I don’t think I can take much more.
I mean, yes, Obama has been giving us “I love this man so much” moments for many years now; moments when we felt we were in the presence of a leader who, before the eyes of millions, could perfectly align his head and his heart, his intellect and his lived experience, who crystallized reason, emotion and ethics in a single, perfect speech.
The first moment that really grabbed me was his speech on race during the 2008 presidential race. Others, fast-forwarding, include his tearful speeches against gun violence and his calmly direct rundown of the daily ordeals of African Americans in the wake of the killing of the unarmed Trayvon Martin. (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”)
And he’s been funny, charming, and shockingly contemporary for a president. Remember when he brushed dirt off his shoulder, invoking Jay-Z, during the 2008 race? When he and Michelle fist bumped that same year? When he sang Al Green?
But in recent months — in the final year of his presidency — Obama has been letting his #realme flag fly before the cameras. Hardly a day passes when he doesn’t send the entire left half of the social-media universe into sighing, crying fits of premature Obama-stalgia with his hilarious, moving, deft displays of, well, Barack-ness.
True, he’s charmed us in the past. But it’s still always seemed a bit measured, like he’s doing complicated black America vs. white America vs. other America algorithms in his head, always careful to remind us that he was all things to all people.
Now, when it comes to parsing how America will react, he gives — to quote his gleeful minions on Facebook — #zerofucks.
He’s “just being himself,” or a version of himself that’s exhausted by modulating his persona for so many years.
These days, he’s thoughtful one moment, sharp-tongued the next, then goofy and irreverent right after that.