Democrat’s Departure: Obama’s Final Days as POTUS

As the United States (and the whole world) prepares to witness Donald Trump being sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States, Barack Obama and the First Family are at the end of a historic eight year term. Since 2008, Obama has been the symbolic head of our government. Despite being too young to have a say in either election in which Obama won, Shorian students had a lot to say about our 44th President. “Obama doesn’t get enough credit honestly, he has done some great things for America in eight years,” according to Mikhail Jacobson, senior. A teacher whom was able to vote in both elections, Media Productions teacher Tami Blaszkowski, had nothing but positive things to say about Barack Obama, “He has done a great job moving our country forward. He did it with class, style, and an obvious love for the country. I’m sad to see him go.”

A majority of current Lake Shore students were born sometime between 1998 and 2001, so either they were born during Bill Clinton’s presidency or at the beginning of George W. Bush’s presidency. After the election of 2008, which came down to a battle between Republican John McCain (V.P. candidate Sarah Palin) and Democrat Barack Obama (V.P candidate Joe Biden), with Obama winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote. In the 2012 election, Obama again won both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote against Republican Mitt Romney (V.P candidate Paul Ryan).

Some seniors, however, were old enough to vote in this year’s election in November. The 2016 election season was especially rough, with a lot of speculation and memorable moments. Republican Donald Trump (V.P. candidate Mike Pence) beat Democrat Hillary Clinton (V.P. candidate Tim Kaine) by winning the Electoral College Vote, despite losing the popular vote. On January 20th, the Inauguration Ceremony takes place in Washington D.C. and with it, the United States officially has a new President. Eric Weber, senior, has trouble taking President-Elect Trump seriously as a trustworthy leader, “I am pretty worried that Trump will do some not-so-professional things when he’s supposed to be President.”

Politics can be a game of he-said-she-said and an endless array of insults, especially during the election season. This past year was no exception by far. Donald Trump was undoubtedly the center of attention worldwide since announcing that he was running for president. At first, the nation largely regarded the news with humor. 2016 gave late night comedians plenty of material for their jokes, especially Trump. From his countless controversial comments, to his Twitter usage, The Donald couldn’t escape mockery from just about everywhere. “Saturday Night Live” recruited comedian Alec Baldwin to portray Trump on their skit show (often causing Trump to react with angry Tweets, calling the show “unwatchable”), Jimmy Fallon impersonates Trump on almost a nightly basis on “The Tonight Show” and countless other examples.

On January 10th, Obama gave his Farewell Address to the nation in Chicago, his “adopted hometown.” During the speech, he reflected on his eight years as President. The address was touching and deeply personal and the crowd was lively and emotional. There was a sense of sentiment in Obama’s voice when he spoke. His pride was prominent and he displayed an abundance of gratitude to the nation. Obama spoke about the massive progress that America has made in the past few decades, while reminding us all that there is still so much change that needs to be made in the justice system, in the field of education, and in society as a whole. Speaking on the topic of minorities, Obama made a strong point justifying the right to peaceful protests, “They’re not demanding special treatment, but equal treatment.” A good point was made when he spoke about the way that our government works, and “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.” Obama got visibly emotional when he thanked his wife, Michelle for being there by his side for 24 years of marriage, wiping away tears as he spoke. He then addressed his daughters, Malia and Sasha, saying how proud he is of them for handling life in the spotlight. He told them that being their father is the “proudest achievement” of his life. Obama thanked his Vice President Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden. The end of 2016 was a gold mine for Obama-Biden bromance memes, and it was pretty clear that their friendship is deep. Obama referred to Biden as his “brother,” and Biden tearfully did the classic finger-gun-point to Obama, signifying their friendship. Also, on January 12th, Obama surprised Biden by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, further emphasising the strong relationship that exists between the two. Obama also asked the country to come together in unity, “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life.” After the address was over, it dawned on the country that this is history unfolding before our eyes. Once Trump is sworn into office, Obama will be regular citizen (with a lifetime of accomplishments) and the White House will be occupied by a new family, the Trumps. Regardless of opinions, the presidency of Barack Obama was historic on an unprecedented scale, electing the first black President is arguably the highlight of the 21st century as far as racial progress goes. Despite The United States of America will be forever changed as a result of the legacy left behind by our 44th President. His motto was “Yes We Can,” a very fitting phrase for a nation faced with obstacles that may seem difficult to overcome, a promise to the people that reassures progress and better days to come. He later told the country that we turned “Yes We Can” into “Yes We Did.” Here’s to 2017…A year of change.

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brandonyoung@shorian.org

I am a senior this year. I have been on The Shoreline staff for all four years of high school.