A Farewell to President Obama
Emotion is the death of reason
Regardless of political affiliation, we should always be thankful for our presidents.We all know it’s not an easy job; I don’t know of any other job that makes young men old like the presidency does. Obviously it has its benefits, like being the leader of the free world, but this doesn’t come without a price.
Our presidents are people too.
As someone who wants to have a family one day, I can’t image the toll taken on a family unit throughout the course of a presidency, not to mention the endless critiques and the weight of an entire people on one pair of shoulders. You’re never off the clock, and the decisions you make literally affect millions of people.
One can imagine why they age so quickly.
But even past the overwhelming stress and responsibility he bore, I'm grateful for President Obama as a person.
Though I'm a Republican, I’m grateful for the work he did. I’m grateful for his work in appointing judges and supporting an agenda to increase personal freedom through marriage equality.
I’m grateful for his leadership through dark moments these past eight years, problems that can no more be attributed to him than 9/11 can be to Bush.
I'm grateful for his messages on national unity, personal responsibility, and the importance of diversity of thought, beliefs you might not be aware he held unless you turned off the radio and listened to what he had to say.
I’m also grateful for our disagreements.
I’m grateful I disagreed with him about the way best to provide health insurance for those who can’t fund it themselves. I’m grateful I disagreed with him about the way best to save lives through the regulation of firearms. I’m grateful I disagreed with him about the way best to promote peace in the Middle East and around the world.
You see, though we disagreed, we merely disagreed about the way to make things better, the way to save lives, the way to promote peace—not whether or not those were worthwhile endeavors.
That’s not something a lot of countries can say.
I can honestly say that, whether I liked it or not, in everything he did, I saw good intentions. I suppose you could insert a quip here about the inferiority of intentions to outcomes, but I’d just like to appreciate the luxury of having a well-meaning leader for the time being.
This isn’t to say he was undeserving of the criticism he received, in the same way that future presidents will be deserving of the opposition they receive. But more important than partisan agendas is the realization that before we are Republicans, Democrats or Independents, we are Americans.
It doesn’t matter if I’m his biggest fan, Obama is my president. He’s an American, and that bond is more important than an arbitrary and shifting political label.
So, for all you’ve done, I want to say thank you. Thank you for bearing the responsibility of leading the greatest nation on earth, and regardless of the vitriol and negativity you received at times, I think we’re better off for having you. Now go enjoy retirement.
In the last issue of first semester, I was pleased to see Dr. Trudy Holmes-Caines’ response to an article I wrote a couple of months back. After all, the only way to come up with reasonable solutions is through open and honest dialogue.
Dr. Holmes-Caines and I could go back and forth every week in The Clocktower, but that would do nothing but dig us deeper into our own trenches. For that reason, and to allow the student body a greater voice, Professor Chris Blake has agreed to host/moderate an open discussion titled “Racism: An Open Discussion” on Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Shawnee-Porter Room of the Ortner Center.
If you’ve taken issue with what I've written, this is your chance to let your voice be heard. This is an opportunity for us, as contributing members of our community, to come together and do our best to work out some difficult answers to some tough questions.
The only thing you have to bring is an open mind and a desire for respectful, civil dialogue. This can be a learning experience for us all, myself included, but only if we let down our defenses long enough for our preconceived notions to be vulnerable.
I hope to see many of you there.
Jonathan Deemer is a sophomore studying biomedical science.