Reflecting on the Obama administration

Blake Blevins

“Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can.”

This powerful creed heralded the end of President Barack Obama’s farewell address Tuesday in his hometown of Chicago. A reflection of his experiences over the past eight years warranted emotions from nearly everyone tuning in. 

A presidency built on promises of change is nothing new, however, a presidency built on the delivery of those promises is rare. Perhaps this is reason for the mixed sentiments that spiral around President Obama’s departure.

As Obama reflects on his presidency, it is crucial that we as a nation do the same. 

Let us reflect on a president that ushered a decrease in violent crimes by 16 percent, a president that saw homicides fall by 13 percent and  saw the number of criminal background checks for potential gun owners increase by 58 percent. (These numbers are drawn from data given for the years between 2008 and 2014 according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most recent report.)

Let us reflect on a president that saw the Standard & Poor’s 500-Stock Index rise 139 percent and weekly earnings (adjusted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) rise 3.4 percent. 

Let us reflect on a president that salvaged U.S. relations with countries like Cuba and Iran, saw the end of unnecessary U.S. involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts and brought about the elimination of one of the world’s most heinous terrorist group leaders. 

Let us reflect on a president that recognized the rights of the LGBTQ* community through the realization of marriage equality and the repealing of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’

Let us reflect on a president that brought legislation which protected citizens from hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation, gender or disability (none of which was previously covered by past legislation), a president that insured millions of Americans with no access to healthcare insurance and a president that saw an increase of 273 percent in wind and solar generated power. 

Let us reflect on a president that has handled the turbulence of running a country with nothing short of grace. 

Facts will speak for the Obama administration far more than any political opinion. The picture of our president may be composed of many hues, but it is painted on a solid canvas of the measurable accomplishments we’ve witnessed in the last eight years. 

It is with great sorrow that many bid our president farewell. However, our longing may be even deeper after the next four years—only time will tell. 

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