Tears are increasingly hard to hold back as I reflect on the fact that it’s been so long since former President Obama gave his farewell address, on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 in Chicago. As I sat back and reflected on the significance of his presidency, it became apparent that it was more than just his political accomplishments and unwavering class that allowed him into the hearts of myself, as well as millions of other Americans. It was something much more personal than that. For eight years, Barack Obama served as a father figure, demonstrating ultimate devotion to not only his wife and children, but to the betterment of families all across this nation.
Obama highlighted the importance of family in his ability to uphold his duties as the leader of the free world. Freedom became free when he openly expressed his adoration of his wife, and his commitment to his daughters education and overall well-being. Family means more than business.
As a young black woman, I jumped hurdles to avoid failure. I found relief knowing that my hard work would pay off. The same way the former president reared Sasha and Malia made me imagine what my father was truly feeling about how far I had come.
Obama resembled the type of father that is recognized at back to school night events for exemplifying commendable behavior. He had a stellar presidency, without scandal and only faced controversy from his opponents. His legacy cannot be compared to that of our current president.
In fact, Barack Obama has been the epitome of the ideal parental figure. He regarded America as one of his most beloved children, encouraging the betterment of all through health, wealth and educational opportunities.
He provided one of the greatest reforms to the healthcare system with the Affordable Care Act. Although it was not perfect, he tried his best like any good dad would. Donald Trump and his band of Republicans were adamant about getting rid of it.
Without the luxury of sitting on my father’s lap, I learned that all people should be treated equal. Therefore, all Americans should be able to love and marry whomever they please. The Obama frowned upon multiple oppressions, while the Trump claims to be a “traditional guy,” a problematic view in an ever-changing world.
Some mountains are hard to climb, yet the comforting embrace of a father is sometimes enough to keep you pushing forward. Still, Obama preached hope. And when times got hard, he found a way to guide us to find solutions to pressing problems.
After his second election, I was in the process of deciding where I would attend college. I had been deferred from Princeton. I believe God was telling me something because then, I set my mind on making a difference. I had to step out on a leap of faith to get where I dreamed of being.
Upon visiting Spelman College, I fit right in with more than two thousand intelligent and sophisticated women who have all contributed to the way I see the world. At first, I could not afford to attend this illustrious historically black college, but I did not allow myself to fall short of my dreams.
He paid homage to his wife and daughters for being the best that they could be. Through that, I felt another sense of his incomparable compassion for his family.
“I say this knowing that I have been an imperfect father,” he said. “Knowing that I have made mistakes and I’ll continue to make more, wishing that I could be home for my girls and my wife more than I am right now.”
Like we heard over eight years ago, a similar sentiment about his family was publicized.
He made it his business to touch the hearts of millions on a different level by sharing how much he wants continued happiness for his family.
My goal is to make Mr. Obama proud by breaking down barriers. During many instances, I was told I couldn’t, but I did. Mending a heart that was never supported by the comfort of a father’s presence made me cherish the way the former president looked out for his own.
Donald Trump reminds me of what I am missing. It has been more than 400 days since Trump has been in office and he has made too many mistakes that are far too difficult to come back from. Although leaders and citizens of other countries laugh at us now, Mr. Obama, your legacy inspires me to press on because times will get hard, but I will rock out with my tough skin. Still I rise, even in the Trump era.