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Barack Obama

Barack Obama Loves America…and Sees America’s Faults

Rudy Giuliani is right that Obama isn’t like his predecessors.

The obvious question is, Why? Why is Obama more circumspect than his presidential peers? Why does his praise come with a note of reservation? The best answer, I think, lies in identity. By choice as much as birth, Obama is a Black American. And black Americans, more than most, have a complicated relationship with our country. It’s our home as much as it’s been our oppressor: a place of freedom and opportunity as much as a source of violence and degradation. We’re an old American tribe, with deep roots in the land and a strong hand in the labor of the nation. But we’re often seen as other—a suspect class that just doesn’t fit.

As a president from Black America, Obama carries this with him, and it comes through in his sometimes less-than-effusive vision of national greatness. He loves this country, but he also tempers his view with a nod toward the uglier parts of our history.

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