I am a die-hard liberal. I’m not particularly proselytizing, but I am the type of liberal that, when meeting someone who identifies as Republican, will judge him for his views in an instant. I am not proud of this reflex, but there it is.
In light of today’s inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president…there were a lot of thoughts. In elementary school, I remember some of my friends gossiping about Trump on The Apprentice; and even at the age of 9, I’d already written him off as a brassy, crude, primitive type of man in my mind. 15 years later, these views have largely not changed, though they have been tempered somewhat by the many accounts of him actually being a decent human being. I won’t go into him there, but as of right now, my opinions of him are: he is still a very primitive sort, especially for President of the United States, and while I still find his public persona to be insufferable and unbearably absurd, I can’t but feel that he is actually very different in private – still vulgar and foul-mouthed and forceful, but t the core still well-intentioned, charismatic, and responsible. I absolutely stand by my belief that the character he’s donned for the media is just that – an act for the tabloids and headlines so he can keep grabbing attention from the billions of people watching his actions.
But even if he does have a softer edge to him at all, it still doesn’t forgive the fact that he is now 45th president of our country. It’s still surreal to even think that I watched him being sworn in at 12pm today. 9 year old me would’ve never believed this possible, and even she would’ve been flabbergastingly upset at the flippancy with which millions of citizens treated the thought of presidency in 2016 – enough to elect a man like Trump.
On the other hand, as I was watching the Obamas exit the White House for the final time and board perhaps their last Air Force One ride, I started getting tears in my eyes because of how magnificent, wonderful, generous, good they were. America, collectively, still doesn’t know how good she had it with the Obamas. I may not have like Michelle very much but I fully respected her nonetheless, but Barack Obama is legitimately one of my strongest role models. A lot of it has to do with how we embodied most of the same ideals, politically, socially, and economically; but also with how he was just a cool guy, when it came down to it. He wasn’t incompetent, like Bush; or so powerful as to be unrelatable/unapproachable like Clinton; or stuffy, like McCain; or so painfully 1%er, like Romney. He genuinely had the best intentions of America at heart, and he knew both how to shoot someone down in Congress with lawyer speak and smack talk someone on the basketball courts. He was a proud dad and loving husband. He clearly delighted in hanging out with little kids and cute dogs, and wasn’t afraid to be caught off-guard or in unattractive poses, like Hillary. Part of me is so achingly proud to have had someone like Obama as my president in the prime of my life, but another part regrets not being more interested in politics to have appreciated it more.
In any case, thank you Obama for showing the world what a class-act president is and should always strive to be.