There are couches, flowers, and shelves which are full of books and framed pictures.
Obama is sitting on the chair and talking to the camera about the choice that the voters have and need to make.
But here, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is the single most valuable lesson I learned in my 20s: There are no grown-ups, at least not in the way we imagined as kids.
There’s no room full of all-knowing elders in charge.
In 2011, when I was 24, I was hired as a White House speechwriter. It’s just that I knew there were more than 300 million people in America. It’s the kind of predicament I suspect a slightly more mature human would be able to avoid.) But that’s one reason I’m so grateful I got the chance to work in the Obama White House.
It’s not that I thought I had no talent whatsoever. It seemed unlikely that I was the best We, the People, could do. (In my new book, , I describe getting discovered, in my underwear, changing clothes in the coat closet of Air Force One.For several years I was forced — often against my will, almost always against my instincts — to act like an adult.My years in Obamaworld taught me the value of perseverance. Today when I think about what I admire most about President Barack Obama, it’s not his rhetorical style or his charisma.According to the traditional Washington script, POTUS was expected to apologize profusely, beg forgiveness, and radically scale back his goals.Here’s what he said instead: “The principles that we’re fighting for, the things that motivate me every single day and motivate my staff every day — those things aren’t going to change.” There were days when we knew we were on the right side of history and lost anyway.Children strive only for pleasure; adults strive for fulfillment. Children find worth in what they acquire; adults find worth in the responsibilities they bear.And while it turns out the world has no all-powerful grown-ups, it has an overwhelming number of children.As a 21-year-old, newly smitten with a candidate and his inspiring campaign, I assumed that doing good always felt good. It’s his refusal to give up, even when changing the country felt deeply, painfully not fun.I’ll never forget the day after the 2014 midterms, a shellacking to end all shellackings.At a time when the news cycle has shrunk to mere minutes, that’s not easy to do. I came to believe that what President Obama did, better than anybody, was distill complicated issues to their essence.Whether he was reading a policy memo or a punchline, he could identify its most important element.