Obama speaks out in semi-muted tone

Barack H. Obama by and large has refrained from criticizing his successor as president of the United States.

Then he stood on a podium today in South Africa to honor the memory of the late Nelson Mandela.

The 44th president said a lot of things that observers know to be critical of Donald J. Trump. He didn’t mention the president by name. He didn’t need to do that.

The audience knew about whom he was referring when he said, for instance, the following: “Too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth,” Obama said. “People just make stuff up. They just make stuff up.”

He referenced the embrace of authoritarian regimes. He spoke about the politics of “fear” and “retrenchment.” He took a nod toward the angry rhetoric that imbues our current political discussion.

About whom do you think he was speaking?

You can read the full transcript of the former president’s speech here.

I remain one American who misses the kind of dignity I had come to expect in my president. Barack Obama embodied that. George W. Bush did as well. Same for Bill Clinton (except for that one terrible episode that tarnished his presidency).

What we’re getting these days is a lesson in crudeness, clumsiness, ignorance, anger and rage.

This is unity? This is how you make America great again?

Barack Obama arguably could have done better at unifying the country. Then again, there were many Americans who wouldn’t rally behind him under any circumstance. I know you get my drift.

His speech today in South Africa, however, lays out a dire warning about the quality of so-called “leadership” we are getting in this troubling time.

“I am not being alarmist, I’m simply stating the facts,” he said. Yes, “the facts” can be frightening, indeed.

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