Yesterday was the last day of the Obama Presidency. For the racists, it was a happy day. But for the people with some sense, it was one of the worst days ever. Because today, the Era of the Asshole will begin. No longer will we see someone in the White House who carries himself with grace, class, elegance and a large vocabulary. The White House will be occupied (barely) by a racist, misogynist, classless, tasteless bully who has no idea how to speak in complete sentences. The Clown will be busy talking himself up while his rich cronies tear down pretty much everything for the next four years. But instead of harping on the shit show that’s about to start, I would rather spend my time saying thank you to President Obama and his family.
Mr. President, it has been a pleasure. I never in a million years thought I would ever see a Black president. I remember the night you were elected back in 2008. I was at home, watching the election results come in and I couldn’t stay still. My heart was in my throat and my stomach was going crazy. I kept thinking to myself, “he’s not going to win.” I couldn’t stand being in my apartment anymore, so I hopped on the subway. I had heard that people were gathering in Times Square to watch the results, so I decided to head that way. When I got off the train, my phone was blowing up. My mother had been trying to reach me. I answered the phone and my mother was crying. Panicked, I said, “what happened?” And she said the words I will never forget: “J, he won!” You became the 44th President of the United States.
Then I heard the roar.
From Times Square came a roar such as I had never heard in my life. People were coming out of stores and restaurants cheering, crying, hugging and laughing. When I finally got to Times Square, the number of people who greeted me was astounding. It was almost like New Year’s Eve, there were so many people. People from all walks of life were there, singing, dancing, chanting “Yes We Can!” over and over again. And then, on the Jumbotron, you and your family came on the screen as the First Family. Sasha and Malia, just little girls then, walked out with their Mom, the woman we all know as FLOTUS. The four of you walked out onto that stage in Chicago and that’s when it really hit me. A Black man would be the next President of the United States. And I cried. I cried for so many reasons. I cried because even though this country has been quite clear about how it feels about Black people, you still became President. I cried because a woman who looked like me—brown, intelligent, fierce and shaped like an hourglass—was going to be the First Lady. I cried because I knew you would have an extremely hard time being President thanks to the white men not happy about your win. And I cried because when little Black and Brown children say they want to be President, adults could say “anything is possible” and mean it.
From Day One, you faced obstacle after obstacle and did it with grace. Your accomplishments were many and the mistakes you made you owned up to. And by your side through it all was, and still is, Michelle.
To the First Lady, what more can we say about you that already hasn’t been said? PLENTY! You have made us so proud and we will miss you terribly. You have become such a role model for women and young girls of all backgrounds. You showed us that it was okay to be smart, funny, caring and feisty about what we care about while still standing by your man. Many of us who may have felt uneasy about keeping our standards high now know we DESERVE to keep them high. Because you kept yours high and married a future President of the United States. But President Obama kept HIS standards high by marrying YOU. He knew he had the right one and we know that, too. Your elegance, desire to help the nation’s children and veterans, love for your country that didn’t always love you, and intelligence just made us love you even more. Mrs. Obama, we will never forget you and hope to become a fraction of the woman you are.
And to Malia and Sasha, keep striving for greatness, young ladies. Your parents have shaped and molded you for that very thing and we know you can do it. You’re both still very young, so enjoy yourselves. Keep your friend circle small because there will be many out there who want to see you fail. Heed the advice of the Bush Sisters (who, I have to say, did a classy thing by sending you that heartfelt letter) and enjoy college. Enjoy life, see the world, be kind and, most of all, remember what your parents taught you.
We will miss all of you. Thank you and God Bless.
In honor of the new President, please donate to any of the following organizations:
RESIST!! RISE UP!! FIGHT!!
Photo courtesy of The White House