President Obama – Farewell, We Will Miss You!

President Obama gave his farewell speech today in Chicago, the video is below. After eight years of having a president that geniunely cared about people and didn't seem to have any hidden agendas, he will surely be missed, especially by his supporters. I suspect that after President Elect Trump has been in office for a while, even some of President Obama detractors will begin missing him as well. 

Prior to becoming president, Senator Barack Obama ran a near perfect campaign devoid of any major mistakes. While running for re-election, the worst thing many of his opponents and detractors could say about him was that he was too nice. 

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President Barack Obama will leave office without ever having been marred by a single scandal or embarrassment during his eight years in the White House. He has achieved icon status and is a hero in the eyes of many. Obama set the bar pretty high for future presidents and his presidency will influence this country for decades because of the positive example he has provided to younger generations.

Below is a video of people expressing their favorite Obama moment and a short essay, with some edits, that my oldest son wrote last year concerning Obama's legacy.

Obama's Legacy

What do you think President Obama’s legacy will be in 50 years?  What will be seen as his main accomplishments? Failures?

When then Senator Obama was running for president, my father, mother, brother and I went downtown to hear him speak on the grounds of the St. Louis arch. It was a chilly morning and my family stopped for hot chocolate as we walked to the St. Louis River Front to hear his speech.

Oct 18, 2008 – Then Senator BARACK OBAMA speaks to a crowd of over 100,000 gathered underneath the St. Louis Gateway Arch

When we first arrived, there was a thin crowd, but by the time Obama appeared, I was amazed at the size of the crowd. News reports estimated 100,000 people attended that speech. There was an electricity in the air throughout a very diverse crowd. I remember seeing people in the crowd crying both black and white. I was a freshman in high school and I remember thinking, that it was too bad that I wasn't old enough to vote for the person who might become the first black President of the United States.

I believe President Obama will be viewed as one of America's great Presidents. His most obvious legacy is being the first African American President, which many people prior to his election didn't believe was possible. President Obama made good on his main campaign promises of health care and ending the Iraq war, he also:

  • Prevented another great depression,
  • provided the biggest middle class tax cut in history,
  • restored confidence and improved America's image abroad,
  • saved the auto industry,
  • expanded Stem cell research,
  • improved fuel efficiency standards,
  • captured Osama Bin Laden,
  • provided payment to cheated minority farmers thru the Claims Resolution Act,
  • ended don't ask – don't tell in the military,
  • reformed student loans,
  • reformed credit cards,
  • passed Wall Street reforms,
  • created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,
  • ended President Bush's Torture policies,
  • signed a new START Treaty with Russia,
  • increased support for veterans,
  • secured the border,
  • cracked down on predator practices of "for profit colleges,"
  • got almost every state to reformed education through the Race to the Top incentive program,
  • passed the Food Safety Modernization Act,
  • passed Fair Sentencing Act (making cocaine sentencing a little more fair),
  • appointed two highly qualified Supreme Court Justices,
  • Invested more in green energy than ever before,
  • improved school nutrition thru the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act,
  • expanded Hate Crimes Protections: Signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act,
  • expanded DOJ focus on ‘implicit’ or ‘unconscious’ bias, by police officers and departments
  • renewed relations with Cuba,
  • for more see: 400 Obama Accomplishments

Unfortunately, people have short memories, they have forgotten how bad the situation was when Senator Obama was elected President. The world economy was in danger of collapse because of bad bank investments. Much of the world had lost faith in the United States and the election of President Obama almost single handedly provided renewed faith in the United States. Obama even started working on solutions before he was inaugurated. Black people in this country who have for centuries been enslaved, oppression and denied opportunity had proof that hope and "change" had actually occurred.

President Obama's main failure was not providing better protection for home owners during the banking crisis. When he bailed out banks, he should have also bailed out home owners. Millions of people lost their homes because the banks who got bailed out with tax money only cared about greater profits.

People who thought President Obama was somehow going to wave a magic wand and make all their problems disappear had unreasonable expectations. Even though the President of the United States is considered the most powerful man in the world, his power has limits which can be checked by either the Congress or the Supreme Court.  

Over the past eight years of his presidency, President Obama has responded exceptionally to a number of crises including: the financial crisis and war he inherited, the nation's first Ebola cases, multiple mass shooting events. I was especially moved when he stated, "If I had a son, he would have looked liked Travon Martin" and when he sent his Attorney General, Eric Holder in response to the Ferguson Protest to access the situation and provide assurance that an investigation would occur. In fact, I was surprised to learn about all the work that the Attorney General was doing to reduce incidents of unfair policing even before Ferguson. Obama's $800 billion economic stimulus can only be compared to President Roosevelt's New Deal.

President Obama has provided an entire generation the image of a black president. My 16 year old brother and those younger than him, don't really remember any President other than Obama, so they will never see becoming President as an impossibility.