President Barack Obama doesn’t believe in apocalyptic thinking. “I don’t believe in apocalyptic — until the apocalypse comes,” he told The New Yorker in a new profile. “I think nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world.” And — just to clarify — last week’s election results aren’t akin to the end of the world to Obama. “This is not the apocalypse,” he said.
Obama took that line of thinking to address the election results with his daughters. In a fiercely divided country, many parents have grappled in the past 10 days about how best to talk about what happened with their kids, and though Obama may be the POTUS, he’s also a concerned dad.
“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told the publication. “Societies and cultures are really complicated…. This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding.” OK, he might be a little better equipped to give a good pep-talk than the average dad.
“And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish,” he continued. “And it doesn’t stop… You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, OK, where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”
As for those who might suspect his calm demeanor in the days past is a facade, he set the record straight — and spoke of how his positive outlook is something that he teaches his daughters. “Look, by dint of biography, by dint of experience, the basic optimism that I articulate and present publicly as president is real,” he said. “It’s what I teach my daughters. It is how I interact with my friends and with strangers. I genuinely do not assume the worst, because I’ve seen the best so often.”
Lest you assume he’s quietly simmering on the inside, he assured that he is, in fact, as calm and collected inwardly as he appears. “It is a mistake that I think people have sometimes made to think that I’m just constantly biting my tongue and there’s this sort of roiling anger underneath the calm Hawaiian exterior. I’m not that good of an actor,” he said. “I was born to a white mother, raised by a white mom and grandparents who loved me deeply. I’ve had extraordinarily close relationships with friends that have lasted decades. I was elected twice by the majority of the American people. Every day, I interact with people of good will everywhere.”
Barack Obama, class act.