With a Year Left in Office, People are Asking “What’s Next for Obama?”

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Shown: Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, during a campaign rally at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008. Credit: (Damon Winter / The New York Times)
Shown: Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, during a campaign rally at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008.
Credit: (Damon Winter / The New York Times)

With less than a year left in office, people have begun speculating as to what President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle will do once this final term in office is over. The Obamas haven’t announced their plans, but political pundits have offered their opinions about what the couple will do once the new president is sworn in on January 20, 2017.

It has been suggested that Michelle Obama will continue her work with military families and reducing childhood obesity. Others suggest that she may emerge as the head of a large corporation or eventually seek office herself.

It has been speculated that President Obama will either resume his teaching duties, spend time promoting his presidential library, start a nonprofit organization or begin writing his memoirs about his time in office.

What is of concern to African-Americans is whether the president will become a stronger advocate for the community.  Since 2007, President Obama has had to play it safe on race issues, particularly regarding police killings of unarmed black people.  For the most part, he has been silent about this issue as well as the gun violence in Chicago. Unlike with the gun law reform that he adamantly supported after Newtown and other mass shootings, President Obama has not pledged to do anything of substance to resolve issues that plague African-Americans.

Many African-Americans are hoping that without a campaign looming over his head, President Obama will speak more decisively to the issues. There is some inclination that he may become less regimented in his speech as he acknowledged being stopped by police officers in the past and how if he had a son, “he would look like Trayvon [Martin].”  

Still, some African-Americans remain skeptical as to whether Obama will wholeheartedly voice his support for the black community; they believe he’s too much of a politician to do so.  They point to the number of times in his presidency where he had the opportunity to do so and never showed an interest in these issues.  They speak specifically to his not visiting Ferguson, Missouri, during the height of the protests just following the murder of Mike Brown.  Some view this as a missed opportunity and that his visit came far too late to have any lasting  impact.

While no one knows for sure what the Obamas have planned once this term expires, people have expressed their opinions and suggestions as to possible avenues through which their time and influence can be of benefit.  Though there is no real consensus on this, pundits and speculators alike agree on one thing: After all he has endured as the first Black president and the family as the first Black family, they all need a long vacation.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies or position of Atlanta Black Star or its employees
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