I have a complicated relationship with Barack Obama. I wish it were otherwise. Trust me, I wanted to believe. In 2008, my roommates and I hosted a modest "fundraiser" for him in our apartment. It was, I suspect, mostly an excuse for a party. But we were excited, probably too excited in retrospect. To fall in love with a candidate—and to persist in this love, both unequal and unrequited—is to tempt fate as a scorned lover. I realize that I'm perhaps unfairly harsh on Obama, as my mom often reminds me. She (still) loves him. This is a point of tension. My brother, meanwhile, thinks that my problems with Barack Obama led me to be too soft on Donald Trump, who, he argues correctly, was a much worse president. These are all valid points, and I will not refute them here.
I've tried to be better. I want to be better. With this in mind, I tried to put off reading Obama's (third) memoir for as long as possible. I didn't want to invite back the darkness. I had been behaving myself, and not bringing up Obama with any frequency. For the book I'm finishing now, however, I didn't have a choice. My account would be incomplete otherwise. The struggle is real.
Even the title was grating. Who calls their own memoir A Promised Land? Barack Obama, that's who! But I had a duty, and duty called.