On Monday, it's back to work for former President Barack Obama. Since January's inauguration ended his presidency, Obama has spent much of his time vacationing — he went kite-surfing with Richard Branson and yachting with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and Bruce Springsteen — though it wasn't all fun and games, as he also spent time writing the memoir that will be published as part of a $65-million book deal with the Crown Publishing Group. After a whirlwind few months, Monday will bring a relatable moment, as Obama returns to Chicago to get back to work.
In an event on Monday, Obama will promote grassroots, community organizing from Chicago's South Side, the neighborhood that has been largely associated with his rise to political prominence. More specifically, Obama will speak from the campus of the University of Chicago, where he previously taught constitutional law. According to The New York Times, Obama's highly anticipated return to Chicago will kick off a series of events and appearances, marking the beginning of his post-presidential career.
Obama's other scheduled appearances reportedly include an awards ceremony in Boston, public and private speeches in the U.S. and Europe, and a visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her country. With these events, the public should get a better idea of what Obama's post-White House career and message will look like.
There's probably no place more fitting than Chicago for Obama's first official appearance as a former president. It was as a community organizer in Chicago that his political career really began, and it was as a U.S. senator from Illinois that he decided to run for president. Not to mention, Obama's presidential library will be in Chicago's Jackson Park, not far from the University of Chicago campus.
As Obama returns to the public eye, many of his supporters may be anticipating his reaction to the first 100 days of President Donald Trump. Sources close to Obama, however, have reportedly cautioned that his messages won't relate to the current president any time soon. If Obama were to openly criticize — or even just appear to criticize — Trump, his words could complicate American politics. After all, Americans may not agree with the direction their country is headed, but a feud between two presidents doesn't sound like the best way to turn things around.
Rather than focus on his successor's controversies, Obama's message to Chicago on Monday will likely encourage the type of grassroots activism that helped him get elected in 2008. His experience as a community organizer in the Windy City makes him a powerful messenger for a call to activism. For Obama's supporters, the type of organizing he encourages could be what's needed to turn the country in a different direction.