The Auto Sector, which employs thousands – was facing a dire financial situation. The Finance and Banking sectors were dealing with the consequences of sub-prime lending. In addition to the economic recession, the United States was involved in two wars that cost thousands of lives and and billions of dollars. Welcome to the Whitehouse, Barack Obama.
While no leader is perfect, it is hard to deny that America and the world economy has improved from the Great Recession of 2008. The American economy has produced over 75 consecutive months of job growth. Obama led many reforms on Wall Street, small business financing, and investments in new industries while increasing America’s energy independence.
20 million Americans now have access to health care due to the Affordable Health Care Act (known as ObamaCare). This has helped stabilized Medicare funding for years to come.
However, if you listen to much of the debate across North America (including Canada) – you’d think nothing has changed since 2008. The key question normally asked after any political leader serves out their term is: “Are we better now than we were 8 years ago?”By all measures, America is better. Not perfect, yet it is better. But Mr. Obama’s legacy is already being attacked by many as if they forgot about 2008.
Let’s go back to 2008. If Mr. Obama was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company that was losing market share, with revenues decreasing rapidly, no innovation agency and profitability shrinking – he would be under constant pressure from shareholders. Now fast forward to 2016. If that same company under his watch improved market share, increased sales, invested in R&D/innovation, and increased profitability by almost 70% - he would be hailed as a brilliant CEO. Mr. Obama would be in line for massive stock options and bonuses. Mr. Obama would be a compared to similar CEOs who turned struggling companies around.
Yet, so many continually attack him. Right wing/conservatives have a list of complaints about Mr. Obama. And many on the left would have liked to see more aggression towards Wall Street and some more drastic shifts in foreign policy.
But the double standard that Mr. Obama has had to deal with is all too familiar to many Black Canadians and Americans. How many times are we put in a near impossible situation, deliver positive results yet are still criticized? How many times have we been punished for taking risks where many of our colleagues are rewarded? How many times are we labelled as rude, arrogant, cocky when we speak of our accomplishments, whereas our colleagues are viewed as confident. And yes, Canadians – we are talking about our experiences in Canada as well.
The difference in how many view President Obama vs. President-Elect Trump – is proof of this double standard. The fact that the President of the United States receives little credit for getting America out of the worse economic crisis since the 1930’s – is a reflection of the double standard many Black Canadians/Americans face in their day to day lives.
Despite this constant double standard, Mr. Obama has continually demonstrated class, elegance and a sense of humour. For that, both he and Mrs. Obama deserve respect and admiration from all of us.