Throughout my time in high school and college, it seemed as if one of two things were always consistent: LeBron James making an NBA Finals appearance and Barack Obama being the 44th President of the United States of America.
While the two things have absolutely nothing in common, they symbolized a familiarity that an African-American millennial, such as myself, would know.
For the entirety of many African-American youth, our entire adolescence and much of our formative years, Obama was in the Oval Office. All we’ve seen, for nearly a decade, was the first family on our television sets and all over our social media as the representation of a modern day African-American family.
While all of that is wonderful, it is sad to say that the familiarity will come to an end when Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20. The Obama family will have moved out of the White House and their representation in mainstream media will dwindle as the focus turns to the new commander-in-chief.
Our next president is no Obama. Obama is a unique individual yet African-Americans across the country could relate to him. Obama was our symbol and personification of the word hope. To see someone with a similar skin tone make a positive difference is what this millennial will forever see him as.
However, there are some that wanted Obama to be the “savior” for Black people. They wanted the man with the highest position of power in the entire country to save the entire Black community. Those people wanted him to fix our neighborhoods, reduces crime, add jobs, free our family members from jail and end racism in only eight years.
If you had those expectations for Obama, I’m sure you were disappointed. Obama wasn’t meant to be the president for only Black people but the entire country.
It is forgotten by many the state this country was in before Obama became president in 2009. The country was in its worst economic crisis since the great depression. Our debt, while it still remains high, was higher than it is today and many more Americans today will have healthcare than a decade ago.
For this millennial, Obama’s two terms and legacy will not only be viewed favorably today, but will be marveled at in years to come as America yearns for another president just like him. Everything Obama has done in the past eight years has, and will continue to, faced criticism. Yet he still pushes forward with what he believes is right for the betterment of this country.
To be challenged every day, even before taking the position, and still get the job done is a feat itself. Obama has accomplished so much, yet never lacked in those who wanted to see him fail. He has made America better, yet some won’t see that. Those who don’t see it are those who support the Affordable Care Act while simultaneously hating Obamacare. Obama will be missed and we can hope that the work he has done will not soon be forgotten.
Terrance Smith was an intern in the Baltimore office of the AFRO-American during the Fall semester of 2016.