Why I Give My Thanks to President Obama

Mingyue Zhou/ The Bottom Line

Rafael Smith

We find ourselves at the end of the administration of a president whose eloquence has not been felt by this great nation since the days of Abraham Lincoln. His two terms have been defined by a humble presence that bows to the meek and disenfranchised yet rises to peak the largest of businessmen and politicians — who are, in some cases, questionable authoritarians. I think, though, my favorite part of his personality traits would have to be his demeanor: modest and friendly.

In his farewell State of the Union address, President of the United States, Barack Obama, literally dropped the mic to conclude his final address. Can you ever see a President doing that again? Barack Obama has also revealed his March Madness bracket each year in office, came out in support of J. Cole’s music and even moved his mother-in-law into the White House.

Obama truly fulfills the civilian requirement of running for office, as he is probably the most relatable President to ever hold the position, and I was alive while Clinton, the  self-proclaimed “First Dude” was President of the United States.

The 44th President has also been gifted with great rhetorical ability. Maybe it’s because his most recent predecessor was George W. Bush or maybe because he speaks with a charisma that rivals the divine, but as a speaker, President Obama is unparalleled in the political landscape. Obama charms crowds of Americans, making sure to establish a rapport with a very important contingent of supporters, the future generation of Americans.

If a president were judged simply by what he said rather than what he did than most would be relatively successful, but where Obama separates himself from the rest is with his results. Take the economy for example. It is easy to forget Barack Obama took office during one of the worst economic crises in our history. That great depression brought about a nationwide unemployment rate of 8 percent and led 12 major financial institutions in the U.S to risk bankruptcy, according to The Atlantic. Fact checkers have noted that unemployment has dropped to 5 percent (the lowest it has been in decades), over 9 million jobs have been created and the crime rate has dropped 16 percent.

In the past eight years, we have seen gay marriage declared legal nationwide by the Supreme Court, Iran kept from creating nuclear weapons and a prison population that has dropped for the first time in 32 years, as reported by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (a growing issue in a time where prisoners have become a commodity due to private prisons). All this, and still there is talk from the GOP that we need to “make America great again;” talk which is blasphemous to the current trajectory Obama has set for this country.

You also can’t speak about Obama’s presidency without mentioning his work in foreign affairs. Less than 2,000 servicemen and women have died at war. Obama also has negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that greatly meets worker’s needs as well as those of the environment. Obama sought diplomacy before action and it worked.

However, life isn’t all peaches and cream, and no president is without his share of critics. There are those who believe the Obama administration is working on establishing a socialist regime, and they would point to The Affordable Care Act as their primary point of evidence. Obamacare (ACA) stands by the belief that proper healthcare is a basic human right and that the previous healthcare system was dangerously inefficient. Since Obamacare has passed, the number of uninsured Americans has dropped by 15.3 million.

However, many previously insured American’s premiums have gone up while their coverage has gone down. You can see the cause for contention; one group gets elevated seemingly at the expense of another. Obama is the current champion of the weak, which makes him a huge target.

As I think about all the wonderful things that have been accomplished under Obama’s rule, I am baffled at the fire and brimstone zeal with which conservatives have attacked Obama. When I look at Barack Obama I see one of the better men of this country, a man who will be sorely missed, a man who I wish caused the 22nd amendment (instead of FDR). President Obama, I believe I speak on behalf of most our student body when I say thank you.