Barack H. Obama, the epitome of gentleman, dear man and man of honor whom we all know and love as the 44th President of the United States of America, finally stood up and said he had had enough. And he took off the gloves on Wednesday night during the 2020 National Virtual Democratic Convention in a tough prime time in your face speech that proved it.
President Obama stood in the room where our constitution was first drafted and signed in Philadelphia and set the tone right outside the gate. He spoke clearly and with poetic eloquence of our struggle for a more perfect union in a way that was respectful yet raw. It's a side of Obama that we haven't really seen before.
The former president made a very heartfelt and honest argument about why Joe Biden is the right person to be president. Obama talks about what is at stake for "we the people", especially people of color. He knows how difficult it was for us before and now after COVID-19. He reminded us that Joe Biden also knows a thing or two about a difficult path. Biden knows a tragic loss. He knows grief. He knows the fight. Most of all, he knows both the power of faith and the power of resilience.
RELATED: Cardi B Officially Endorses Joe Biden: "I Want a President Who Makes Me Feel Safe"
For eight years and even before that, during the 2008 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump attacked then-candidate Obama because of the origins of his birth and assaulted him. We black people know that “obstetrics” is just “code” for “show your papers, boy”. Something from the dark Jim Crow era and a way to further compromise black men's legal franchise. It's right next to where racist election officials from the South would get blacks to count gummy bears in large jars, pay an election tax, or recite the U.S. Constitution from memory to vote.
Trump made it clear in 2015, the day he came down the escalator at Trump Tower in New York City and announced his candidacy for the presidency, that he would be the anti-Obama candidate. He would take America back and "do it great again," which of course implies that President Obama somehow failed to do so.
As a decent soul, Obama presented his birth certificate. Despite the attacks, the racist tropics and the claws, he never returned fire after fire, which seems to have changed at least a little.
It was about time.
The subjects of his speech were clear. He knows America is not a perfect nation. After all, the Constitution does not recognize the existence of full people, including people of color, women, or people who identify themselves within the LGBTQ + community. We all struggled to be accepted, recognized and considered. He spoke out against Trump's inability as president as a man who uses the office for his own greed and treats the incredible power of democracy that makes this country so unique with utter indifference.
RELATED: OPINION: Michelle Obama Strikes Back Donald Trump With A Powerful Call To Action In DNC Speech
"Donald Trump didn't grow into the job because he couldn't," Obama said. “And the consequences of this failure are grave. 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs are gone. Our worst impulses have been unleashed, our proud reputation around the world has been severely weakened, and our democratic institutions are threatened like never before. "
RELATED: On The Shoulders of the Giants: Black Women Politicians Who Paved the Way for Kamala Harris
It wasn't just about blowing up Trump. It was also about proving to the American people that there is an alternative that could save the day and challenge Americans to rise.
"Tonight I ask you to believe in Joe and Kamala's ability to bring this country out of dark times and to rebuild it better. But here's the thing: not a single American can fix this country alone. Democracy was never meant to be a transaction – You give me your vote, I will do everything better. Therefore, I also ask you to believe in your own ability – to take your own responsibility as a citizen – to ensure that the basic principles of our democracy endure. "
Obama made it clear. He told us that there is more at stake in these elections than tax cuts, medical care, partisan policies, spending cuts or fighting over social issues.
What is at stake is our democracy, woven into the very fiber that holds each of us together to make this union. And it is up to you and me to ensure that we do not lose the founder's vision of creating a more perfect union for a nation where we are all important and where we can live our founding creed: ePluribus Unum: Out of many , one.
Sophia A. Nelson is an award-winning journalist and author of the award-winning book Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama.