Obama’s America : The Legacy of the 44th President


On the morning of January 20th, we ushered in a new president and a new era. As we look towards the possibilities of the future, I feel compelled to take a look back at the “Obama years.”
Barack Obama will be remembered as the first black president of the United States, but is that all we will be able to say about a man who led our beloved country for eight years? Not only did his election make history, but I believe he will be considered one of the best presidents this country has elected. Obama made great strides economically, environmentally, and socially. Despite some harsh judgments made of him, I believe that history will eventually find President Barack Obama to be the greatest leader of the early 21st century.

One of the most difficult aspects of being president of the United States might be actually getting things accomplished, especially when it comes to foreign policies. Despite this, Obama took the initiative on the world stage. One of his greatest accomplishments was the international agreement with China and 195 other countries to commit to reducing pollution. It is a remarkable accomplishment considering that global warming was still widely debated at the time. Obama recognized the importance of protection and preservation early on, and made it his duty to ensure a future not only for this country, but for the world. His investment in clean energy both through packages including the stimulus package from 2009, and his plans such as The Clean Power Plan, gives us another chance of saving this planet.

Obama’s military stance was often criticized. He might have been viewed as a weak military chief, but the best kind of leader avoids war. Obama has been able to accomplish great things without unnecessarily risking American lives. He helped South Sudan declare their independence, tightened sanctions on Iran, helped Libyan civilians overthrow their former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, ended the war in Iraq, devised a plan to end the war in Afghanistan, and eliminated Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Obama also focused on veterans by increasing the Department of Veterans Affairs budget, signed a GI bill providing multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans, and offered $78 billion in tuition assistance for veterans. Obama was committed to not only honoring but supporting the men and women who serve this country, so that they too, could share in the American dream they risked their lives for.

People don’t always recognize how much Obama has done for this country economically. In 2008, the U.S. was in its greatest economic recession since The Great Depression, and in response, Obama immediately passed a stimulus package. A year later, more jobs were being created than were being lost, and the country was back on its feet with 3.7 million new private-sector jobs. He also passed mini stimuli to help families get back on their feet by extending unemployment insurance, and cutting payroll taxes. Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, to regulate the financial sector and ensure that there wouldn’t be another episode like The Great Recession. He brought back GM and Chrysler to the U.S., turning around the American Auto Industry. Obama was also the first American president to create universal health insurance. Although The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has problems that need to be fixed, it has insured 32 million Americans who previously couldn’t afford basic medical care.

In the new president’s inauguration speech, he talked about how terrible the state of our country is, and maybe he’s right: tensions are high between races, unemployment is still a problem, terrorism is a constant threat, the divide between parties might split the nation, and it feels like we are experiencing the deinstitutionalization of our government. I’m not going to be naive; Obama didn’t save us from everything, but he did help this country in more ways than we always realize.

We still have a lot of work to do, but thanks to President Barack Obama, we have a real chance of making America great. We need to remember that this democracy is by the people and for the people. So, on behalf of the American people, and not ironically, I say, Thanks, Obama.