Jack Ohman

Which America will be back in 2016?

Last week, I got an email from one of my regular correspondents. Flush with the Republican victories across the country, she concluded with the phrase, “America is back in 2016.”

I knew what she meant. The country will finally get rid of Barack Obama.

My correspondent has written to me wondering whether Obama would ever get off the golf course, as if other presidents didn’t golf frequently. President Dwight Eisenhower is said to have imprinted cleat marks in the White House floor, Ronald Reagan played Augusta, and both Bushes were avid golfers as well. Who cares?

She has written to me about how upset she is with Obamacare. Health insurance pools were a Republican idea, I noted. She acknowledges this was true, but back in the ’80s.

No. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signed a similar health plan in Massachusetts in 2006, then disavowed it in 2008 and 2012.

A few months ago, she sent me a video of a prominent Fox News commentator’s analysis of race. It discussed many valid points with invalid premises: Young black men deal drugs. Young black men are involved in murder. The African American family is disintegrating, but the commentator never addresses why. He blames Obama for not speaking out.

Really? Obama started “My Brother’s Keeper,” a program to help young black men. Does that count as speaking out? Or does only yelling on television count?

The reason for a lot of black America’s trouble is pretty clear: A shrinking middle class. Crime-ridden neighborhoods. Few pathways out of poverty. Imploding urban public schools.

Race is a topic that most Americans don’t like to discuss, and yet current events keep pulling us back into the race conversation. We come back to it because racism is real. Much of this is sub rosa, except when it isn’t.

Objectively, isn’t Obama the kind of person we want our kids to emulate?

Scrapping his way up, he is the son of a single mother. He didn’t get handouts, went to Occidental College, transferred to Columbia, graduated, and went into community organizing (yes, there’s nothing wrong with that).

He was admitted to Harvard Law School and became president of the Harvard Law Review, married a lovely woman, had two great daughters, got elected to the Illinois Senate, the U.S. Senate and became president of the United States by the time he was 47?

No. I guess not.

I don’t know what my correspondent is angry about. Whatever it is, she looks forward to America’s return in 2016.

Which America, precisely?

Is it 1861, when the country was riven by slavery?

Is it 1941, when black military units helped win World War II against the greatest racist ever, only to come home to segregation?

Is it 1955, when there were separate lunch counters, drinking fountains and public schools in much of the country?

Is it 1963, when black kids were being mauled on national television by police dogs?

Tell me, which America is coming back in 2016?

Because I really need to know.

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