Criticize Barack Obama all you want, but you cannot deny one thing. It is a truly historic milestone in a nation where slavery was written into our founding constitutional document that a black man has been elected President of the United States.
It is an achievement conservatives do not like to acknowledge because it smells of the identity politics conservatives tend to eschew, but it is a reality we should all acknowledge. Barack Obama’s Presidency is proof of how far we have come as a nation. The fact that so many people could vote for Barack Obama, then vote for Donald Trump, is a testament to Americans willing to chart different courses. Despite what some might say, there are significant numbers of Obama voters who did that. For all its problems, from a conservative point of view, this was a very good thing about Barack Obama’s Presidency.
But, there is one part of the Obama legacy that is not going to get talked about much and it is honestly, setting partisanship aside, what I think is his biggest failure. It is not a political issue, per se. It is not his failure to implement a particular policy or a precursor to some international event.
It is a very small thing, but a very large thing as well.
Over the last forty years there has been a dramatic decline in two parent nuclear households in the black community. Dads are in jail or absent. Moms are working multiple jobs to keep things going. Young men are joining gangs. Young women are becoming mothers without fathers. The rate of abortion in the black community is staggering. Black on black crime is a statistic to behold.
And though President Obama has mentioned this occasionally, I really wish he had made a more concerted effort to talk about it and engage on the issue of the breakdown of the family in black communities.
Now, I know as a white guy I am not supposed to say such things, but that too is part of the problem. The man who could honestly talk about it did not talk about it as much as he should have. Great walls have been built up to avoid talking about it.
Democrats now use the language of “white privilege,” which at its core is a claim that a two parent nuclear household somehow gives people an unfair advantage. More common among Asians and whites, the two parent nuclear family is seen as outmoded. Liberal activists want children to belong to the state, not to parents.
Instead of being willing to admit a failure of the welfare state and pivot to correct it, the issue of family has been politicized and the two parent nuclear household is something the left treats as an unfair advantage and, to a great extent, something you should be ashamed of because of how many others do not have it. It has become a partisan issue where it should be an issue of national interest. It is an issue Barack Obama should have engaged. But he did not.
Statisticians are prone to talk about the jobless numbers or unemployment numbers in the black community. What about the number of new two-parent households or the decline in divorce rate or so many other issues? The best way to get people out of poverty is have people finish high school, get married, stay married, and have kids, in that order. But to say this is somehow now a matter of white privilege or racism or unfair expectations.
Two parents in a stable home is a blessing, not a privilege, and it is a blessing Barack Obama never seemed to care enough about when it comes to the black community as a whole in this country. He was the one man in the world who could have born that cross and he chose not to. He had the family to serve as the example. He is a model father, but his modeling fatherhood never got enough exposure.
That is his chief failure.
And perhaps, just maybe, as only Nixon could go to China, perhaps only Trump could go into the black community with this message. Maybe a man of multiple wives and children throughout, but who clearly has built relationships with his children and has a strong paternal bond, maybe just maybe Donald Trump can take up this cause and this cross and do what Barack Obama should have done.