As a person, Obama has been a model human being at the White House. Like how Carter was, and continues to be after his presidency. Kids all over the world can--and should--look up to the likes of Obama and Carter and tell themselves, "I want to grow up to be like them."
I am equally proud of the remarkable level of intelligence that Obama has always demonstrated. An intelligence that is not abrasive nor audacious, but humble. Kids all over the world can--and should--look up to him and tell themselves, "I want to grow up to be smart like him."
A reader, as much as he is a writer and an orator:
During his eight years in the White House — in a noisy era of information overload, extreme partisanship and knee-jerk reactions — books were a sustaining source of ideas and inspiration, and gave him a renewed appreciation for the complexities and ambiguities of the human condition.Yes, the complexities and ambiguities of the human condition.
What a contrast to the incoming president who has not for a nanosecond demonstrated anything about "the complexities and ambiguities"; in fact, he has taken to a whole new level the previous Republican president who made it clear that he did not do nuances and that he viewed the world as us-versus-them.
reading gave him the ability to occasionally “slow down and get perspective” and “the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes.”To get into somebody else's shoes is what empathy is all about.
Not even the incoming president's fanatical bootlickers will think of their Dear Leader as capable of empathy!
Obama reads widely, including fiction:
He points out, for instance, that the fiction of Junot Díaz and Jhumpa Lahiri speaks “to a very particular contemporary immigration experience,” but at the same time tell stories about “longing for this better place but also feeling displaced” — a theme central to much of American literature, and not unlike books by Philip Roth and Saul Bellow that are “steeped with this sense of being an outsider, longing to get in, not sure what you’re giving up.”
In contrast, can you imagine the demagogue having anything substantive to say about Diaz or Lahiri?! As one reader phrased it in his comments to the NY Times piece:
Like Blunder Woman Sarah Palin, Trumpty Drumpty always struggles to name a single book he's ever read.Oh, I owe to another commenter at the NY Times the title for this post.