It is very hard to say goodbye to President Barack Obama. It could have been a bittersweet moment if Hillary Clinton had won and became the first female US president, unfortunately, it is just a bitter moment. President Obama is the first US president I ever really knew. He has impressed me with his ability to speak with eloquence and charisma. More importantly, he has handled many difficult situations with nuance and diplomacy. With that said, there are probably failures that had left a mark on his conscience particularly on the issue of gun control and the use of drones in the Middle East. Although he might not have completely delivered on his promises, he has never engaged in any action or rhetoric that would incite division, disrespect, or hatred.
President Obama has accomplished many things during his time in office. At the international level, the Obama administration brought about the assassination of the world’s most wanted terrorist, the nuclear deal with Iran, and the removal of sanctions against Cuba. At the domestic level, the Obama administration brought about affordable health care, legalization of same-sex marriage, and the recovery from the economic recession. People often disregard the complexity of the political process and system in which the president operates. There can be issues of bureaucratic politics, personal relations dynamics, and the ever-changing domestic and international context and the interaction between these factors that could have impacted the president’s efforts. Given this complexity, I think President Obama has done a great job in making changes on issues that he truly believed in.
The other day I was watching Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”. Towards the end of the documentary, Moore showed that after Obama’s election, the American people began to stand up for themselves to bring about change. The people were inspired by Obama’s election, they believed that change was possible. Although the enthusiasm faded during the presidency, for a period of time, the people were inspired which has allowed the US to progress and recover from the economic recession. The same cannot be said about the election of Donald Trump. The election of Trump has allowed racists to be more vocal about their hatred, actions that have been considered as unacceptable are now legitimized. Trump’s hateful rhetoric about minority groups has created fear among the population. President Obama is not a perfect president but he did inspire the people and led the people in the right direction.
There are still a lot of unfinished work for Obama and I hope that he continues to fight for those changes. I will miss President Barack Obama.