2016 was an election year and, because of term limits, President Obama is leaving office. The last several days have been a long goodbye to the Obama administration. Last week was his farewell address. Yesterday he held his final presidential press conference. Today, his last official day in office, he released one last thank you note to the nation. I want to return the favor and honor the Obama administration.
Thank you, President Obama for helping pull the economy out of the Great Recession and for preventing another Great Depression. When President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, we were facing financial ruin. I live in metropolitan Detroit and Obama’s bailout of the auto industry saved Detroit from destruction. Detroit is revitalized. Economists now estimate that Obama’s financial policy helped create a little over 11 million jobs.
As a queer American, thank you, Mr. President, for your advancement of LGBT rights. It was under your administration that the military policy of don’t ask/don’t tell was repealed. Your administration decided to stop enforcing the Defense Of Marriage Act and you allowed the White House to be lit in rainbow when the Supreme Court declared marriage equality law. And thank you Mr. President for fighting for my transgender brothers and sisters and making sure their rights were not ignored.
Thank you Mr. President, for the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare isn’t the best solution but you set forth a plan after decades of talking about healthcare for all. Thanks to you I have healthcare for the first time in ages. And, thanks to you, I was able to have surgery when a medical problem occurred.
Thank you, Mr. President, for what you’ve done for higher education. You’ve made it easier to pay back student loans. You got behind the movement to have community college become free. You focused on campus sexual assault by using Title IX. Your effort is appreciated.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your domestic policy stances. You furthered the conversation about immigration and signed the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protected minors that are undocumented immigrants after Congress failed to act. Thank you for weilding your pen and signing gun control into action via executive order after Congress refused to act. Thank you for your grace and compassion as you mourned with your fellow Americans after national tragedy.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your foreign policy. You hunted down and enacted retribution against Osama bin Laden. You imposed sanctions against Russia and kicked Russian diplomats out after the intelligence community proved a connection between Russian hacking and the 2016 election. You entered into a nuclear agreement with Iran that would prevent them from making a nuclear weapon. Thank you for taking a stand against Isreal and acknowledging that peace will only come when there is a two state deal. Thank you for reestablishing diplomatic ties with Cuba.
And, while I’m at it, thank you, Mrs. Obama, to your service to this nation. You worked with and brought attention to military families. You focused on childhood obesity and got America’s kids to move again. Thank you.
Let me end on a personal note. In September of 2015 I was lucky enough to share a stage with President Obama. He came to my college and, as a student leader, I was able to stand behind him on stage as he spoke about making the first two years of community college free to those with a qualifying GPA. After his remarks I was able to shake his hand. It is one of the best moments I’ve had in my life.
President Obama, your presidency ends tomorrow but your legacy will live on. I thank you for your service and I wish you and your family the best.