In graduation speeches, Obama urged people to work together for positive change in our nation.
By Dean Obeidallah on CNN.
"Former President Barack Obama delivered two-online commencement addresses on Saturday that did more than offer words of inspiration for the graduates -- he reminded us of what a US President should sound like.
"In these speeches -- the first to those graduating from high schools and the other to those graduating from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) -- he urged people to be selfless, to work together to help those in need and to reject divisiveness. What a contrast to Donald Trump's almost daily message of pitting Americans against each other, his lack of empathy and his trademark philosophy of "It's all about me."
"Obama is everything Trump will never be: Compassionate, thoughtful, intellectually curious, honest and highly intelligent. Obama's commencement speeches simply reminded of us that very fact."
"For starters, Obama didn't make his addresses about himself or his own grievances; his focus was on those graduating. What a contrast to Trump's 2017 commencement address to the US Coast Guard Academy where he told the graduates, "Look at the way I've been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history -- and I say this with great surety -- has been treated worse or more unfairly." To Trump, every day -- even your graduation day -- is about Trump.
"Beyond that, various statements from Obama's speeches -- while not mentioning Trump by name -- were in my view a plea to reject Trumpism, which I define as a celebration of selfishness, bigotry, cruelty and divisiveness."
"Obama implored the high school graduates "to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others." When is the last time you heard Trump urge Americans to be generous or to "respect" others? Instead we see the opposite from him, as happened again over this weekend when Trump tweeted a video of his self-professed supporters yelling at and even cursing at a reporter who was covering an anti-lock down protest. These protesters were "great people," Trump wrote.
"In both graduation speeches, Obama urged people to work together for positive change in our nation. The former President told the high school grads, "build a community. No one does big things by themselves" while telling the high school students, "you can't do it alone. Meaningful change requires allies in common cause."
Obama was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something that was bigger than us. The very first time I ever heard him speak...i froze. My oldest son who had just graduated from HS asked me, "What's going on dad?" ... I said, "Get in here and listen to this man very closely...he is going to be our next President of the United States!" My son said, "NO WAY" ... I said, "WAY...I will BET any amount of MONEY on it right now". Michael got behind him when he started to really listen...it took maybe a month...he then campaigned his ass off for him. We live in the Heart of the Bible Belt and the Racism and Hatred we witnessed every day just hardened our resolve to see it through. The man is Intelligent, thoughtful, a Constitutional Scholar, empathetic beyond words, giving, mindful, honest, fairminded, and most of all a person with the biggest heart and soul of any POTUS we have elected since Lincoln, FDR and JFK. Once in each lifetime we get it right...once in each lifetime we give ourselves another chance to show the world we have possibilities to advance what is good and what the human spirit "can aspire to"...and for that we are forced to battle the hate that rots our guts as a Nation. Our Moral and Ethical compass spins out of control each and every time someone who is the ideal we search for and everything we worked for is CRUSHED again. Sure Obama had flaws...but he embodied a spirit of everything that was good in people. Then immediately following him comes the worst example of EVERYTHING we DONT WANT...the EMBODIMENT OF EVIL...The gauntlet has been thrown down by every hateful faction this country has inbred. With my dying breath I stand by Obama and everything he represents. Our children deserve nothing less. There are some very dark clouds on the horizon...a storm is coming.