Name: Barack Hussein Obama II. Date and place of birth: August 4, 1961, Honolulu (Hawaii). Distinguishing features: 44th president of the United States of America and first person of African American origin to hold this office. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Left handed.
You will surely remember the 2008 poster, with that stylized portrait and the motto "Yes, we can!" Barack Obama was a leader like few, much loved (just like his first lady Michelle) and a symbol of hope, and not just for being the first black man to sit in the White House. His long presidency is remembered above all for his action for nuclear disarmament (especially in Iran) and the reform of the health system, but also his activism in terms of civil rights, arms control and the issue of climate change. The delicate matter of the foreign policy in the Middle East (in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan) earned him a number of criticisms. But it is undeniable that many of his actions, especially in terms of international relations with a view to peace, have nevertheless beaten the path to world progress.
That being said, there are many parts of his life that are not generally common knowledge. Did you know, for example, that he barely met his father? Or that he and George W. Bush are 11th degree cousins? And that some biologists have named some species of fish after him?
Barack Obama was a leader like few, he was much loved and a symbol of hope, and not just for being the first black man to sit in the White House
But let's start from the basics, before getting to his new life outside of the White House. Barack Obama was born in the early 1960s to a Kenyan father and an American mother. Just two years after his birth, in 1963, his parents separated and his father returned to Kenya: young Barack will meet him again only on one occasion, before his father died in 1982. Barack talks about his experience growing up with his mother's family and the psychological controversies of his multiracial heritage in a book, Dreams from my father.
After his mother's second marriage with Lolo Soetoro, Barack spends part of his childhood in Jakarta, then returning to Honolulu to finish school. He studies political science at Columbia University and then law at Harvard, also devoting himself to a community work project in the slums of Chicago. During an internship in a law firm in Chicago, he meets Michelle Robinson, the future first lady: they get married in 1992 and in the same year Obama begins to engage in politics. In 1996 he becomes a senator for Illinois (and between 1993 and 2004 he is a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago). After some failed attempts as a representative candidate of the State in the democratic primaries, in 2004 he wins, subsequently beating the Republican Alan Keyes in the race for Congress.
On 4 January 2005, Obama was sworn in as a senator and, just four months later, Time declared him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Between 2005 and 2006, Obama produces 152 between bills and resolutions, the first of which is a law to increase the number of university scholarships for students with low-income families (which, however, will be approved only during his presidency). In the Senate Obama also plays an active role in many of what will be the key issues of his presidency: border security, immigration law reform, arms possession legislation, global warming and international relations.
Already in 2004 there are rumors about his possible candidacy in the presidential elections, but Obama officially declares his intention to run only in 2007: the international scene is very interested in his candidacy, and Obama cultivates it with commitment, meeting important foreign political figures, including Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy and Walter Veltroni (then head of the Italian Democratic Party).
In the Senate Obama also plays an active role in many of what will be the key issues of his presidency: border security, immigration law reform, arms possession legislation, global warming and international relations
In the primaries of the Democratic Party, Obama challenges Hillary Clinton and John Edwards: the strength (and sign of change) of Obama's profile is to place himself as an African American of humble origins running for the first time to become president, a profile that contrasts strongly with that of Clinton, who, despite being favored, was characterized by an image of old politics. Obama makes great use of social networks to reach voters, another innovative aspect of his campaign. Thanks to a carpet-like presence, Obama wins victories in almost all American states, thus officially becoming the Democratic candidate running for the White House.
He becomes president on 20 January 2009 with almost 60 million votes: an absolute record. The challenges that await him in his first mandate are the resolution of the great recession due to the global economic crisis of 2008, the capture of Osama Bin Laden and relations with the Middle East (his commitment in this regard will be worth the award of a Nobel Prize). In the first 100 days of the government, Obama issues executive orders for the development of plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, and orders the closure of the Guantanamo prison, while not receiving the support of the Congress. But the greatest success of his first term is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare), the health reform that guarantees insurance coverage for 23.5 million more Americans.
In 2011 Obama announces his candidacy for the presidential elections the following year: given that the Democrats have guaranteed full support, he is basically unrivaled within his party. He wins by beating Republican Mitt Romney. During his inauguration speech, he is the first president to talk about gay rights. The approval of gay marriages will be one of the cornerstones of his second term, along with the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba thanks to the mediation of Pope Francis, the consequent removal of the embargo and the ratification of the Paris agreement on climate. Among the laws approved under the Obama administration, in the area of LGBT rights, the removal of the ban on traveling to the United States for people with HIV and the removal of the ban on serving in law enforcement by gays, lesbian and transgender people.
Obama was not exempt from criticism, particularly on his foreign policy: the controversial relations with Israel, the absence of a clear exit strategy from Iraq and the increase of troops in Afghanistan
Having said that, of course Obama was not exempt from criticism, particularly on his foreign policy: controversial relations with Israel, the absence of a clear exit strategy from Iraq and the increase in troops in Afghanistan, for example, have placed him at the center of various controversies during the years of his presidency. So much so that even today some people remember him as insufficiently ambitious and not particularly revolutionary. Overall, however, his merits are clear: his ability to bring the United States out of the recession, driving the entire world behind it, conscientiousness in making the world, and above all a country like China, responsible on environmental policies, and the political ability to manage relations with other world powers cannot be forgotten.
Unable to reapply at the end of his term, on January 20, 2017 he hands over the US presidency to Donald Trump. From that moment on, in reality, Obama has practically disappeared from the scene. Except for a few public appearances (some "lessons" that the former president held receiving mind-boggling compensation, up to 300 thousand dollars, according to news sources), he has been mostly silent. Given the dissent towards the line held by the new president, someone has suggested that he prefers not to expose himself in order not to throw mud on the new tenant of the White House. Rather, it seems that he is fully concentrating on his Obama Foundation, a political training school that aims to shape the new American ruling class. Is he already planning something for the post-Trump era?