President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was…okay.
I expected more. I expected passion. I expected fire. Or did I? Things have changed a lot since that day in Denver 4 years ago. Gone was the intensity. Make no mistake, last night the President made a quality speech. About the issues that speak to me. He’s my President. I will likely vote for him again. It’s just that…there was something missing.
I tossed and turned in bed last night and continued to try to put my finger on what it was about the speech that let me down. At the end of the day, for me, the speech lacked the heart and soul, the immediacy of speeches I’ve seen this President give in the past. That Bill Clinton set the bar perhaps too high the day before is inconsequential. Obama just didn’t bring it last night. In fact, I haven’t seen him bring it in a while.
Obviously I don’t know the man personally. But every fiber of my being is certain he is a good, decent, caring and compassionate man. I am very glad he is our President and hope he gets reelected. What disturbs me is the lack of passion. This is not the same man I voted for. Why?
I want to believe it is because the gravity of being the leader of the free world has sobered Obama. Whereas Bush forty-three blindly fumbled through his presidency, I really believe Barack Obama gives a damn about what he is doing and how it affects people around the world. That he reads 10 letters from citizens a night speaks volumes. I think politician Obama passed away sometime in the last four years and President Obama was born. I want to believe that the incomprehensible weight of the decisions the man has to make on a daily business has tempered his enthusiasm for hyperbole and rhetoric. Look at his face in that famous picture where he and his staff are monitoring the Bin Laden mission. Compare that face to the one of Bush 43 being told the World Trade Center was attacked.
I wanted to see the guy I saw in Denver last night. That guy didn’t show. I hope the guy that showed last night continues to grind away at what he cares about for the next four years. I’m afraid the reality of the responsibilities, of the bitter political in-fighting, of the often frightening daily security briefings, have taken their toll on the man who inspired a nation 4 years ago. I hope President Obama can reach down, for his own sake, and rekindle some of the fire that he once had. I hope he can believe in himself again…as so many of us have.