The Obama Presidency: the good, the bad and the funny
January 26, 2017
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Obama has made significant leaps during his years in the Oval Office. As President, he has been vocal in his push to decrease unemployment. While some may argue that he did not accomplish this goal, more jobs were created in 2010 than had been created during all of President Bush’s eight years, according to the Washington Post. By the end of 2009, the economy created and sustained 2.1 million jobs. As of August of 2016, the unemployment rate dropped below five percent for the first time in eight years, and as of October, the U.S. had a record of 73 consecutive months of job growth. Under the Obama Administration, the country has seen support of low to middle class citizens. Obama established the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, which cut taxes for many of America’s working families and saved and created jobs for them. While these things are economically important, one of the most notable social problems our country has dealt with under Obama’s presidency is same-sex marriage. States like Massachusetts and Connecticut had allowed gay marriage since the early 2000s, however on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court legalized it across the country. This allowed same-sex couples to seen as bound together in marriage under the law. Obama has supported other parts of the LGBTQ+ community, with more recent actions in regards to transgender rights. Obama set forth a transgender school bathroom policy, which allow trans youth to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, rather than biological sex.
However, Obama has also done many things people have perceived as negative to the well-being of the country. To start, the United States still carries the heavy weight of debt on its back, a weight that has only gotten bigger since Obama has been in office. Since 2009, the country has accumulated around 900 trillion dollars in debt; this estimation is based on the amount of increased debt that came from Obama’s policies. Obama has also promoted policies like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which many citizens dislike, despite political affiliations. The TPP allows Congress to simply approve or disapprove of “fast-track” trade negotiations of non-US imports without having to go into detail about the decisions publically. This essentially takes control away from other branches of government and allows negotiations to pass without requirements of a congressional consultation. As well, President Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015. In this deal, Obama described that he successfully diverted another war from occurring by confronting Iran about their ever-growing nuclear program, calling on them to shut it down. However, reports have come out that state the Iranian nuclear program is still in progress. Most citizens believe that this deal was instead a front for Iran and the U.S. to process deals under. The evidence of Iran releasing four hostage Americans the day that the U.S. conveniently paid them around $400 million in foreign currency leads many to support this theory. If the country did pay ransom for the four hostages, then this effectively violates United States policy and the apparent Iran nuclear deal.
Socially, many citizens feel that Obama’s push for LGBTQ+ rights (specifically gay marriage) is ingenuine. Because of his initial stance on gay marriage wherein he did not support it, people feel that Obama is only supporting these rights to get political popularity instead of approving policies he believes will help the country.
Regardless of political affiliation, it is hard to deny the comedic aspect of Obama’s time in office. When thinking of Barack Obama’s legacy, his budding friendship with Vice President Joe Biden comes to mind. Most recently, Biden has been seen making a friendship bracelet for Obama’s 55th birthday with smiley faces adorned next to beads spelling their names. Popular photos portray Obama and Biden doing fun activities together, including playing golf on the White House lawn, stopping for ice cream on the campaign trail and talking over burgers and fries in full presidential attire. Over time, Obama’s public persona has become more casual. In the last year or so, Obama has made public appearances on satirical programs like Key and Peele, The Colbert Report and Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he was featured on the show’s special segment “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.”
“‘Somebody send Obama some life hacks on how to be a good president. Haha. Like, I bet that would help. LOL,’” Obama read. “You know, the ‘LOL’ is redundant when you have the ‘haha.’”
As 2016 comes to a close, the end of the Obama era is near. In the last eight years, President Barack Obama has made extreme changes to our country, and while it can be debated whether they were positive or negative, there is no denying that he made history. Not only is he the first black president, but he has instigated several policies that only existed as distant ideas before he took office. Obama’s presidency made waves, and it is clear that those waves will continue to ripple throughout the country’s future.