Chelsea Manning: Obama wasn't the strong progressive leader we need

Barack Obama left behind hints of a progressive legacy. Unfortunately, despite his faith in our system and his positive track record on many issues over the last eight years, there have been very few permanent accomplishments.

This vulnerable legacy should remind us that what we really need is a strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us. What we need as well is a relentless grassroots movement to hold that leadership accountable.

On the night of 4 November 2008, Barack Obama was elected on a platform of “hope” and “change”. He was hailed as a “uniter” in an age of “dividers”. I experienced a political awakening that night. I watched as the hope that President Obama represented was tempered by the shocking passage of Proposition 8 by a majority of voters in California. This reversed a major marriage equality court victory from earlier that year.

Throughout his two terms in office, these types of contradictions would persist. Optimism and hope would be met with backlash and hate. He faced unparalleled resistance from his opponents, many of whom wanted him to fail.