Thanks, Obama


Abby Sklar, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

“Thanks, Obama” is a phrase that has been sarcastically repeated many times throughout the past eight years. Whenever anything, literally anything, goes wrong, we sarcastically thank our president. Whether it be burnt toast or Deflategate, we all tend to “blame” Obama; however, we also tend to overlook the many good things that Obama did as president, and instead look at his mistakes. With only two more days in office, we should take a stroll down memory lane and look at a few of his successes as president.

  1. After only two days in office, Obama reversed Bush’s policies of using enhanced interrogation techniques that have been ruled inhumane by the Geneva Convention. Obama has since been working to clear out Guantanamo Bay which now contains less than 50 people compared to the 200 at the beginning of his presidency.
  2. Though it is highly disputed as to whether this is an accomplishment or a failure, 20 million people now have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. While it may not be the ultimate solution, it is definitely a step in the right direction, and he is the only president to make that step after many years of promises.
  3. Obama has led the US to be one of the world leaders on climate change reform. Obama helped to pass the Paris Agreement, an agreement that caps carbon pollution. He invested in alternate energy sources and announced the Clean Power Plan, a plan that limits how much carbon pollution can be dumped into the air by power plants.
  4. US-Cuba relations have improved significantly. Under the Obama administration, the US reopened the US embassy in Cuba and trade has been opened between the US and Cuba.
  5. Under the Obama administration, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who helped plan the attacks on 9/11 was killed in a raid to a secret compound in Pakistan.
  6. Obama has fought for LGBT rights. He has fought to ensure coverage of federal hate crimes includes sexuality and gender identity. He also repealed “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” allowing members of the LGBT community to openly serve in the Armed Forces. Lastly, Obama commended and supported the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same sex marriage.
  7. After pushing for a higher minimum wage, 18 states and Washington D.C. have increased their minimum wages to $10.10.
  8. He signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act that helps to hold Wall Street accountable for their part in the recession in 2008 and to stop it from happening again.
  9. Obama passed the Fair Sentencing Act that reduces sentencing on crack cocaine and has since been working to reduce penalties for other nonviolent (especially possession related) crimes. He has pardoned nearly 1,000 nonviolent drug offenders during his time in office.

Though the past eight years have not only been successes, they have not only been failures either. It is important that we take time to remember the steps we have taken forward and the progress that he has helped to enact. As his presidency comes to an end, we must remember the words he has left us with:

“Yes we can. Yes we will. Yes we can. Yes we did.”