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      I went camping there during the DNC convention with my black lab. That place is awesome, the Biltmore is fantastic!

    • 108 0388jojothecat
      June 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      Ever since HGTV featured Asheville, NC as one of their give away homes I loved it. I don’t like that they would be living in the South…too many haters with guns for me. I would like to see them either return to Chicago or Hawaii. I would love that the PBO presidential library be located in his hometown of Hawaii.

  38. 109 hopefruit2
    June 8, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Oh wow..Fantasia, Patti and Gladys on stage!!! :) :)

  39. 110 jacquelineoboomer
    June 8, 2014 at 8:07 pm

  40. June 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you all for your amazing compliments and comments. Sorry I was away (at church) when Queen Chips posted this, so i wasn’t around to engage y’all more actively. Have a pleasant evening and week ahead.

    • 112 HZ
      June 8, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Zizi, You are such a beautiful and brilliant mind to this wonderful TOD family. I have said it before, and I will say it again today, “Thank you, Zizi for your great wisdom and most brilliant mind. ” HZ

    • 114 Dudette
      June 9, 2014 at 12:49 am

      Such a brilliant, insightful piece zizi! Thank you for bringing it to us here today! {{{{{ zizi2 }}}}}

  41. 115 hopefruit2
    June 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Robert is a bit overexcited but I otherwise agree with him there… :) :)

  42. 117 jacquelineoboomer
    June 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Interesting letter from McConnell, back in March, ICYMI.

  43. 122 globalcitizenlinda
    June 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    great thoughts;

    thanks a lot Zizi for put them down on paper

  44. 123 HZ
    June 9, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I find quiet time when my soul is fighting off the floods of discouragement.
    I then try to quiet my space with music, a seat in the library and music room.
    I look up at my one of the precious photos of my mother sitting at my piano when she came out to visit me long before she left me here on this earth.
    Then I smile and try to remember what songs hymns she was playing that particular time. I feel some peace coming over my body when I think of those songs.
    I then look over at a very special photo of my loving brother and see him as he is in his career and remembering how our mother and father worked so hard to make sure that we had the opportunities to grace the halls of some great educational settings. But then I cry a little because I see remember how she worked so hard to make that happen for us.
    I remember seeing her precious feet so swollen after standing in a family’s kitchen, bathroom, sunroom, pool house, washing, and cleaning and then preparing all of their meals and all of their holiday dinners and parties. And feel the salty tears slowly running down my cheeks as I say, “Thank you God for this beautiful and precious lady, our mother who did all of this for us.
    Then I look around and see the many blessings that I have received because she wore those uniforms to conform to the rules of that family’s rules while she knew one day she would not have to do it any longer; but she would not take a penny more or less for that journey to make sure she paved the road so her baby son and daughters could walk down many less rugged roads in the future.
    Then I feel my space getting peaceful and more lovely because of the fountain of memories of this phenominal woman who gave so much to her children so that they may dream big dreams; work hard in school; read a lot and learn about how other mothers were trying to do the same for their precious children.
    Then my quiet space becomes sweeter and sweeter because of where I chose to sit, be quiet, listen to the whispers of God reminding me of how some of those days were born so that I could sit and give thanks as I journey at the tender age of almost seventy with pride, joy, and thanksgiving.
    My tears are streaming with such speed that I do not want them to stop because they remind me of what a precious, beautiful, peaceful, hardworking, and loving mother and father I had in my life.
    So these distractions moving around our great President and First Lady remind me daily of how President Obama must have his quiet time and allow the tears to flow while he remembers how hard his precious mother worked to raise, and exposed all of her goodness to Maya and PBO.
    What loving and Phenomenal Mothers we all had and maybe some still do in our space; well
    give them a hug, if they are still with you;
    give them a call;
    give them a hand written note on some lovely stationery
    give them a lovely walk downtown and have a nice quiet lunch;
    give them a lovely journey with some of the most lovely and fun notes about how they spent time with you;
    And most of all, just give them a moment where you tell them how much you appreciate their worn out shoes to walk places where others did not dare walk for you. Just take the time, if it is possible to reach out and do one of these or one of your own choosing.
    I wish I had all of the thoughts my precious mother, especially, thought as she walked to that job for all those years just to take care of her dear children. ‘Our Phenomenal Mothers.’

    I went on line and found a lovely place where one can personally create a lovely garden flag with your personal touch on it in remembrance of your mother. I did one for our mother. Her favorite colors, and it will be placed in the lovely and special rose that I found and purchased today. I am so elated to have it arrive before my brother makes his next trip out here; if he can get away from his very, very important position, it will be a lovely moment for both of us. What a time we will have to share.
    I know PBO does these types of loving acts of love with his sister since their mother is no longer with him. What moments those have to be for them.
    Let us keep each other in our beautiful places of goodness as we go into another week. We were blessed with a wonderful week with our President, First Lady, and VPOTUS and SLOTUS. Thank you Chips and TOD Family.
    Good night my Chips, and all of our brilliant TOD writers. This place is such a sweet and respectful haven of knowledge, and great support for PBO. {{{{{{{{{{{{ Love you, Chips}}}}}}}}}}}}HZ


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