Eight years ago, I was so excited for President Obama to be inaugurated that I could barely contain myself.
I’d recently been to Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, where I had many conversations in broken Spanish about Barack Obama, sharing excitement with my new international friends over the choices of my home country. I was ready to see what amazing connections were ahead for not just me as a person, but for our country as a whole.
In 2008, I had the privilege of casting my first official Presidential vote for a man I believed in, a man who was classy and inspiring when he came to speak at Mizzou, a man who admitted his flaws, who wasn’t afraid to be genuine with the public (as much as a politician ever is), and a man who I hoped would make me proud to be American again. Then, I’d shared the anticipation then celebration of election night (and a truly delectable fruit pizza) with friends.
In 2012, I once again cast my vote for President Obama and Uncle Joe. I couldn’t wait to write yet another congratulatory letter to Michelle and BoBama (and the girls, too, I guess). I even stuck a bumper sticker on the back of Chompers.
You know those things are forever, fam.
So many of my fellow voters had been disillusioned by what they saw as his short comings in his first term that I found myself constantly defending my enthusiasm to vote for him again. Which prompted me to make my election blog focused on celebrating his successes (https://obamawesome.wordpress.com/) rather than on knocking the competition, like 2008’s 72 People Who Would Make a Better President than McCain. Because Uncle Joe is right.
President Obama never once disappointed me. He even achieved more of what he promised than I originally thought possible. He has been president for the entirety of my pseudo-adult, post-college life. Facing a political atmosphere so very different from what I’ve become a functioning almost-grown-up in is rather intimidating, but I owe it to myself and to President Obama to keep standing up for and working for the betterment of my fellow humans.
What I’m thankful for, more than anything else in the past eight years, is the class, compassion, and level-headedness he embodied while ushering the United States into a more inclusive, equal era. Nothing that happens for the next four years can ever take away the last eight. Even as Obama is leaving, he’s still looking out for us, still the guy who’s supporting us, and telling us that “We’re going to be okay.”
Thank you all for being there for us, and for each other.