LEGACY FOLLIES

Legacy: 1 : a gift by will especially of money or other personal property : bequest. 2 : something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past <the legacy of the ancient philosophers>

Sure I’m interested in people besides family and friends  remembering me. But  shouldn’t one’s legacy be earned through actions and not by hiring PR experts and self promotion.

Case in point: President Obama, who is usually a savvy guy, is leading the way in the promotion of  his own legacy. Why? Of course he will be remembered for some of his contributions as president. Many presidents are; its part of the role. But the adage about actions speaking louder than words also applies. Talking about ones legacy, protecting ones legacy, advancing ones legacy, getting out without spoiling ones legacy,  all speaks more to defensiveness rather than accomplishment. The man protests too much. Our president has a psychological problem, an obsession with legacy, and much of the world are its victims.

Was a black man’s getting elected president Obama’s  legacy? Is what he represents as a black Harvard law School  intellectual with an elegant style his legacy?  Or the a priori Nobel Peace Prize he won? Yes, he will be remembered for these events but they are  a subtext to his legacy.

Legacy is action realized and transmitted to the future.  Mr. Trump is Obama’s legacy as is the loss of the House and Senate and even the Supreme Court to a party and individuals that do not share his values . Such are the fruits of what Americans and the world received from his regime and that legacy is just beginning to ripen.His legacy is  also his passive response to the horror of Syria, ignoring his own re line, , the loss of life and home, the chaos of the forced migrations, the dangerous political realignments that are its consequence.. Obama’s good work on health and the environment, almost certainly short lived,  do not begin to balance so much of what has happened and not happened under his sway. Perhaps reflecting on the take away under his own leadership, the ominous take away,  is why he is so stuck on defining and redefining and protecting his  ‘legacy. ‘ Its all there in front of him every day; Medusa in the shaving mirror.

He can craft  a campaign for his legacy but I”m afraid many of his countrymen and much of the world are now scapegoats to his  obsession . Fundamentally we have had a president who  is risk averse, afraid to take on difficult political challenges that he might loose, afraid to make mistakes which from the beginning  might be costly and reflect on his legacy. What has happened is understandably given the forces Obama has had to contend with but isn’t contending what leadership is about?

Speak Your Mind

*

*