We’ll really miss you, Barry
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
For many young people, including myself, Barack Obama was the first President of the United States that we remember following and cheering for. I was 13 when he first came into power, and he’s unfortunately now leaving after two full terms. I quite literally grew up with this man as one of the most powerful people in the world. Even as a Canadian, his presidency made me feel safe, knowing the world was in good hands.
Obama inherited a country decimated economically by someone who many consider to be one of the worst presidents ever. Obama was able to stimulate the economy and leave a legacy of 75 consecutive months of job growth. Republicans constantly attempted to block his proposed bills, but he was still able to pass the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. While it’s flawed, it still provided some sort of health care coverage to 30 million people, improving and saving millions of lives.
Internationally, Obama interfered in a way that made the US respected without being world-dominating. Things like the Iran nuclear deal and his choice to interfere in the Middle East may have gone a long way towards stability and preventing an apocalypse in the region. Obama even worked with Vladimir Putin on gradual nuclear disarmament.
Inside and outside of politics, Obama is charismatic, intellectual, and downright human. He’s able to connect with common people on a personal level, sharing interests, fears, and hopes. He had tough and serious discussions about social issues. He engaged with a divided and diverse America using his own unique background as a liftoff point. One never gets tired of seeing photos of a smiling Obama, whether he’s playing with children or hosting a White House visitor.
By no means was Obama perfect, and much of his work deserves criticism. His decisions to authorize drone warfare and ignorance of the surveillance scandals will not reflect well on his legacy. Many Americans, particularly on the right, criticize his inability to create true progress or change. Obama may not have been the serious progressive many hoped he was, but he was still great at his job, especially compared to his predecessors.
No matter who won the presidential race, Obama would be a tough act to follow. There will never be anyone like him. He will be remembered fondly and missed dearly.