A farewell to America’s now former President Barack Obama

Aidan Denehy, Crier Staff

Recently, the United States of America officially inaugurated our 45th President, Donald Trump; like it or not, that’s the truth. Despite the arguments, the truth is that Donald Trump is officially our President.

However, this piece is not to argue the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency. Rather, the aim of this piece is to look back on the legacy of President 44, Barack Obama.

As many who know me are likely aware, I was not a fan of many of the actions Barack Obama undertook as president.

However, I do not think there can be any argument that the Obama family has certainly led the United States with grace, dignity, and respect, even when confronted with ignorance, indecency and disrespect.

Although I would find it difficult to argue that Obama has been this nation’s greatest president, I believe it is impossible to effectively argue that he is this nation’s worst, and it would even be difficult to argue that he was a bad president.

Flickr\ Marc Nozell
Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

A large part of Barack Obama’s legacy is also, in my opinion, a large reason for many (unjust) negative depictions of him and his family. To put it bluntly, that factor is race.

Barack Obama was the first president of African-American heritage in this nation’s history, and that is a great thing. Of course, his race has led to a flurry of racist comments, veiled or otherwise.

I do not find it coincidental that our nation’s first (and so far only) First Lady of African-American lineage has also been decried as ‘ugly’ or ‘manly.’

Indeed, one of the things that has been proven in the past 8 years is that, as much as we would like to think otherwise, racism is certainly not dead in the United States, even within the political sphere.

To put race aside, however, Barack Obama has also led the country into a state of political polarity- however, I would argue that this is not due to the man himself, but is rather due to the unwillingness of either political party to compromise on issues.

Certain pieces of legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act, have rallied intense support (mostly from those who lean on the left side of the aisle) and have generated and equally intense and opposite reaction from many who stand to the right.

However, what many who play the political game and use success stories of ACA fail to remember is that it is a historic first- it certainly steps beyond anything we have had previously, even Medicaid and Medicare, and I am in favor of certain parts of ACA legislation for limits it enacts on Insurance Companies.

For once, legislation has been passed that values human lives for more than their sheer monetary value- and the fact that something of the sort has never been realized before is certainly on the hands of both major political parties.

His words have been able to calm the nation, to help us mourn through tragedies, and to instill conviction in constituents to call on their legislators to get their jobs done.

Whether or not you like the content of Obama’s messages is your own opinion, but I think it certainly stands that Obama is one of the great orators of our time.

Obama’s legacy falters in the area of foreign policy. The disastrous removal of American forces from the Middle East (highlighted in one of my previous pieces) shows the disconnection of our President, and many American politicians, from reality- they would rather cling to ideals and votes than face the reality of the situation.

In the power vacuum left behind by the United States, ISIS has formed, and the Obama Administration was slow to respond- and when they did respond, it wasn’t enough.

Consistently, the Obama Administration demonstrated itself in the realm of foreign policy to be weak and willing to back down when confronted by serious issues.

Another example of this attitude is the Annexation of Crimea; actually, let’s just take Russo-American relations in general. Consistently, the previous administration was wont to issue threats which, when called upon by Vladimir Putin, were backed away from.

The Obama Administration threatened the Russians as though they were our enemies, and then conceded to them as though they were our allies.

That’s just the start; there’s also the remilitarization of Japan, the killing of Ambassador Stevens, and various other blunders in foreign policy, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll stop there.

However, our 44th President’s legacy, in my opinion, is that of a solid social thinker, and one who did have the best interests of our nation at heart.

Even if the actions of Barack Obama did not always end in the results that were likely intended, I have never held the opinion that some carry- that Obama was malicious or had negative intentions for our nation.

We had in Barack Obama a president who, in spite of racism and condescension, managed to lead our people with dignity and strength. And so for that, President Obama, thank you.