If there’s one thing that came out of 2016 that nearly everyone can agree with, it’s an annoyance with the pontificating celebrity video.
We’ve seen it countless times. Celebrities take time out of their oh-so-busy schedules to somberly look into a camera and explain the complex ins and outs of politics to the American people. These were a popular fixture with such Hillary Clinton-supporting stars as Lena Dunham and Will Ferrell.
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It seems celebrities couldn’t welcome 2017 without just one more of those videos where they talked up a fantasy world in which Barack Obama has been a great president. The emotional farewell to the commander-in-chief reminds us why our 2017 wish list includes no more of these preaching videos.
The video, entitled “Yes We Can: Your Most Memorable Moments from the Obama Presidency,” was posted to the White House YouTube channel a day before Obama partied until 4 a.m. with Hollywood’s A-list. Celebrities like Tom Hanks and Jerry Seinfeld are among those wearing rose-colored glasses in the video.
“Avengers” actor Samuel L. Jackson talked up the outgoing president’s supremely unpopular Affordable Care Act. “I have relatives that can’t afford health insurance, so it was really a great thing to know that if something happened to them, they could get cared for.” Jackson made no mention of the people who have lost their doctors, faced skyrocketing rates, or even lost their health insurance altogether because of Obamacare.
“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes’ most memorable Obama moment came before he even entered office. She mentioned the president’s victory speech in Grant Park in Illinois in 2008. “Just the magic of that moment of that man, who we’ve all been on this journey with … take that stage with his family. I was sitting at home in my living room and I felt like I was a part of that crowd in that park.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been embroiled in controversy recently — his climate change foundation has been involved in an embezzlement scandal and his own rather large carbon footprint has been revealed through various reports — praised the president for acknowledging climate change. “When I was at the U.N. and I heard our president say that climate change is the most important issue facing not only this generation but also future generations, it was inspiring.”
For regular Americans, the most memorable action the president took on climate change was likely the Solyndra investment — a failed solar company that lost the government an investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Also appearing in the video was basketball star Michael Jordan, who said Obama will be remembered as the “Jackie Robinson of politics,” and “Scandal” star Kerry Washington, who said Obama’s presidency was the first time she felt part of the “we” in the Constitution’s “We the People.”
To prove just how closely tied to celebrity culture Obama really has been, Ellen DeGeneres praised his dance skills — while comedian Jerry Seinfeld said the time he was knocking on the window to the Oval Office while Obama worked was “probably the peak of my entire existence.”
There’s a reason an emotional farewell video for the outgoing president comes from celebrities. They are the successful coastal artists whose lives have likely not changed much under Obama’s presidency. They see him as a cultural success. If he is — it is thanks to them.
Meanwhile, the middle class has been squeezed dry thanks to rising health care costs and a national debt that has been put on steroids. Obama has a legacy of unfulfilled campaign promises and hypocritical actions ignored by his Hollywood supporters. The Obama described in the “Yes We Can” White House video is one the American people do not know. If they did, Donald Trump would not be taking office as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20.