Opinion

Thanks, Obama (And I Mean It)

Dear Mr. President, It seems like just the other day I was sitting in my 9th grade civics class watching you being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. It was a moment I thought I’d never see in my lifetime.

Dear Mr. President,

It seems like just the other day I was sitting in my 9th grade civics class watching you being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. It was a moment I thought I’d never see in my lifetime. Even as a young black girl growing up in the 21st Century who was taught that I supposedly had the world at my hands and anything was possible for me, I was still very much aware of the status of black people in America. We still had (and still have) a long way to go. I guess it goes along with W.E.B. Du Bois’ idea of double consciousness; I’m an American, but I’m also black.

That 2008 election cycle was something else. It had you and Hillary Clinton going head to head for the Democratic ticket. This was one of the most exciting times for a young girl like me. I was a little black girl getting to see a black person and a woman both having an equal opportunity at reaching the White House. It even inspired me, at 14, to run for President. I asked one of my best guy friends if he would be my running mate. I should hit him up now to see if he’s still game for 2030.

It’s crazy to think I was sitting in one of my 9th grade classes when you took the oath of office.  Now I’m in the classroom myself teaching English to 6th and 7th graders. The 7th graders recently completed a perseverance research project. I witnessed countless presentations over historical figures such as Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and even Adam Sandler. As I sat through their presentations, I often wondered who I would’ve chosen to present on. As I write this now, I realize you would’ve been the perfect candidate.

You’ve caught a lot of flak during your presidency. From racists, to death threats, to people even claiming you weren’t a natural-born citizen, you’ve managed to lead our nation with dignity and grace. Everyone may not have agreed with your ideologies or policies, but they can never say that you were a bad man.

Thank you for being a strong family man who led a scandal free presidency while displaying nothing but wholesome love and affection for your wife and two daughters. I mean, honestly;  Michelle is the baddest first lady of all time. What other president’s wife would do carpool karaoke with Missy Elliott, have Beyonce perform at her birthday party, and slay a Vogue cover all while being one of the smartest and most eloquent women in America? Thanks to you, too, Michelle.

Thank you for being cool. Who else would kick it with Kendrick Lamar in the Oval Office, wear a “Yeezy for President” t-shirt while snacking on a snow cone, or slow jam the news with Jimmy Fallon while being the commander-in-chief of the free world?

Thank you for being a strong man of great character. While I believe you’ll end up going down as one of the best presidents in history, you’ll also go down as one of the most disrespected. I’ll never understand why some people hated you so much. You’ve been called names, a liar, and disrespected to your face. However, you’ve always responded to your criticism in stride and taken the high road. It’s evident that Mrs. Obama has been preaching her “When they go low, we go high” mantra to you for a while now.

Most of all, thank you for pushing hope. You’ve reinforced the idea that anything is possible for all Americans no matter class, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. Thank you for always fighting the good fight. Thank you for remaining you through it all. Thank you for leaving the White House better than you found it. Everyone may not get it, but thank you for making myself and countless others believe in our dreams again. I know you won’t see this, but if nobody else tells you, just know that you were very much needed and very much appreciated.

Thanks, Obama (And I Mean It),

Jessica Franklin

P.S. Is there any way you stay a little while longer?

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