Republicans like to talk about how they’re going to kick Obama out of The White House next year–it always sounds weird to me–he couldn’t/wouldn’t stay no matter how the vote turns out. They know that, right?
Naturally, I have a preference for how the vote will turn out, but no matter what, I’ll miss Obama.
He has not been a perfect president, but no one ever has.
Am I disappointed by some things? Yes–many. For example, Obama has deported more undocumented people than W did.
Conservatives should love that.
He’s actually done a lot of things that conservatives should approve of–the deficit has shrunken (it initially went up under his rule because he added our foreign wars to the official budget–under W, they didn’t count) by quite a lot. We are in better economic shape than we were in 2008. Bin Laden is dead, along with lots of other terrorist leaders.
It’s also hard for me to solely blame Obama for the failings I see. Republicans began by saying they would work to block every single thing he wanted. And they’ve succeeded in blocking many things. They have also inflamed a part of their base that now embarrasses them–the moderate conservatives I grew up with have been replaced by amazingly unreasonable people–Tea Partiers, overt racists, Palins, and Trumps. Their reactions to him are hysterical (in the older sense of the word): he’s not American; he’s not Christian; he only pretends to cry when children have been gunned down. The latest: that he’s actually on the side of the terrorists.
(I would note, of course, that the terrorists and the Democrats are at odds. We like feminism and gay people and secularism and humor, etc.–they are in fact more conservative about these things. They want to make the world “great again”–but they want to go back to the 700s instead of the 1950s.)
I grew up Republican. I have a deep sense of sadness when I watch those 70s and 80s politicians trying to retain control as the base spirals. My soul hurts when I see my family spiraling down with them.
When Obama won, my mother and I had the following exchange:
Mom: Obama is going to take our rights away as white women.
Me: Which ones?
Me: ‘Cause as a straight educated white American woman, I have more rights than the majority of the people who’ve ever lived on this planet. I have more rights than some of my friends. And I can’t think of any that Obama could actually take away.
[She changes the conversation.]
Obama has not, in his time in office, taken away my rights as a white woman.
I hope, in fact, that whoever takes the office will continue his work.
Here are a few things I’m happy about:
- I’m in a better position than I was eight years ago, financially. (Many elections ago, that’s what voters were asked to consider as the basis for their vote.)
- My disabled aunt has access to healthcare. For those who know me, you’ll know I had to take her in a couple of years ago for a while–in the South, which rejected Obamacare despite their own budget offices reporting that Obamacare would save them money, she wasn’t able to get it. She was going in and out of emergency rooms (those bills will forever be unpaid), but not getting fixed, not getting to really see a doctor, not getting prescriptions she could fill.
- I have access to more services under Obamacare. For example, my chiropractor, who is not in my insurance network, was able to recommend therapies to my insurance company–a new communication feature under the legislation. I now have a new TENS unit, a traction device, and a back brace for prolonged sitting–none of which I had to pay for–because of my chiropractor’s argument.
Do I wish we had a single payer system? Yes, but Obamacare is better than what we had before.
- Workers are being paid better and slightly more equally. Minimum wage is going up (although it still hasn’t caught up with inflation); overtime pay has been extended so more workers are eligible for it; Obama supports equal pay.
- He has proposed cutting funding for abstinence-only education, after it had been expanded by W. Every study show that it doesn’t work–rates of teenage pregnancy, rates of divorce, and rates of venereal disease are at their highest in the states that support it. Studies also show that those kids still have sex–abstinence only delays virginity loss by a bit, but raises–dramatically–the likelihood that they won’t use condoms.
- No child left behind is gone. I don’t love every part of the new education plan (to be fair, I don’t love every part of any plan that I can think of), but it’s SO much better than NCLB.
- Changes have been made to help Native Americans–our invisible and most oppressed and most victimized minority. Native women, for example, are raped at alarming rates (and that’s within a country that already has high rape rates). This legislation attempts to address this and other issues.
- We have opened relations with Cuba, which is long overdue.
- This administration has done more to support LGBTQ rights than any other. The backlash is, predictably, absurd.
Here are five things I’ll miss:
Have any other presidents talked about Finland’s music (and how it relates to good governance)?
Has any other president called himself a feminist? Obama seems to care about and respect women–and by acknowledging that he is a feminist, he also signals that “women’s issues” are human issues. Oh, and he’s against sex shaming, which is awesome, cause I’m one horny feminist, and it’s good to know my President supports me.
Has any other president included we “nonbelievers” in the list of Americans? No–most ignore us or conflate us with those who either aren’t American or who aren’t patriotic. But we nonbelievers can believe in America.
Depending on who’s elected, I’ll miss my break from having to explain the electorate to foreigners. When W was in office, I was constantly having to explain how he was our President, especially in the second term. I would usually start with “let me tell you about the South.”
Not every foreign person I know loves Obama–many are critical of the drones–but they don’t question how he exists as a leader–the basic fact of him is comprehensible.
As an American, I am deeply ashamed that Trump is the nominee of the other party–it manages to reflect badly on all of us. If he’s elected, I’ll be torn between a desire to be out of the country as much as possible and worrying about how I’ll be able to show my American face to the rest of the world.
But most of all, I’ll miss his sense of humor.
I hope his post-presidency work is just as awesome as Carter’s and Clinton’s have been.