Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grieving the Obama's Leaving the White House

Ever since President Obama’s farewell speech about a week ago, I tear up anytime I think about or hear/see something about him or his family. This state of mine specifically started when the President took a moment to thank Michelle and his girls: the moment he took out that cloth to wipe away his tear(s) and the camera focused on Michelle and one of the girls trying to hold themselves together: I think I’m grieving Barack stepping down as President and the Obama family leaving the White House.

By Lawrence Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ll mention some of the realistic side of things before pouring praise onto the President. Barack was not a perfect President.

  • He caused a lot of harm in his orders to use drones. Even using drones perfectly still has an unsettling feeling, considering how much discomfort I felt about GWB using shock and awe air strikes to defeat Iraq rather than send ground troops in.
  • Barack has the title of “Deporter in Chief”, even though Trump will take on the title with more gusto.
  • He never seemed to have a good way to address police violence against black people and other people of color. Arguably, though, this problem may have come more from his idealism and general goodness in all people that have passed the line of irredeemable evil.
  • And I bet given more time, more people, and/or more research, a list of many disappointments and features worth censure could be made.
Despite such a list, though, the balance of his accomplishments and failures lean more toward one of the best Presidents of the United States I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. Just some amazing things he accomplished that make me really happy:
I’m sure at least a few people will feel justified to protest against a couple, a few, or all of the above accomplishments I’ve listed. This list provides, to me though, his most unequivocal accomplishments that have bettered this country and have increased the acceptance of more humans into the circle of deserving kind, respectable, and considerate treatment because they are a unique combination of matter, time, events, and consciousness worthy of appreciation.

These policies and appointments just touch the surface of President Obama and his family entering my heart in a way that no Presidential family has. Despite criticism that Michelle received for saying, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback”, I felt what she said when I first heard those words. I feel them even moreso now as I feel that pride fall away into despairing fear because in less than 48 hours, President-elect Trump will take office.

The Obama’s didn’t just give hope lip service. They embodied it and projected it out into the world. Just re-read the accomplishments that I listed above, the expansion of humanity in law and government that they created and the acceptance created. Just some of her initiatives and actions to improve the health and state of being of the American people:
And that’s how much I could find with minimal research. I can only imagine how much more I could find if I looked longer and harder.

I feel like it comes down to this, though: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Robinson Obama feel very much like loving Parents of the United States more than President and First Lady. They sincerely care about the United States and the world, and they did (will do) everything in their power to make it better. They want to boost us up, help us become better, inspire the hope and courage in ourselves, and when things go south, they want to comfort us. Even during times of frustration and disbelief about horrible things, the President showed more disbelief and disappointment than blind anger that would seek to engage in violence or tirades (unlike a soon-to-be-President that many in our country fear).

Along with their inspiration and creating hope, the Presidential had a level of sincerity and a genuine disposition. They let their guard down and showed themselves as real people. President Obama acted as a role model as President seeking to do the best he could, but Barack, Michelle, and their girls provided a role model for family. Barack and Michelle fist bumping, their public displays of affection, their dancing together, their verbal expressions of love and faith in each other. I can’t remember any other Presidential couple showing such public effusiveness and comfort in front of the American people, in a wholesome and supportive, not indecent, way.

I always gave a side eye to people who showed emotion during political campaigns or for the candidates they supported. Fascination with the royalty in England always puzzled me. Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, however, have contributed to me feeling the kind of emotion and inspiration that role models can give people.

I’m even grateful to feel this sadness about them leaving the White House, even though I expect we’ll see them plenty after this Friday (maybe not right away. . .they can use a vacation!). Maybe they won’t hold any political office, but I have a hard time seeing them stay in the background when the country and world still has far to go for improvement and to be engorged in hope.

Thank you, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. You have provided us a bright star of hope from the top of the world. I hope won’t need the remembrance of your time at the head too much to carry us through the next four to eight years. Even if we don’t, though, I will look back fondly on the years between January 2009 and January 2017 as a time of hope, pride, positivity, and inspiration to more everyday to make the world a better place and spread kindness, compassion, and the broadening of our definition of humanity.

Enjoy your much-deserved vacation. I look forward to seeing you again as a model to aspire toward.

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