It’s the end of an era, and the start of a new one. On Friday, Barack Obama, my first president, is now no longer the president of the United States of America. On Nov. 8, 2016, one of the craziest elections in U.S. history came to an end. The date would also be known as the end of an eight-year era, as Barack Obama would not be in office after Jan. 20, 2017.
Being born in 2002, I don’t necessarily remember George W. Bush being president. Obama is the only one I can say I truly remember. He was the one my family backed. He was the one who was in office for eight precious years of my life. And he was the one who did great things for America. From ending the war in Iraq, passing health care reform, and celebrating the legalization of same-sex marriage, Obama proved his presidency had meaning.
I like to compare Obama’s presidency with how my mom takes care of me and my siblings. Theoretically, the rest of the nation would be my siblings. Obama nurtured and looked after America, just as my mom nurtures and looks after me. My mother always did her best to make sure that my siblings and I were never in danger. She acted as an uplifter when we were down, just as former President Obama did during his eight-year reign. During times of great struggle and need, he found a way to be an uplifter.
Through basketball games, science projects and working three jobs while raising my siblings and me by herself, my mother still pushed through and prevailed. Through furloughs, a horrendous economic system and a plethora of disasters, our president stood tall and led this nation. Obama kept America strong in times of great struggle, like after the economy crashed in 2008. My mother does the same with me, keeping me strong in times of great need or when I’m just feeling down. Whenever I feel a certain type of way, she pops popcorn to get me through it. When I need to talk to her alone, we hop in the car and make our way to the Varsity late at night, talking about my endeavors on the way there. Taking care of a country is an everyday struggle, as is taking care of a child. Obama knew how to care for his “children,” just as my mother knows how to care for hers.
To have my president stripped away from me feels like a parent’s divorce. Now, my siblings and I have to deal with what feels like an evil step-parent, or a new president. Someone who knows little about us but is supposed to lead us to a greater good. We’re now in the hands of a man with no political experience whatsoever, who’s also openly racist and sexist. We’re in the hands of a man whose remarks have received national attention for being that ignorant.
With the current situation America is in, all I can say is this: We’ll miss you Obama, that’s definitely for sure. Obama’s presidency was more than just an ordinary eight-year term in the White House, especially to me. For the first president I knew to be black was more motivating than anything. It showed me what we can do as a country and how stereotypes can be broken. Years back, a black president would have been something that was unheard of. It was something no one ever thought could or would happen. Barack Obama changed that perspective entirely. This man is a role model for me and for many others in the new generation. His presence will be nothing but direly missed.
Mack, 14, writes from Atlanta, Georgia. He enjoys writing, playing basketball and hanging out with friends in his free time.
This op-ed was originally published in VOXATL.com, a nonprofit youth media organization in Atlanta. (Youth Today’s managing editor is the founder of and a consultant with VOX.)