The disillusionment from Obama’s failed promises and policies should push America and the world to a great awakening.
Trump’s win of the Electoral College vote is important, not only as a validation of the will of the American people who were rightfully demanding change for their country, but as a vote against the path of war our world was on under Obama, which would have continued to escalate with Hillary towards an inevitable World War III. To evade such a scenario I would have preferred Sanders to Hillary as well, as long as it would have marked a real change from the policies Hillary was about to continue.
Obama’s True Legacy
It is no coincidence that Obama’s last hours in office were accompanied by devastating images of fallen Aleppo. His presidency ended to the disharmonious chord of critical voices proclaiming that his foreign policy has led to this humanitarian crisis, deemed to be the greatest since WWII, and which has been described as the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. The American interventions in the Middle East fueled the Arab Spring and the war in Syria and brought about Europe’s migration crisis, exacerbating the global threat of terrorism with the strengthening of ISIS, contributing to world instability at large. The increasing tensions with Russia would have finally led to a full on war between the two countries, only to allow extremist Islam to triumph. This is Obama’s legacy. His many fine speeches and empty rhetoric are finally challenged, as the results of failed action and heartless inaction are becoming increasingly clear.
When Michelle Obama said that America now knows what it feels like to not have hope, she was right. The Obamas really did bring the world to a purposeless dead end. Eight years after his election, we find America and the world more divided by violence, hate, racial tensions and financial inequality than ever before. The American national debt has doubled and the world brought to terrible confusion and chaos, as radical Islam grows stronger by the day. Obama’s foreign policy is the most outrageous example of a government destroying the world for political and financial gain, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions of homeless people. All this while outwardly speaking loftily of values and of justice. Fortunately, the Obamas are now discovering that what they had created is about to be undone, so that America and the world can be rebuilt. Michelle Obama is correct that her world is without hope, but for America, hope is finally renewed.
A New Beginning
The reason I find this important to write about is that this public disillusionment with Obama is part of the greatest, most important awakening of our times. Obama was not just any president. As the first black president and one of the few sitting presidents to win the Nobel Peace Prize, doing so only 12 days into office, for his many supporters, he represented and still feigns to represent the highest of ideals: equality, a commitment to pluralism, tolerance for multiculturalism and the devotion to the protection of civil liberties; the transcendence of racism, bigotry and all wrongs. But judging by the results of his presidency, this has been a mirage, exemplifying the biggest flaw of our culture’s perception.
Many, if not all politicians lie, but Obama, with his eloquent façade of goodness and humanitarianism, more than anyone else, echoed our culture’s wishful self-image of benevolence. However, though we wish not admit it even to ourselves, beneath the surface, hide the negative powers of egoism; the cold separateness and often subconscious self-interest that wreak havoc upon our lives, from our personal relationships to the world at large.
Waking up from this illusion and facing the horrors that our collective egoism is propagating in our world at the sight of Syrian dead children and mothers in grief, is an important challenge and opportunity we now face, to change course; to finally wash ourselves clean of hypocrisy and self-righteousness and begin to confront the true enemy that is our human egoism.
Our Collective Ego Unveiled
It is written that “Man’s nature – is egoism” (“Netivot Shalom“p. 188), and that “the nature of each and every person is to use all others in the world for their own sake” (Baal Hasulam, from the article “Peace in the World“). Rabbi Menachem Mendel wrote that “Intolerance lies at the core of evil. Not the intolerance that results from any threat or danger. But intolerance of another being who dares to exist. Intolerance without cause. It is so deep within us, because every human being secretly desires the entire universe to himself. Our only way out is to learn compassion without cause. To care for each other simply because that ‘other’ exists.”
Neo Liberalism tried to cover up the truth of human nature, pushing the idea that correct speech can somehow create corrected societies, but reality has shown opposite results. In this respect Trump’s election is part of the cure, for he has been unveiling hypocrisies and chipping at the falsity of liberalism that was keeping America from true healing of its problems. Trump did not bring racial tensions to America as many think; he shined a light on them. In his blunt outspokenness that is so opposite to Obama, he represents the necessary uncovering of all that needs mending; of the plain truth of our mutual intolerance that has been coming from the Left no less, if not more than the Right, and a breaking away from the policies and twisted ways of thought that were before him. But to truly heal the rifts and tensions that have become so widespread, a new awareness of the ruinous, often subconscious, reign of egoism that is our common nature must be consciously cultivated. It is this awareness that will allow our societies to move forward towards greater cohesion and calm.
The Role of Jews
In all of this the Jewish people have a great role to play. It is no coincidence that whenever the world suffers or undergoes change, Jews are always right there at the center of events, whether actively or simply because they are accused of being responsible. For millennia, the Jewish people have carried the role of modeling this overcoming of egoism that humanity is in desperate need of. It was the very principle upon which this nation was originally founded at the foot of Mount Sinai, as they agreed to be “as one man with one heart”.
Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag wrote of the importance of Jewish unity to this day and the consequences of its desertion, that “Social unity, can be the source of all happiness and success…the separation between them is the source of all calamity and negative events” (“Hacherut” ). He further writes of Jews’ responsibility, that “it is upon our shoulders to be a good example for the world, for we are most able than all other nations, not because we are more idealistic, but because we have most suffered from tyranny than the rest. And so we are more prepared to seek the solution that will wipe tyranny from the face of the earth” (“The Writings of the Last Generation“). As Rabbi Kook explains, this solution is found in the “the wisdom of truth, which teaches us how to achieve unity in the world” (“Orot Hakodesh” 393).
As many American Jews flock to Obama even now that his presidency is over, we see them exhibiting their oppositeness from their original goal. Obama has managed to fool many Americans with his untruthful rhetoric of beautiful liberal ideas, but perhaps most alarmingly the Liberal Jews of America, whom he cunningly turned against Israel. They may not be aware of it but ironically, adhering to Obama while shunning Trump, against the interests of the state of Israel and the healthier direction for the world is only proof of their internal exile from the true love of others that is their own legacy. In their spiritual forgetfulness and adherence to ego, they are subconsciously drawn to forces of egoism of our world that have been working to divide and destroy it, masked by false pretense of what Jews recognize as their true values. It is now vital to awaken from this error, transcending the cognitive dissonance that keeps these Jews fervently protecting a clearly failing path.
A Brighter Future Ahead
Obama leaves behind him a legacy of destruction that hopefully will serve as a great awakening, so that humanity can begin to rise from the cinders of broken down societies and countries. As indicative from Trump’s tweet following the terrible attacks in Turkey and Germany- “the civilized world must change its thinking”. I hope that under Trump, America will join forces with Europe and Russia to combat radical Islam which is their true shared enemy. But perhaps most of all, I wish that Trump will help Israel unite and America to open the way for new awareness of our interdependence. Not by superficial claims to liberalism, but with deeds that truly fulfill the needs of the people, valuing relationships and cooperation above all.