Various TODers have done such a good job remembering 2014’s highlights that I feel no need to add to that. So allow me to pen a tribute.
And the tribute is to all of you.
I’ve had many homes online since the long ago days of the 90s. (And you’d be shocked at some of the places I called “home”. I’ll leave that to your imaginations.)
I thought DailyKos would be my political home in the darkness of the Bush regime. But after Barack Obama’s election, it was soon apparent that rage was all Markos trafficked in. Rage at Mr. Bush for destroying the country. Rage at Pres. Obama for not magically making everything right. And as I’ve written before, rage gets tiring, and rage fixes nothing. Rage is the cheap drug which keeps you sated for a bit. But you have to increase the dosage every time to get the same high, until your mind is addled and clear thought is banished.
I first found BWD, and her site was wonderful. But it was shortlived, as people as lofty as Glenn Greenwald called her a Leni Riefenstahl for daring to defend a just-elected president who had barely gotten his feet in the door. I don’t blame her for saying “fuck it” and sticking to Twitter.
Many of us found our way here by the same path, from DKos and BWD’s blog. It took me a while to start posting. I observed for a while. But you magnificent bastards pulled me in, and suddenly I realized that I had found like minds. It’s thrilling when one finds a group of people who have the same general outlook on life. Not just about politics, but on how to live one’s life, in kindness, consideration, and empathy. It was something I’d been looking for for a long time, never finding it. It was, quite simply, revelatory.
And as I spent more time here, the more I came to consider this an extended family. From Mama Chips to little sister Nerdy to crazy uncle amk to wise uncle Bob, I could share my troubles, my joys, my frustrations. We all could. We knew when someone was sick, or soul-hurt, or ecstatic. Donna’s grandbabies, Chips’ Danny, Carolyn’s husband’s medical issues: we knew them all, sorrowed, commiserated, or grew joyful, shared in the highs and lows. And there just aren’t that many places where one can say that online. Definitely not on a blog ostensibly dedicated to politics.
But that’s the thing; sure this is “The Obama Diary”, but it’s become more than just about this president or his policies. The blog embodies his humanity, his empathy, his genuine concern. We have become a family in large part because a man like Barack Obama attracts a certain type of person. He speaks to the quintessentially human, to the genuinely kind. And because we support him, for the most part we take after him. But if we weren’t already on that path, we wouldn’t be here.
January 1 starts a new year, and new battles. But, for now, sit, quietly, and wonder at the different points which brought us here. This little community, where injustice is condemned, where good is sought. This little community which is only as strong as its weakest member, and cherishes that member. This little family.
I thank you all. I’d be lost without this place. Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2015.
In a community such as the one built and nurtured here, it is understandable that a sharing of memorable moments will overlap. My ‘personal’ top 2014 MMs have already been featured, repeatedly (yet primarily by Arapaho)! I’ve summarized my version to reflect two main facts …
(1) President & Mrs. Obama are committed to our young people, at home and abroad.
a) In their ‘business’ travels The Obamas consistently meet with and listen to the future leaders of the WORLD! In 2014, this happened in Australia, Malaysia, China, Japan; Standing Rock Native youths, etc.
b) My Brother’s Keeper
“That’s what ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is all about – Helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works – when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.” ~ President Barack Obama: February 27, 2014
My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge
In September 2014, President Obama issued a challenge to cities, towns, counties and tribes across the country to become “MBK Communities.” This challenge represents a call to action for all members of our communities, and mayors in particular, as they often sit at the intersection of many of the vital forces and structural components needed to enact sustainable change through policy, programs, and partnerships.
c) They bring young people to WH or to USA for leadership networking & training.
Examples: i) August’s African Nations Summit at White House + the Town Hall with young African leaders
ii) On October 30, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) held its first Young Leaders Dialogue (YLD) Google+ Hangout on Education. This is the first of four YLDs happening in conjunction with the E3! Ambassadors Program, comprised of 34 young leaders across the nation committed to increasing opportunity and improving the quality of life for AAPIs. These E3! Ambassadors aim to “Educate, Engage and Empower” young leaders, by highlighting federal programs and resources for AAPIs around the issues of education, mental health, pathways to public service and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
iii) Nov 20 2014 FL Michelle Obama & Pres Obama have lunch with members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Youth. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(2) PBO, and his Admin, also show a consistent commitment to making the world a better place
For this latter, I will mention only the most recent example that many have already cited.
a) The rapprochement between the United States and Cuba – This one was particularly moving for me because even though we saw Castro unclenching his fist at Mandela’s memorial in 2013 (remember the media furor that caused), I was not expecting the announcement that both countries had started to move closer together so soon.
“At the annual State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, Chuck Kennedy captured this poignant moment between the First Lady and U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg. Cory first met the President in 2009 at a D-Day ceremony in Normandy. Four months later, Cory was badly injured in Afghanistan and in a coma for three months. In early 2010, shortly after Cory came out of his coma, the President happened to be visiting patients at Walter Reed Hospital. As he walked into one of the patient’s rooms, hanging on the wall was a photo I had taken of the President and Cory in Normandy. The President then realized that he had met this badly injured Army Ranger at Normandy. Two years later, we were visiting Arizona, where Cory had gone home to further recuperate. The President asked if Cory would be able to greet him backstage. Amazingly, Cory was able to salute the President and walk across the room aided by a walker to shake hands with the President.” (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
February 4, 2014
“Members of Congress vie for the President’s attention following a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus in the East Room of the White House.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
“The President talks with some of his national security advisors before a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Ukraine. I’m sure there will be people quick to comment about his wearing casual clothes and having his feet on his coffee table. Let’s keep perspective in mind: it was a Saturday, and a President is the President whether he’s wearing a suit on a weekday or casual clothes on a weekend. And a President, any President, isn’t disrespecting the office if he puts his feet on a table or a desk; he’s just being relaxed.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama holds a koala prior to the G20 Welcome to Country Ceremony at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama turns to the press pool after seeing Chuck Todd’s new book on him (Photo by Pete Souza)
Your December Winner:
The First Family at ‘Christmas in Washington’ (Photo by Theo Wargo)
Yup, we are in serious need of TWO (!1!1!) ‘Wildcard’ selections after Pete Souza released those stupendous 2014 photos today. Every single one of them could have been included here, they’re sublime, but we’ll go with these.
(1) Wait, before we start Pete Souza’s 2014 selection, there’s this one from Doug Mills
(2) The President walks to Air Force One at Naypuitaw International Airport in Burma for departure en route to Yangon. (Photo by Pete Souza)
(3) Pete Souza: “A portrait of the President as he listened during a meeting with staff in the Rose Garden. The meeting was originally scheduled in the Oval Office but the President moved it outside because the weather was so pleasant.”
(4) Pete Souza: “Following the outcry over the shooting of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, the President invited young civil rights leaders to a meeting in the Oval Office. Many of them had protested in Ferguson. A 30-minute scheduled meeting last more than an hour. As the meeting broke up, the President continued the conversation for a few minutes and I then managed to frame the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the foreground.”