A million Obamas?
Former US President Barack Obama was not too full of himself when he said that he hoped to create "a million young Barack Obamas or Michelle Obamas" who would pick up the baton of the "relay race that is human progress". Obama has had a remarkable eight-year tenure as President. As the first Black President, he proved by the end of his tenure that both as a man and as President he was one worth emulating. True, not all the problems of his country could be solved but more like-minded leaders could help complete the unfinished task of ensuring the sanctity of the land of dreams. At a conference in Japan on Sunday, the former President spoke about how he hopes the Obama Foundation, formed in January 2014, would help achieve his post-presidential aims. "After I left office, what I realised is that the Obama Foundation could potentially create a platform for young, up-and-coming leaders, both in the United States and all around the world to come together and create a digital platform where they could exchange information," he said. "If I could do that effectively, then I would create many young Barack Obamas or Michelle Obamas," he added. The former President has been on an Asia-Pacific trip that also included stops in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. "The single most important thing I can do is to help develop the next generation," he said. American public opinion had changed significantly over the course of Barack Obama's eight years in the White House, including stances on issues such as the economy, race relations and the level of confidence the public has on different aspects or actors in the government. In his farewell address, Obama had said that widespread disillusionment with the political system could "weaken the ties" that bind the nation. In 2016, Obama said many times before he left office, including in his last State of the Union address, that he regretted that there was little progress in reducing the divisiveness that has come to define American politics since at least the Bush Presidency. It seems Obama understood the problem facing American democracy but was unable to provide an immediate solution. The number of Americans who consider themselves "liberal" or "very liberal" on social issues rose markedly over Obama's eight years. His administration, taking office at one of the worst economic times in US history, focused heavily on measures to strengthen the economic recovery. By most measures, Americans' views of the economic situation improved significantly by the end of his tenure. Under his Presidency, more Americans came to believe that the US is seen favourably by the rest of the world.