It is not easy to have courage. Courage does not come just on some far off battlefield, it comes to those who live their every day lives under tremendous difficulty. For Americans of color, courage is a commodity that is required to just live each day in peace while facing the discrimination that people of color still face. Men and women of color face tremendous obstacles that they have to overcome when they are born in America to be what we consider to be a success. Now consider if you will, what life is like for people of a mixed heritage. Put yourself, if you can, in the shoes of a man given the name of Barrack Hussein Obama. You already have a bad start in being of a mixed heritage because it is still a white man’s world and now you have the increased burden of having a name that sounds foreign. I would like to borrow a minute or two of your time to talk about the tremendous courage of a man, our President Barrack Obama.

Many expected or hoped that the last year or so of the Presidency of Barack Obama would be what they call a lame duck presidency. By using the word lame, one gets the idea that being in your last year your political capital is pretty much used up, and like the duck your ability to do anything has been wounded. But, alas, to his opponents chagrin, the last year or so has been quite consequential, in fact darn right historic.

It is hard to find a courageous politician these days. Politicians like to be re-elected, and thereby their actions or in-actions are most often determined by whether you are going to get any votes by what you do. Well, Barack Obama, has no more elections to run in.  He has done the unusual in the time he has had left in his administration. He has contemplated on what needs to be done and he has gone about trying to solve problems that have been hovering over the United States and unresolved for years and years.

President Obama has re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba. Nothing had been done to improve relations with our neighbor for over 50 years but President Obama stepped into the leadership void and did something no other president had done in all of these years. Bringing improved relations to the Island nation and bringing capitalism will over time do more to change the lives of the Cuban people than 50 years of boycotts had accomplished.

No one thought it possible that a Nuclear agreement could be made with Iran, but contrary to all of the negativity a agreement has been successfully concluded. The world has seen the nuclear clock tick backwards as Iran has already made a key step by giving up nuclear materials. Nuclear proliferation is not what the world wants nor does the world want a war between Iran and it’s neighbors over their nuclear program. The danger of a war has been reduced.

The world has seen a climate agreement be concluded with nearly 200 nations taking part. The first steps towards addressing the dangers of climate change and climate volatility have been agreed to. The United States is the only nation that has a significant political party that is in denial of the very real dangers the world faces. But rather than be paralyzed by in-action the President has joined with the world community to address the issue of our time climate change. If we are to maintain a livable planet one must prepared and organize to address the inevitable. The United States and under the leadership of President Obama and the Secretary of State has shown the courage to do what is right for the safety and security of its people, that is the very definition of Presidential leadership.

While the drums of war beat in the Republican Party, President Obama has done the right thing, he has not sent combat troops into a region that demands action by the people living there. America can not determine their destiny, the people of the Middle East have to do that. The United States has assembled in an undramatic way, a coalition of countries to fight the threat of ISIS. Strength through quiet resolve might not get you the headlines that a war would, but the tact and wisdom of a united front has set in motion a strategy that has doomed the goals of ISIS.

It is alarming to see the opposition of President Obama mock his tears for the victims of mass shootings. His strength and determination to do what he can without the help of Congress to address the epidemic of gun violence is another example of political courage. There are no votes to be gained by his actions, but for those who have suffered and for the potential victims of future violence he has done what he can to keep our citizens safe. His actions have seen the wrath of the gun lobby, but when a nation sees over 33,000 die per year from gun violence, action was required.

There is nothing wrong in showing genuine emotion. I worry more about men who are so macho, that any semblance of restraint or thoughtfulness has disappeared and their only solution is to use violence in reaction to violence. We are a nation of laws. There is nothing wrong with common sense gun safety rules and laws to protect society from violent felons and crazy people being able to buy a gun. You can not have perfection and prevent all violence but if you reduce the level of deaths you have done your job.

Tomorrow night will be the last State of the Union Address given by President Obama. It will be interesting to see and hear what other thoughts he has for action to be taken in his last year in office. This is not a lame duck President. To the consternation of his foes he has courageously sought to right wrongs when he sees them and to bring justice to those who face injustice. He has done what he can to bring a greater sense of security to a world that is insecure and dangerous. There are his enemies who would like to blame President Obama for everything that has gone wrong in history, but sorry, some of the dangers that we face have been in the works for centuries. The problems have been lurking and unresolved for years.  President Barrack Hussein Obama has shown the courage to act when others have not. His Presidency has been a profile in courage.




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