by Taylor Godfrey ’19
Asst. Opinion Editor
Friday’s inauguration marks the end of an era. Eight years may not seem like a long term of office for a President, but when I look back on myself and the world eight years ago, I find that a lot has changed.
I remember watching President Obama’s inauguration at school. The teachers wheeled in the ancient television on its rickety old cart and we all sat in awe of the events happening before us. I could feel, even then, what a big deal it was.
And now, one day away from the inauguration of the next President of the United States, I cannot help but feel that we have taken a step back. I do not want this step back to go by unnoticed, to blend into the background, overshadowed by ridiculous tweets and Saturday Night Live sketches.
This transition is important and I have a feeling we will all need to work very hard in the upcoming years. Nothing about Trump’s presidency will be simple for either side. His campaign promises seemed straightforward, but even those are beginning to be called into question. He is relenting on every point, from Mexico paying for the “great wall” to his pledge that Hillary Clinton would see jail time.
When President Obama originally ran for office, his campaign focused on hope for a new and better future. It is this hope that must carry us through the next four years.
I do not think I realized how lucky we were these past years under Obama’s presidency. President Obama’s terms were relatively scandal free—especially in comparison to the new President-elect who has not even made it into office yet.
That is not to say that everyone would agree with me about Obama’s time in office. There are many people who are strict partisans or just hold opposing values who have spent these past eight years calling for his impeachment. But we must strive to look back on Obama’s presidency without the intense emotions we feel now.
So much has gotten better over these past eight years. From establishing better relations with Cuba to expanding the amount of people that have health insurance, to ensuring the rights of everyone to marry whomever they wish. These were successes that were a long time coming, but that also took a lot of work to achieve.
And these were not all President Obama’s successes alone. While Trump promises the American people that he will fix all of their problems, Obama encouraged people to help themseleves as well. He knew that change does not happen because the powerful make empty promises, but when a leader is willing to listen and his or her people have the courage to say something.
In his farewell address, Obama said he wanted to serve as president, “Not to score points or take credit, but to make people’s lives better.” When you compare this to Trump’s angry tweets about how he was a better host on a television show he is not even supposed to be a part of anymore, the difference is clear. I am nervous about having a president whose main reason for being president seems to be wanting to win an election.
Obama’s presidency will always be an important one, like it or not. He was the first black president. I think he deserves to be remembered for what he did do. He bettered the lives of scores of Americans over the past eight years.
He was not perfect, but I will miss President Obama. I already do. And I think, from what has transpired these last two months, over the next four years the rest of the country may begin to agree with me.