The BBC just began a documentary series (a real one, not the crap foisted upon us by History or Discovery) entitled “Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners.” Written and presented by historian David Olusoga, it details Britain’s abolition of slavery, and how much it cost the country.
A commission was empaneled to determine compensation. The compensation had a budget of £20 million. In today’s money, according to Measuring Worth, that amounts from almost £2 billion at the low end to almost £80 billion at the high end. (What’s a few billion among friends?)
Of course, here’s the thing: the outlay wasn’t to compensate the 800,000 slaves. It was to compensate the slave owners.
Let me say that President Obama is the epitome of a transformational leader. He has brought this country along (kicking and screaming at times) into a whole new era. As I watched him speak this morning about the Iran deal I sat in awe of how truly great this man really is. His vision, passion and ability to see the big picture has transformed this country from the depths of despair under GW Bush to the height of optimism under his administration. His pathway forward isn’t always obvious especially to the pundit class in this country but because of his clear vision those of us that understand his leadership abilities never lose sight of the direction he’s leading us in.
He gets judged by small things like the process and deemed a failure simply because of some roadblocks along the way. Because he’s a visionary he sees challenges as an opportunity to find a better way forward. They don’t get this about this man and they never will. A frown is indeed a smile turned upside down. He accepts the valleys he has to go through along the way because he always keeps his eyes on the prize knowing that success is just over the next hill.
Nothing our President does will ever get the approval of today’s Republicans because to quote Joe Madison: “In America, we are culturally conditioned to believe, that White is superior, Black is inferior, and the manifestation of that cultural conditioning is that Black people are undervalued, underestimated and marginalized.”
He will always be the black man that took them by surprise and showed them up (not intentionally) with his brilliance, oratory and leadership. He will drop the mic when he leaves office in January 2017 and there is nothing they will be able to do to change the beautiful history that he will leave in his wake.