The first time you were elected in 2008, I was ten, fat and playing Mario on my DS while red and blue flashed on the television. You were also younger, with dramatically fewer gray hairs. My dad stopped me because the moment of your election was “a historical moment” I would remember for the rest of my life. He said I would remember exactly where I was when America elected its first Black president. You represented change, a steady march to better times when a president of any gender, color, or creed was not unheard of and eventually commonplace.
In your eight years as president, you accomplished much and were thanked little. I could wax soliloquy about your great deeds. But I won’t. Anyone with half a brain cell and born after 1990 knows how to use Google and find out for themselves with about 12 handy lists. This is not what I will remember you by.
Respectfully, sir, you are by far our coolest president to date. JFK may have caused ladies to swoon and men to grit their teeth because, gosh dang it, they want to be that sexy. Teddy Roosevelt may have been shot in the chest and then proceeded to give his 90-minute speech anyway. Andrew Jackson may have thrown ragers in the White House. But you, you take the cake. You’re like the cool uncle who’s trying really hard to connect with the cousins by slipping them alcohol at family reunions. You’re every millennial’s dream.
You starred in Buzzfeed’s “Five Things Harder than Registering to Vote” video. In it, you made your best bud and Vice President Joe Biden a personalized friendship bracelet. That is just puppy-in-a-teacup, baby-toddling-around adorable. You (or those representing yourself) sent my brother a signed letter of congratulations when he made Eagle Scout. (Thanks, it really helped his big head.) Keegan-Michael Key acted as your “anger translator” at the 2015 Correspondents’ Dinner, which brought Key and Peele’s skits to a new level. You took Kid President on a tour of the White House! I think I speak for everyone when I say, thank God that happened. That video made my heart melt and reform three times bigger.
In 2011, you were still fending off allegations (sparked and fanned by Donald Trump) that you were not born in Hawaii. So you released a video of your “birth”: the opening scene from The Lion King, singing savannah animals and all. Then, you said, “I want to make clear to the Fox News table, that was a joke.” That’s so cool! You handled clearly bogus slander with humor! I want to do that too! That night may have backfired on you, though. I think Donald Trump took it a little personally.
And here we are. This is really why America is heartbroken today. As you step closer to the White House’s door, about to say goodbye forever, some of us are researching how difficult it would be to repeal that whole “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice” business of the 22nd Amendment. (The answer? Very. Thanks a lot, FDR.) And your departure brings us one step closer to the Election from Hell. Hellection, if you will. You might be replaced by a man-sized larva who saw a hand puppet in the trash and thought it would be a good idea to wear it as a wig. We didn’t know how good we had it.
We’re going to miss you a whole bunch. I just hope we’ll see you again when Michelle Obama runs for president in 2020 (hopefully). Our only consolation will be to listen to the Summer playlists you made (both Day and Night). Well, that, and to vote, of course.
Thank you for improving this country while keeping your kindness and humanity. Thank you for being a wonderful president.