For eight years, through the good, the bad, and the tragic, there have been certain truths about our president which made living in this fractured society just the tiniest bit more bearable. Now, as we begin this painful transition from a man who governed our nation with dignity and grace, to a man who can’t seem to keep his hands- or his thumbs- to himself, let’s look back at these characteristics as we usher in a world without them.
My President Is Black
I was 15 years old the first time Barack Obama was inaugurated. For all intents and purposes, President Obama has always been my president. He took office when I was first discovering politics, when I was beginning to fully comprehend racism and sexism and oppression. When I was beginning to recognize these things as they applied to myself. Being able to say that my president was black gave me a sense of pride that I hadn’t even realized I associated with my own blackness.
Here was an example of an African American man who carried himself with dignity, who represented the side of African American culture that the rest of America so desperately wanted to pretend didn’t exist. Through countless years of racist rhetoric, unfair standards for what constituted progress, and continued disrespect, my President- my black president- carried his office and fulfilled his duties with the utmost respect and love for America and its citizens.
My President Is An Ally
How could we ever forget that being replaced is the POTUS who believed that all Americans deserve the same right to love and who worked diligently to secure that right? Because of this amazing man, I’ve seen close friends finally get married without fear of their love not being recognized by the government.
For 8 years, we were blessed with a leader who recognized the overarching truth that love is love is love is love… sorry, that got away from me there.
My President Is A Feminist
Not only did we have a POTUS who believe that women should have the right to choose what happened to their own bodies, who worked to create a world in which his daughters would be proud to live, but we had a VP who spent time fighting rape culture on college campuses.
And, just in case you weren’t already crying, Obama also work to ensure that the doors to Planned Parenthood could remain open and that Americans would retain access to affordable healthcare and birth control.
So I say now, to the man who is and will always be “My President”, thank you. Thank you for all that you have done for this country. Thank you for continuing to fight for the rights of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, and the forgotten. Thank you for your compassion, for your kindness, for your consistent strength of character.
Thank you for always choosing love, for showing us that love will always trump hate. Thank you for being an example for all young Americans, but especially for those young black Americans who didn’t believe they could achieve great things until they saw you seated in the highest office in the land.
Thank you for being exactly the president this nation deserved.
Thank you for being my hero.
Thank you for being my president.