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Citizen Obama

11/01/2017 3:19 PM IST | Updated 11/01/2017 8:46 PM IST
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017.

Barack Obama came into the White House an ordinary man.

He collected Spider-Man comics.

Had done marijuana when he was younger.

He smoked behind his wife's back.

He played poker.

Owned a pair of boxing gloves signed by Muhammed Ali. And like all of us, he did not want to give up his Blackberry.

It was this ordinariness that made Barack Obama a deeply extraordinary man.

There is a certain distance that gets built when one enters that mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue.

There is an allure that begins to rise like steam, turning into a cloud of conceit.

That cloud fogs one's perspective. It creates a bubble around the presidency

Obama never maintained a distance.

He burst the bubble.

Never before in the history of the American presidency had the term " commander-in-chief" been used as many times as it was during Obama's.

Because I think Obama commanded.

He never governed.

He commanded respect. Rigour. Affection.

Never fear.

He inherited an economy that was exhausted by subterfuge.

He inherited a terroir of terror.

Yes, the US Army has been at war every single day of his Presidency.

Yes, he bombed seven nations.

But that is not what he will be remembered for.

He will be remembered for never forgetting the ordinary man.

He will be remembered for never forgetting that he finally was an ordinary man.

And last morning, as he bid farewell to the world he so commandingly connected with, it was again about the "we".

About that ordinary thing called loving your wife.

That ordinary pride of being a father.

That ordinary truth that the most important office in democracy: citizen

Pam Brown once said "The courage of very ordinary people is all that stands between us and the dark."

That courage is walking away. And that dark is set to set.

Goodbye you ordinary man.

Goodbye, you extraordinary soul.

Goodbye, Citizen Obama.

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