Sunday, December 5

HBO explores Obama’s path to the White House


Barack Obama y Joe Biden.

Barack Obama y Joe Biden.
EFE

‘A More Perfect Union’, the speech with which Barack Obama launched his campaign presidential, is the title of the latest documentary series of HBO that discovers the path to power of a man as ambitious as he is charismatic while the political environment began to heat up.

“The contrast between him and the person who followed him into the presidencyDonald Trump, it is so obvious that it is difficult not to recognize the importance of his legacy. Almost from the minute he left the White House, “Jelani Cobb, doctor in American history, writer of the magazine ‘The New Yorker’ and producer of the documentary, which will premiere in Spain with the title ‘Obama: for a better America. ‘

The last few years have seen a explosion of cultural creations on the figure of the Obamas. To the best-selling book ‘My Story’ by former First Lady Michelle, which Netflix moved to television, is added ‘A Promised Land’, written by Obama himself. There is a film about the couple’s first meeting, ‘Southside With You’, along with documentaries like ‘Dreams of Obama’ and ‘The Final Year’ that analyze various aspects of their tenure. And all when Obama is barely over 60 years old, just turned last week.

Still, for Cobb it made sense to bet on another production, which he began working on since Obama left the presidency. “We started talking about his legacy at the exact moment when Donald Trump was doing his best to try to dismantle it“, Explain.

The three parts of ‘Obama: for a better America’ analyze the youth, the presidential race and, finally, the two terms that the former president (2009-2017) spent in the Oval Office.

False optimism about racism

But before recounting Obama’s first steps, the series begins with the speech with which he presented himself to the world in March 2008, at the beginning of his campaign. The future president appears on a plane, on his way to the Democratic Convention, finalizing the details of his writing. He kept that custom until the end of his term because it was especially meticulous with words. Some, in fact, criticized the excessive time he spent preparing his speeches.

“There is not a liberal United States and a conservative United States. There is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America, a Latin America and an Asian America. There is the United States of America,” says one of the most famous phrases from that speech.

A text that, according to Cobb, not only demonstrated his writing skills, but also your vision and understanding of racial issues “better than at any point in the campaign.” Obama presented himself as “the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas,” raised by a stepfather and married to an African-American of slave descent. His victory, months later, awakened the illusion of a “post-racial” USA that did not finish to settle.

Although the electoral environment of a decade ago seems much more optimistic, politics was beginning to take over. dark and chaotic tone From now.

As the producer of the film, Cobb hired director Peter W. Kunhardt, who has produced documentaries about Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon and John McCain and who in this production reviews the most unpleasant moments of Obama’s career to differentiate it from the romantic vision of other films.

“Even at the beginning of the campaign, there were people who said it wasn’t really black Cobb recalls. All sorts of things were being said. ”Obama had to rely on African-American leaders like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Congressman John Lewis, interviewed in the documentary, because their circle was at odds.

And outside, the Republican Party countered John McCain’s diplomacy with Sarah Palin, the vice presidential candidate who championed a populist style that questioned whether Obama was born in the United States and warned that his name was of Muslim origin.

A man as charismatic as he is ambitious

‘Obama: for a better America’ also portrays the former president as a man who overcame all those obstacles by determination and thanks to a blinding ambition that left many companions along the way.

Among the dozen interviewees, Lewis wept when he remembered the night Obama became president, while Wright remembers the day he called him to expel him from the campaign team, the great taboo of his early days. The lights and shadows of a career that made history.


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