The Obama Years: Ups And Downs


November 4, 2008. Democratic candidate Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States, earning 365 electoral votes compared to Republican opponent John McCain’s 173.

Obama’s becoming President was historic. He became the first African-American Commander in Chief in United States history, as well as the first born outside the contiguous United States. Obama’s 69.5 million total votes is the most ever won by a presidential candidate. The total of 131 million votes cast in the election represented over 43% of the total U.S. population, the second highest share of any U.S. presidential election behind 60% in 2016. (However, this is still a very low turnout, and this needs to improve.)

Barack Obama broke many barriers the moment he became President, allowing African-Americans across the country to take tremendous pride for the first time in a leader who represented them. He paved the way for fellow African Americans—and other minority groups—to follow their dreams and overcome odds because of their nationality. Barack Obama’s two-term presidency that spanned from 2008-2016 was tolerable, but not great. The charismatic Harvard law graduate accomplished a great deal during his presidency, but that’s not the whole story.

Historic achievements aside, we have to look at Obama’s presidency without our rose-colored glasses. He made a number of decisions that dented his legacy and left a terrible taste in American’s mouths for years to come.

Obama’s most famous flaw is his self proclaimed health care system ObamaCare. The system that Obama introduced was signed into law in 2010, giving health care to people who need it most, but overall, represented America failing as a whole. President Obama’s plan was that every person in need of health care will receive it—paid through federal and state tax dollars. In May of 2016, the LA Times wrote a federal judge declared the Obama administration was unconstitutionally spending money to subsidize health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress. If a President is using his hardworking people’s money the wrong way, to solve other people’s hardships, don’t you think average taxpayers would be fed up by their country’s leader? While the bum on the street corner on 42nd Street-Fifth Avenue will persuade you Obama’s healthcare plan is one for the ages, in reality, it has been a flop.

I have respected President Obama since the day he took office. Whether I followed his political views or not, I knew he would attempt to do anything in his power to dig America out of the recession and do the best for the nation.

Bethpage High School English teacher Mrs. Sestak shared her views on President Obama, and she has all the respect for him. “President Obama was a President for the people and truly cared about them. He cared about human rights, health care, and allowed people to marry who they want,” she said. “During his presidency, he didn’t exactly have an economic state of mind, but was someone I could relate too.”

Creating 15 million new private sector jobs since 2010 was a tremendous mark for Obama, but lessening the United States’ defensive powerhouse has been something that insulted countless Americans, as well as myself, over his eight year presidency. Sure, he led United States troops to hunt and kill September 11, 2001 terrorist Osama Bin Laden, but also prematurely withdrew all troops from Iraq in the midst of controlling the territory and shunning the growth of the Islamic state. Don’t forget, Obama once called Isis—the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—the “JV team” of Islam. Little did he know, Isis would brutally strike with terror attacks a number of times across the world. Isis is a problem Obama could have and should have terminated.

Lastly, Barack Obama left his two-term presidency on the ultimate low note. As of a week before President Elect Donald Trump was sworn into office, Obama has released ten more terrorists from the United States military prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Oman. This now marks 26 total terrorists President Obama has freed. The Obama administration calls the President’s recent acts “out of consideration for the men’s humanitarian situation.” Oscar Lopez Rivera—one of Obama’s freedmen who is now considered a non threat—is a Puerto Rican terrorist who’s spanish terrorist group, FALN, planted 130 homemade bombs across the United States, especially in large cities such as New York and Chicago during the 1970’s and 1980’s. FALN—an acronym for Armed Forces of Nation Liberation—also carried out prison escapes and armed robberies during their time. But it’s no problem, President Obama feels it is safe to get this terrorist back in public.

While Obama strategized to shut down Guantanamo Bay, but failed before his time as President ran out, President Elect Trump recently tweeted that “Gitmo” liberatore’s are dangerous people and belong back behind bars. “There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield,” said Trump.

To call Obama’s two-term presidency “great” is a descriptor only delusional left-leaners would spout. All in all, his presidency was respectively disappointing.

On January 20, 2017, a new President called the White House home. That President is Donald Trump—business mogul, reality television star, billionaire. It is time for change, and Donald Trump is the hard nosed, no nonsense, the economy-must-strive transformation the United States of America desperately needs.

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.– Johnny Cash