Do you understand why we’re seeing these pictures, all of a sudden, of Obama crying? The emotion was noted widely after his last campaign rally in Iowa, and again yesterday addressing his staff in Chicago.It’s because he’s come face-to-face these last few days with the fact his political career is in its last hurrah. And what an irony it is that – like a professional athlete who puts everything into his craft and then is washed up at a still-young age – Obama is only just starting to find his game.
The lesson in this, and it’s a lesson for all of us, is that our culture has been far too eager to glorify and elevate youth and talent at the expense of nurturing it along. From the start, my greatest regret about Obama has been how we deprived him of the two or three more terms in the Senate to equipped him with the experience to match that raw talent, and really prime him for the job.
If you watch the video of Obama becoming emotional with his volunteers, he chokes up talking about their youth and potential in contrast to his culmination. I believe these are the words that precede the tears:
“Wherever you guys end up, in whatever states, in whatever capacities, whether you’re in the private sector or the not-for-profit, or some of you decide to go into the public service… you’re just going to do great things! And that’s why, even before last night’s results, I felt that the work that I had done in running for office had come full circle…”
Similarly, in Iowa, returning to “where it began,” the tears came out over “his self-proclaimed ‘last campaign’” and “finish(ing) what we started.”
What could be more bittersweet — at the conclusion of this grueling and very accomplished march — than to stand at the pinnacle and realize that you’re that close to done?
(photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)