More than 132 million Americans invested their vote to elect -- and reelect -- Barack Obama as the nation's first black president.
But that president now says he's convinced the country remains mired in racism.
For their part, after experiencing nearly two years of 'Hope & Change' campaign promises and then 2,226 days since Obama's election, most Americans are disappointed, believing the candidate's promise of a new national racial harmony has failed to materialize.
Of course, no one person could ever cause that to happen. But encouraged by an indulgent, less than detached media, many Americans let their hopes run off with their expectations. And as a living, speaking symbol of that optimism, the Chicago machine politician did absolutely nothing to temper those runaway dreams that fueled his fundraising and benefited his ambitions.
Indeed, his first words as president-elect promised even more: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of democracy, tonight is your answer."
But in the aftermath of the Ferguson violence and riots, a new majority of Americans now says relations between whites and blacks in the United States have not only not improved under Obama.
They find that race relations are actually worse today than before Jan. 20, 2009, when Democrat Obama took the oath of office on a Republican's Bible and spoke of a post-partisan world free of the banal bickering that's so thoroughly soured the country's views of Washington and its well-paid denizens.
A Bloomberg Politics Poll out Monday finds that three percent of the 1,001 respondents said relations had gotten "a lot better," six percent said "a little better" and 36% felt relations had "stayed about the same."
But 53% said relations had "gotten worse," with 56% of whites saying that and 45% of blacks. The races were about the same reporting relations were about the same -- 35% whites, 36% blacks.
However, fully a month before the Bloomberg survey, readers here had access to an Investor's Business Daily/TIPP Poll that found Americans. by almost three-to-one, say race relations have worsened under the first black president.
A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters last week found that 42% believe race relations have worsened under Obama. "Very few voters across the demographic spectrum think race relations have gotten better under the president," Rasmussen reported. "Men feel more strongly than women that those relations are worse now.
"Those under 40 are much less likely than their elders to believe racial relations have worsened during the Obama presidency. Most Republicans think race relations are worse now, but most Democrats say they are about the same. Unaffiliated voters are more narrowly divided."
Immediately before Obama's inauguration six years ago, 48% of all Americans and 75% of blacks felt his election "signaled the start of a new era in race relations."
Perhaps coincidentally, Monday night Obama acknowledged in an interview with Black Entertainment Television that America has made progress on racism. But he added: “This is something that is deeply rooted in our society. It’s deeply rooted in our history."
Racism has been the default charge thrown at Obama critics throughout his presidency, no matter the subject under discussion. Last January, Obama said: "There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.”
That is undoubtedly true, just as some no doubt loathe his political policies. Although given the stubborn inequality in the country's episodic racial discussions, it's unlikely we will ever hear Obama acknowledge a matching and equal truth about some black Democrats really disliking a white president.