Photo source: CU Independent/Alison Noon

The only legacy Republicans can destroy is their own

Those who seek to dismantle the achievements of the Obama administration are tarnishing their own legacy, not his.

Barack Hussein Obama will go down in history as the best president of the modern era. The most principled, the most cerebral, the most inspiring, the wittiest, the prettiest. His achievements, hard-won against staggering obstructionism, stand on their own.

Twenty million more Americans covered for health insurance. Corrective criminal justice reforms that make sentencing fairer, decriminalize casual marijuana use, and seek to ease the burden on poor defendants. Marriage equality and nationwide protections for same-sex marriage. Lower taxes on vulnerable families and an unemployment rate slashed in half. Reduced American reliance on foreign oil and expanded options for clean energy, all to the tune of an overall 10 percent growth in the economy over his tenure. Renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba after a 50-year sulk, and a sensible anti-nuclear deal with Iran that frees ordinary Iranians from the yoke of their leaders’ choices.

To be sure, each of these accomplishments comes laden with its share of wattage-dimming caveats. And, of course, there is a whole other list of the administration’s less savory policies, such as the use of drones in military and intelligence operations, an almost incongruous tight-fistedness with public information, and an uneven record of humanitarian intervention that has left much suffering in its wake.

Nevertheless, pound for pound, Obama and his administration can take pride in a tenure driven largely by enlightened progress. Through a combination of their own actions and the dynamics of the global economy, they have presided over an era of game-changing technological and social change, one in which ordinary citizens the world over seized the means placed at their disposal to empower themselves.

Nobody can kill truth. Truth is truth, immutable and indelible, no matter how inconvenient or concealed.

These facts are important to recall not so that we can remain in thrall to one man. They are important because it is essential for us to remain cognizant of what we can do when we as a collective heed our better natures.

The progress achieved under the Obama administration is our own doing because it was We, the People, who twice found it in ourselves to rise above bigotry and cynicism to elect a serious, smart and dynamic executive to lead the charge forward. We rose to the occasion then. It is within our power to keep rising.

In the coming political era, facts are going to be under siege. They are going to be filtered, refracted, and distorted to a degree that would make Orwell blush. But nobody can kill truth. Truth is truth, immutable and indelible, no matter how inconvenient or concealed.

Those who seek to roll back progress by dismantling the achievements of the Obama administration are tarnishing their own legacy, not his. The good that has been achieved has happened. Undoing it doesn’t make it unhappen; it means only that lesser forces have taken it upon themselves to be agents of regression and enemies of progress.

However fearsome the death rattle of white supremacy, the arc of history is bending toward justice and equality — and We, The People, are the ones doing the bending. Like Obama, his administration and his legacy, we must remain powered by the truth of what we can achieve together by the combined forces of our highest ideals and our boldest vision for good in this world.