A little over eight years ago when I sat in my dorm room in Lincoln, Nebraska filling out my absentee ballot I could not have predicted all the emotions I would feel today, on Barack Obama’s last day as President of our country. I believed in him and had no hesitation voting for him (not once but twice), but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how attached and proud I am when I think of the fact that I got to call him my President, my leader, for some pretty formative years of my life.
I’ll never presume to say that his presidency was prefect and that all his polices were without a single fault, but I am hard pressed to think any president will have a flawless tenure. However there are so many things that I have watched this man do that I thought would only happen much, much, later in my lifetime. To watch a sitting President declare his support of same-sex marriage and to throw his support behind the LGBTQ+ community still makes my heart beat fast and tears form in my eyes. To be able to have access to health care for the first time in years for not only me, but millions of Americans is a feeling of some weight being lifted away. To know that my President believes in equal payment and treatment for women makes me feel validated and hopeful that closing the pay gap is that much closer. To have an administration take on the issue of sexual assault with such passion as this one, it makes me so thankful.
And these are just a start to the list of all the true good that Obama and his administration have accomplished in the last years. Which leaves out all the personal good he and his family have given to us as our leaders and as representations of our country in the eyes of other countries. My respect and gratitude is indescribable, I could not be more happy or proud that this is the first President I ever voted for. I’ll forever look back on the two times I got to fill in a circle beside the names Barack Obama and Joe Biden and feel an intense wave of emotion.
Tomorrow brings about a lot of fear and frustration, but if I allow myself just to think back on all the positive from these last four years and all the hope that it has built up in me and allowed me to believe I know that as a whole we can make it through. We will be vigilant, we will have our eyes and ears open and we will hold this new administration accountable. I have no doubt that we as a country not only can persevere but we will persevere.
So one final time I’d like to say with all the sincerity in my body, Thanks Obama. You’ve changed this country and the world by seeing and encouraging the kind and the good in us and giving us the hope that we can make a difference, can make a change.
Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can.