President Obama was asked by NPR’s Steve Inskeep in an interview conducted just before the beginning of the holiday season to ask a question of his successor in the White House.
Obama fumbled around with the question a bit, finally arriving at the query, “Why do you want to do this?”
That led into Obama, who has always been known for an ability to take the long, historic view on things, to launch into a wider discussion of what exactly it means to earn the mantle of President of the United States:
“I will tell you as president, if you are interested just because you like the title or you like the trappings or you like the power, or the fame, or the celebrity, that side of it wears off pretty quick.
What sustains me, what lasts, what makes me happy, proud, frustrated sometimes, is the recognition that if you want this job, then you really need to love this country and have a very clear vision and idea of what it is what you want to do to help make this country work even better.
I don’t think this country works best on fear. I don’t think this country works best on hate. I don’t think this country works best on cynicism.
If you are aspiring to this job, then you need to ask yourself some very serious questions about why you’re doing it, because that’s what’s going to keep you going on those days that things aren’t going so well.”
Without even mentioning the Republican Party or its candidates, Obama was clearly once again referencing their vision for the country – a closed, hateful state with a lack of compassion – to the ideal he and other progressive figures have continually worked towards. It’s a legacy that is worth continuing as we enter into yet another presidential election.