Home OPINION COLUMNISTS Barak Obama: Making More Friends Than Necessary, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

Barak Obama: Making More Friends Than Necessary, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

At the tail end of his two-term tenure, which terminates sometime next year, whether by design or otherwise, American President, Barak Obama has been out trying to be nice to everyone both at home and abroad.
It is a plus for Obama however, or for that matter, any outgoing leader to want to leave a good legacy, of friendliness between him and the rest of the humanity for posterity.
Indeed, in his second term, President Obama has been very soft with most regions of the world, particularly, the African continent.
Besides his ancestral Kenya which he has been pampering, with his recent visit, the American President has also developed soft spot for Nigeria, especially with the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, who he personally referred to as an apostle of anti-corruption.
In recent time also, Obama has been campaigning for the right of the black Americans to vote, with his call for the US Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act. The Act is a historic 1965 law that removed legal barriers that prevented African-Americans from exercising their right to vote.

Obama said: “Our state leaders and legislatures must make it easier — not harder — for more Americans to have their voices heard. The Voting Rights Act put an end to literacy tests and other forms of discrimination, helping to close the gap between our promise that all of us are created equal and our long history of denying some of us the right to vote.
“The impact was immediate, and profound — the percentage of African-Americans registered to vote skyrocketed in the years after the Voting Rights Act was passed. But as Rutenberg chronicles, from the moment the ink was dry on the Voting Rights Act, there has been a concentrated effort to undermine this historic law and turn back the clock on its progress.
“These efforts are not a sign that we have moved past the shameful history that led to the Voting Rights Act. They are rooted in that history. They remind us that progress does not come easy, but that it must be vigorously defended and built upon for ourselves and future generations.”
And just today, Friday, August 14, for the first time in over 54 years, America, under the leadership of Obama, ended a Cold War-era of diplomatic freeze. The two countries, to be sure, are only 90 miles apart.

The American Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry presided over the ceremonial hoisting of American flag in the American Embassy in Cuba.

Kerry, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the communist island since World War II declared: “We are gathered here because our leaders made a courageous decision to stop being prisoners of history.

“My friends, it doesn’t take a GPS to realize that the road of mutual isolation and estrangement that the United States and Cuba were traveling is not the right one and that the time has come for us to move in a more promising direction,” Kerry said. “In the United States, that means recognizing that U.S. policy is not the anvil on which Cuba’s future will be forged.”

Even in the Middle East, especially, the Israeli and Palestinian unending conflict, America, under Obama has been able to shift ground away from the hard stand it had been well known for in the previous years.
But, after all the good moves by Obama to curry world’s respect and recognition long after he would have left the White House, one bad coin, as an African proverb says, that has been threatening to spoil all the friends he has been gathering at home and abroad is the issue of carrying the tenets of democracy and therefore, freedom of association far beyond the religious tenets across the world. It is the soft spot his country has developed for homo sexuality, where gay marriage has been given recognition under his leadership.

In a landmark opinion, a divided US Supreme Court in June this year, ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, thereby establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a historic victory.

In the 5-4 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.

Gay marriage

Nearly 46 years to the day after a riot at New York’s Stonewall Inn ushered in the modern gay rights movement, the decision could settle one of the major civil rights fights of this era. The language of Kennedy’s opinion spoke eloquently of the most fundamental values of family, love and liberty.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” Kennedy wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.”

This was happening in Obama’s America and presided over by him. As a matter of fact, America has been looking for allies, by either trying to convince other nations to follow suit, or even outrightly trying to force other countries to do so.

Now, what kind of friend is Obama making even with God, the creator, from this situation that outrightly changed His arrangement?

For Obama, trying to make friend with nearly everyone across the world before he leaves office, the same sex marriage is a black spot. Yes, of course, the gay couple will also remember him as a great pal, but at what cost to the saner part of the world? [myad]



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