Thanks, Obama

By Sarah Schroeder

 

Tonight is Obama’s last night in the White House. It’s no secret that I love President Barack Obama and the First Family. My love began in 6th grade when I learned that the senator running for president had the same birthday as me (August 4th, in case you were wondering). While this is obviously a trivial reason, my admiration of the President has only grown since then.

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President Obama’s swearing in ceremony, January 2009. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times

Over the past 8 years, the phrase ‘thanks, Obama’ has become popular slang. While usually a sarcasm joke to blame all of your problems on the president, it is a funny joke that surprisingly fits most annoying situations.

Tomorrow we will say goodbye to the Obama administration, and welcome in a new face with a new set of challenges. Today President Obama published a letter to the American people on his Facebook page detailing the past 8 years. The post is worth reading and shows the spirit of the President that I have know. A message of hope and resiliency, and a genuine desire for the greater good for all Americans. Regardless of political affiliations or ideology, this is a message we can all believe in, even if we have different ways of getting there.

“And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the People.’ ‘We shall overcome.’

Yes, we can.” -President Obama

Civil discourse is more than just tolerating what someone you disagree with has to say, because that is just not good enough. We need to understand and accept. It’s knowing that we are all on the same team and we need each other to make this work. As President Obama said, “the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.'”

Thanks, Obama. Thanks for treating the presidency with the honor and grace it deserves. Thank you for leading without ego and for being a “master class in dignity and tolerance,” according to the Washington Post. Thanks for protecting our environment, our healthcare, and women’s rights. Thanks for supporting equality and placing a focus on veteran’s affairs. This last one may be most important, especially given our current political climate, thanks for leading a scandal-free administration and White House.

While this is a post filled with praise for the President, I would be remise if I didn’t include that I am just as willing to criticize Obama’s presidency. While no politician is perfect and problems with Congress have occurred, Obama is not free from blame. He largely ignored the issue of poverty and gave the White House Press Corps little access. Though these, and other issues exist, I am so proud to have grown up with Obama as my President.

Obama Inauguration

President Obama’s inauguration, 2009. Photo by Saul Loeb/Pool Photographer.

For one last time, for these reasons and so much more–

Thank you, President Obama.

Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will view them with indulgence; and that after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as I myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws, under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.” (George Washington’s farewell speech, as told by Hamilton)
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