Stoicism emphasized a harmony between acceptance and change; the perfect balance between fate and free will. It's the wisdom to know when the leopard can't change it's spots, and when you can always teach an old dog new tricks.
To understand what Obama understands is to recognize what lies in our power, as human beings and as nations, and what lies outside it. My advice: if you want to understand America's president, read a Roman slave.
Philosophy is not just about talking or lecturing, or even reading long, dense books. In fact, it is something men and women of action use -- and have used throughout history -- to solve their problems and achieve their greatest triumphs.
Our generation needs to always remember that over a hundred years before us, people stood right where we were and felt very similar things, struggling with the same issues. People have always had to dig themselves out of messes they had nothing to do with creating.
I am not yet a stoic, although it is the philosophy that I try to live by. I lose focus sometimes, reacting to things that are outside of my control, but I consistently remind myself these things don't need to be that significant after all.
Were these philosophers crazy? They may have claimed you can think your way to happiness, but we can see why their philosophy never really became popular, and why we don't practice Stoicism today. For one, it's very selfish.