Obama reveals how he felt after Trump’s inauguration and explains why we should all be optimistic about 2018.
Former President Barack Obama just had his first interview since leaving the Oval Office with none other than Prince Harry.
The famous duo discussed the emotions Obama felt when he left the White House after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, his views on social media, and his New Year’s resolution in a BBC Radio 4 program broadcasted Wednesday.
Obama thinks social media is a tool that people use to focus on ideas that can reinforce their own views and warned against those who spend too much time on the internet.
“One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities,” Obama said. “They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”
“The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a Balkanisation of society and allows ways of finding common ground,” he added.
Although Obama didn’t mention Trump, who regularly tweets about policy as much as he does his personal feuds, he did suggest that face-to-face contact is a more effective way of finding common ground instead of lashing out at those with opposing views.
“Social media is a really powerful tool for people of common interests to convene and meet to know each other and connect, but then it’s important for them to get offline, meet in a pub, meet at a place of worship, meet in a neighborhood and get to know each other,” Obama said.
“Because the truth is that on the internet, everything is simplified and when you meet people face-to-face it turns out they’re complicated,” he added.
What Obama Felt After Trump’s Inauguration
The moment Obama passed the torch to President Trump, the former president felt a sense of “serenity,” even though there was a lot of work to be done to truly make America great again.
“I think it was a satisfying feeling that was mixed with all the work that was still undone, concerns about how the country moves forward, but you know, overall there was serenity there,” Obama said. “More than I would have expected.”
Although Obama didn’t have time to finish everything he wanted to do, the former president believed his administration still ran a good race.
“One of the metaphors that I always used for the presidency is that you are a relay runner,” he said. “There is the sense sometimes in any position of leadership that you, by yourself, do certain things and then it’s over and I always viewed it as taking the baton from a whole range of people who had come before me. Some of whom had been heroic and some of whom had screwed up.”
“But wherever you were in the race,” he added, “if you ran hard, if you did your best, and that you then were able to pass that baton off successfully and the country was better off, the world was a little bit better off than when you got there, then you could take some pride in that. And I think we were able to do that.”
But looking back, there are certain aspects of his presidency that Obama misses.
“Everything you do, every day you know can affect millions of billions of people, in some cases, and you have really smart, focused people who are there for the right reasons and who, over time, have built up trust and have learned to support each other and rely on each other – I miss that,” Obama said.