Eight years to the day (November 4, 2008), 92% White and 3% Black Iowans gave Kenyan-American Barack Hussein Obama 38% of the votes in the 2008 Iowa Caucus thereby sending the man derisively called the "junior senator from Illinois" on his way to an extremely hard-fought and character-building victory over the New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary R. Clinton in the Democratic Party Primary.
That never happened.
Vividly illustrating the inability to "walk and chew gum at the same time", John McCain stumbled from selecting the hitherto unknown Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate to "suspending his campaign" even as he declared that the then-free falling US economy was "fundamentally sound". In one fell swoop, the "maverick" captain of the "Straight-talk Express" became an answer to the trivial pursuit question:
Which presidential candidate lost to America's first African American President?
Then in his successful 2012 re-election bid, Obama's ground game and "Straight outta Silicon Valley" analytics ran roughshod over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
America is now poised to elect Barack Obama's successor and if there was one moment that captures the Obama Presidency, I would offer as Exhibit A, the video that compared President Obama's reaction to a pro-Trump protestor AND Donald Trump's characterization of the president's reaction to said protestor.
To put it bluntly: Donald Trump's characterization of Barack Obama's reaction to the protestor was an outright lie.
Even more disturbing is that a section of the American population believed/s Donald Trump's version of the events in Fayetteville, North Carolina despite the video evidence.
The foregoing is the sad yet accurate metaphor of Obama's two-term presidency.
From Mitch McConnell's promise to "make him a one-term president" to Joe Wilson's "You Lie" yell in front of a global audience not to mention the R-Rated invectives hurled at the First Family, Barack Obama's response has epitomized tolerance and control.
From Donald Trump's "otherization" of America's first non-white male president to the GOP-controlled Congress's abrogation of the adage "politics ends at the waterfront", very few can question Mr. Obama's near-preternatural reaction and response to his rivals' refusal to accept his (American) citizenry even as they sided with a foreign leader who had policy differences with Mr. Obama!
It is this otherworldly grace and equipoise combined with an economy that's back from the brink of collapse and a country not fighting a war that has enabled Barack to finish his presidency riding a 50%+ job approval rating even as hyper-partisan still insist that his presidency has been a "failure".
Full Disclosure: I AM partial to the man whose father Barack Obama Sr. hailed from my Luo tribe in Nyanza.
I am a father to a 13-year old teenager who came of age knowing as his first president, someone who looks like him and is of the same (tribal) lineage. My son, like President Obama is of Kenyan Luo-American heritage (his mother is a bi-racial American). Nearly all his peers and their friends across the socio-political, racial and religious divide have nothing but immense admiration for a POTUS they alternately describe as "cool", "coolest", "totally swagged out Dad" and/or "a good man"; an ominous sign for the Republicans as the "browning of America" picks up pace and these tweens become voters.
With my then-5year old son at my side, I cried when on November 4, 2008 at 8PM PST, CNN's Wolf Blitzer called California for Barack Obama thus giving him an unassailable Electoral College total well beyond the requisite 270.
I reassured him that those were tears of joy; at being able to share a moment not many thought was possible, with him and as hyperbolic as it may sound, I knew that America, indeed the world would never be the same in the wake of Obama's first victory.
People have made compelling cases against some of President Obama policies, myself included. The fiasco in Libya and Syria come to mind. His hands-off approach to the continent especially during his first term in office is another. There is palpable (and valid) fear among those in the "Rust Bowl" who believe they have been left behind by the changing global economy. Finally, racial tensions have heightened during the last 2-3 years of his second term AND by the rhetoric of Donald Trump's candidacy.
To be clear, the in-coming American president will inherit the foregoing listing of unfinished Obama business; all valid conversations Americans will need to have going forward.
However, the dichotomous views on President Obama's intentions and actions of the last eight years as -- illustrated by the narrative that came out of Fayetteville -- stifled any constructive discussions and decisions on (these) matters of national import.
This acrimony and deliberate obstructionism has been the bane of the Obama Presidency.
Despite the foregoing, President Obama has stayed above the fray. In the process, he has offered Americans a benchmark and contrast against which to measure and compare future candidates vying for the "world's most powerful office" -- regardless of race, gender or religion.
As counter-intuitive as it seems, when their mostly right wing detractors "went low", The Obamas -- Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Michelle's Mom Ms. Marian Robinson -- "went high". In so doing, America's first black First Family gave America AND the world a daily reminder of the very ideals and values most of these same detractors and critics only speechify about.
So, Mr. President, for the ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance displayed in the pressure cooker that is the American Presidency, let me join David Brooks in declaring that I miss you - already.
Let me also say "Thank You President Obama".