President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama did not go into seclusion and act like the rest of the world did not exist or impact them. They have made very important appearances on issues and on occasions that really matter.
It was their last message that really shows what they are made of and they received the kind of praise due real leadership. They’ve been called America’s favorite first couple. No sensible person could rightly disagree with that.
Just a few days ago, they sent a message of gratitude to the students in Parkland, Florida as the students from Parkland and many other areas across the nation began their trip to the nation’s capital to express their opinions on gun control and what should be done about it. They’ve brought on a true revolution on gun control. They’ve turned around many politicians who were formerly immovable. They’ve been criticized by the usual suspects—but the good part is that the students are immovable in their position to make changes for their protection. They are rightly admired by many.
The Obamas have shown them what true adult leadership and first class look like in the following message:
“To the students of Parkland —
We wanted to let you know how inspired we have been by the resilience, resolve and solidarity that you have all shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.
Not only have you supported and comforted each other, but you’ve helped awaken the conscience of the nation, and challenged decision-makers to make the safety of our children the country’s top priority.
Throughout our history, young people like you have led the way in making America better. There may be setbacks; you may sometimes feel like progress is too slow in coming. But we have no doubt you are going to make an enormous difference in the days and years to come, and we will be there for you.” Barack Obama
There is no way the current White House occupants could top that. My good friend, the late Dick Gregory, often reminded us that the only President and First Lady young people today have ever known were Barack and Michelle. They inspired a lot of young people to want to go into politics or community service. When #45 finally leaves the White House, we are going to need these same young people to show the world what America really looks like. They will have quite a job to do to untangle the sorry state of where #45 has taken us in a few months; but just like the young civil rights workers who braved painful water hoses, vicious dogs and evil bigots, I believe young people today are showing us they, too, are up to the challenge.
They grew up with eight years of inspiration and they are showing a lot of adults who do or say nothing when they see wrong what it’s like to be a leader. I am proud to say it was someone who looks like me who still is a great inspiration to all of us—especially to our young people.
By the time you read this, more than one half million young people and a lot of sensible adults will have marched on Washington and other locations around the nation to say that time is up for gun advocates who refuse to support sensible gun control.
A lot of individuals and groups will be actively registering new voters, and I have a feeling these young voters will have a lot to do with who represents them in the next city, county, state and national elections.
(Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. and is host of the radio program called Wake up and Stay Woke. 202/678-6788 www.nationalcongressbw.org.)