Yes, Donald Trump is the oldest person ever to become president. In this scary political moment, when a 71-year-old kid is the most powerful person on Earth, we could be forgiven for dreaming of Obama’s return. I remain an optimist — in the long term, anyway — because of and not despite what I’ve learned about being an adult.Maybe he’ll come back and save us, the way our parents swooped in and picked us up when we were little, and lost, and afraid. But if we want the sense of possibility and decency at the heart of the Obama movement to return, we will have to be our own grown-ups. If there are no perfect grown-ups, it means that generations before us had to figure things out too. In their own messy and imperfect way, they preserved government of, by, and for the people, and handed it down to us.
Children strive only for pleasure; adults strive for fulfillment. Children find worth in what they acquire; adults find worth in the responsibilities they bear.
And while it turns out the world has no all-powerful grown-ups, it has an overwhelming number of children.
They come in all ages, from every walk of life and every corner of the political map.
More than anything else, or perhaps at the root of everything else, this is what worries me about our current political moment. But we are all we’ve got — and if each of us does their part, we’re good enough.
But here, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is the single most valuable lesson I learned in my 20s: There are no grown-ups, at least not in the way we imagined as kids.
There’s no room full of all-knowing elders in charge.For several years I was forced — often against my will, almost always against my instincts — to act like an adult.My years in Obamaworld taught me the value of perseverance. Today when I think about what I admire most about President Barack Obama, it’s not his rhetorical style or his charisma.According to the traditional Washington script, POTUS was expected to apologize profusely, beg forgiveness, and radically scale back his goals.Here’s what he said instead: “The principles that we’re fighting for, the things that motivate me every single day and motivate my staff every day — those things aren’t going to change.” There were days when we knew we were on the right side of history and lost anyway.I remember the day after the Election, a friend of mine who happens to be white, remarked on social media that he "finally wasn't embarrassed of America and our President." I sprained my eyes rolling them and they have never fully recovered.Since then I've heard this sentiment echoed by more white folks than I can count, especially in recent months; supposed relief at once again having a leader who instills pride.There are couches, flowers, and shelves which are full of books and framed pictures.Obama is sitting on the chair and talking to the camera about the choice that the voters have and need to make.And perhaps most crucially, he had the self-control to pay attention to that element while delegating other, less important pieces to staff.One secret to solving big problems, I discovered, is knowing which little problems to ignore.