Lessons from the Obama Legacy
In the coming months, the Obama presidency will end. With it, proponents will argue about its greatness, its enduring achievements and breakthroughs. Detractors will argue its downfalls, deficiencies and devastation.
In judging a president’s legacy, it seems they will be most highly judged on how they handled the economy, social policy and foreign policy. There’s little doubt that many other criteria could be added to the mix.
But some of the discussion about Obama’s legacy will be lost in the mix of a new president and the legacy that they will be quickly establishing.
In truth, the reality of Obama’s legacy won’t be accurately seen for another 20 years. In that time, we’ll have the benefit of perspective, and we’ll have a better measure of the results and long-term implications. We’ll also have the benefit of an objective lens without the political taint.
In any case, the enduring legacy of this president will be measured equally by the same measurements of any person:
- What was their character like? Were they honest? Could we count on their promises?
- Were they faithful in executing their duties?
- Did they act for the benefit of others—and not themselves?
- Did they build a body of trust?
Obama’s “success” as a president will ride less on the policies he sought to forward. Indeed, his “success” will be measured by more of these intangible qualities of morality, faithfulness, honesty and character. Not surprisingly, every person’s “success” and enduring legacy will be measured by these same intangibles.