I was 17 years old the day that Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Never in a million years did anyone think Obama, a black man, would become president. At this point in my life I had only lived through 3 presidents. When I was born, George H. W. Bush was President followed by Bill Clinton. I was in the 5th grade on 9/11 and George W. Bush was president. I also remember the controversy surrounding his elections. I was becoming more aware of politics then, or so I thought.
When it was voting season, I honestly wasn’t paying much attention to politics as I should have. I couldn’t vote, so why care? Now I see how important it is to keep yourself aware of not just of those running for President, but all the politicians in general.
In 2008, I was a Senior in high school and my mother had passed away after a 3 year battle with lung cancer two weeks prior. Now, while I wasn’t able to vote, I knew how big of a deal this was. My mother was able to vote before her death, thankfully. Although my grandfather, who had passed in 2006, wouldn’t witness this moment, my grandma born in 1932 would. Regardless of the outcome, she would be able to cast her ballot for a black man.
The day, well night, he won I stayed up to watch the results with my dad. Could this man really do this? Could he really become President of the United States? He did. He won. The news flipped to footage of the streets of New York flooded with people screaming and yelling in celebration. Young Jeezy’s ‘My President is Black’ became a reality.
When he was inaugurated in January of 2009, there was a school assembly to watch this historic moment. I remember thinking, along with many others, would there be any assassination attempts. I mean, this was a BIG DEAL. We had never had a black president and a lot of people just did not agree.
Obama became President my Senior year of high school and he would go for reelection my Senior year of college. This would be my first time voting for a President. I had done my due diligence at 18 and had voted before, but THIS, this was big. I would get to say and tell my future children (even grandchildren) that I voted for a black man to be President. Hell, I can go on to tell them that I voted for a woman to be President.
Now here we are 8 years later and Barack Obama is being called one of the worst Presidents of the United States. “He’s horrible.” “He’s destroyed this country.” “Donald Trump will ‘Make America Great Again’.” What matters to me is that gas prices, under the Obama administration, were at an all time low and that employment rates had never been higher. Again, that matters to me.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, no doubt. Yet, a lot of these opinions hold no weight or validity and it’s more “racism” as some may say. That is definitely more fact than opinion. I see it as people talking out of their asses based on their dislike of Barack Obama and based off others disliking him. When asked, “Why do you dislike Barack Obama?” I could just imagine someone saying, “…because he’s black.” Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. Still in all, a lot of their reasons are just that he “destroyed” and “ruined” America. Yet, my question is “how?” If you must speak about someone is so horrible, further explain your reasoning.
Also, Barack Obama is just one man. He can’t snap his fingers and make things happen. I strongly believe in my generation and the generations after me voting for the “little people” such as the mayors, governors, congressmen, senators, etc. THESE are the people that hold weight. Barack Obama can only do so much when you vote for him when majority of the United States Congress is filled with Republicans. In order for him to fully play his part, you have to play yours. If you are in this country, the United States of the America, and you have the right to vote, without a doubt YOU SHOULD!
Regardless of whether you voted for Donald Trump or not, the reality is, he will be inaugurated and cemented in history forever as President Trump on January 20, 2017. Now that’s a, “Who the hell would’ve thought!” People are instantly going to jump on “what’s new.” The issue that I’ve always had with Trump is how he speaks to people, about people, even mocking them. Before I digress, this post isn’t about that.
I could care less what people have to say about Barack Obama. He was my President. I lived to see him make history, serve 2 terms, and deal so eloquently with every single hater. If you ever want to learn how to deal with a hater, someone that goes out of their way to bring you down and try to break you, just look at Obama. He’s an example to all that you can still be great regardless of how many people talk negatively about you. He had little support and this is where personal feelings clouded what was better for the country.
Let’s not forget the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. At 25 years old, I haven’t lived to see as much as my grandmother has, clearly. Yet, I haven’t witnessed a First Lady as amazing and proactive as Michelle Obama. She did not just sit back and ride the wave of being in the White House. She’s a Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate. She has showed girls of all color that you too can be great. She took her platform of First Lady to another level and her work should never be ignored or condemned. She took as much heat as Obama. She’s been called names that are inappropriate and disgusting to refer to any woman as, especially not the First Lady.
When they go low, we go high.
To Malia and Sasha Obama, you two cannot go without mention as you shared your father and mother with the world. You two grew up before the citizens of America and beyond. Of course you’ll get heat, both of you already have, that will be an attempt to bring scandal to your family name and try to break you. Yet, you two have amazing parents to keep you grounded and who have raised you to deal with it all.
My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.
I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.
I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:
Yes, we can.
-President Barack Obama
There have been plenty of scandals surrounding presidents and their families, but the Obama’s are as close to perfection as we’ll ever see. I say as close as no one is perfect. They will truly be missed. Thank you Barack Obama for 8 years. Thank you for your service to this country. Thank you for rising above all the hate to make America better. Thank you.
Cheers to the most amazing POTUS and FLOTUS of my time, President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama. You said you could and you did! Thank you!