Barack Obama was a guest on today’s episode of Conan O’Brien’s podcast, Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend, where he imparted the kind of dad advice only Barack Obama can give.
In the clip of the podcast published by People, O’Brien read an 1870s quote from Ulysses S. Grant, which spoke to the importance of putting the current moment of struggle in perspective. Obama followed up with his own version of the same sentiment. He touched, too, on what he hopes he has taught his daughters, Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19.
“Everything right in front of us always looks like just the worst thing,” he said, referring to the past year of a pandemic and racial injustice that rocked America. “‘This has never happened before.’ You don’t have to go back to Ulysses S. Grant and the Civil War. Look at 1968. You know, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King shot in the same year, you got a Democratic convention that is a complete...street fight. You’ve got a Vietnam War that is ripping the country apart. So what I always tell young people is, if you examine history, then you come to the conclusion that as terrible as things are, the world is healthier, better educated, kinder, on average, than just about any time in human history. The problem is we just don’t make progress in a straight line. We have to be vigilant. We have to work hard. We have to push and be resilient. That I think is what I hope I’ve instilled, not just in my daughters, and Michelle’s instilled in our daughters, I hope that our body of work that continues is instilling in young people that sense of, Yeah, it’s hard. You’re not going to get a hundred percent of what you’re hoping for. There’ll still be injustice and racism and ignorance, but you can make things better,’’ he said.
The Obama daughters, who are now living their own adult lives, have remained out of the spotlight for the most part since their family left the White House. But, every once in a while, their parents will reveal something new we didn’t know about them.
Last year, in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel following the publication of his book A Promised Land, he explained how different his daughters are.
“Your wife, Michelle, told me that you are afraid of Sasha; is that true?,” Kimmel asked Obama.
“Yes,” he said. “And the reason is because Sasha is a mini Michelle, and I’m afraid of Michelle, and Sasha, having seen that, has the same look and the same attitude. Malia is more like me temperamentally. We call ourselves ‘the long faces’ because her face is more shaped like mine. ‘The round faces’ are Michelle and Sasha. And the round faces are a fiercer tribe. We’re like the vegetarians—the gatherers, and they’re the hunters. We try to keep the peace with them.”
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