This week is the Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
I have to laugh a bit… Remember last year when people said that as a joke?
This last week people have been preparing to end “Transition 2017” and move fully into this new administration. Which includes President Barack Obama, who gave his farewell speech this week. He took office when I was 14, I didn’t know that much about politics. I thought he was alright. People didn’t seem to like Bush anymore, although I thought he had done fine under the circumstances. Bush was the only president I had really known, I don’t remember Clinton. I was on board for a change in power and didn’t really care who won that election, I only found it funny that Obama’s name looked so much like “Barracks”.
Avoiding discussion about his policies or arguing about his success rate, I’d like to say a few words about him. President Obama was the president when I actually started to care about the world enough to pay attention. He came in on a message of hope, a message of “Yes We Can”, and at the time I think I took it for granted. Back then it felt like messages of hope were an obvious part of a political campaign, because everyone wanted what was best for everyone. When Obama said he wanted America to succeed, I said “Duh.” Today, we have winners and losers, and the “We” doesn’t mean America, it means the half of America that you’ve chosen to align with.
But President Obama never made things feel that way. Sure, his policies were definitely partisan and in line with his party’s platforms. But he never made it about his party, or the people who voted for him. He never tried to tell any American they were better or worse than any other American. He always spoke as if he wanted everyone to succeed together. He carried this attitude through his whole administration, right up until this last week:
Thank you for everything. My last ask is the same as my first. I'm asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours.
— President Obama (@POTUS) January 11, 2017
President Obama was constantly trying to lift our spirits and dedicate himself to us. He was the first Social Media President, but he didn’t fill his social media with attacks. Instead we saw throughout his presidency photos and videos of him meeting with children, the elderly, and veterans. We saw “Congratulations” and “Thanks” more times then I can count. We saw him reach out to common citizens doing extraordinary things, promote causes and charities trying to make a difference, and meet with world leaders with the goal of bringing people together. We saw him love his wife and his daughters in the public sphere. He openly supported our tech industry, sports, and entertainment. He was even the first president to publish an academic president while in office. And I’m sure history books will publish the picture of him waiting in the room as one of the most feared men in America was being brought down.
And on top of that, he slow jammed the news. Trump can’t slow jam the news!
What I’m trying to say is that, in my opinion, Barack Obama was a model leader. He led through inspiration, he used his power and celebrity to uplift people, and most of all, he made you believe that he cared. He talked directly with the people and listened to them. He was intelligent and thoughtful. He knew when to be fun and laugh at his own jokes, when to cry, when to stand up, and when to applaud. And I think that, no matter the policies or the politics of our future presidents, if they lead like Obama, then they’ll gain my respect.