Dear President Obama,
I want to thank you for your inspiring leadership and service as our president for the past eight years. I will never forget watching you and your lovely family take the stage at Grant Park in 2008 to accept the mantle of leader of the free world. It was an emotional moment, buoyed by an ebullient crowd and a message of hope and change.
For the past eight years, you have endured both veiled and overt racism, an obstructionist Republican Congress, a struggling economy, the threat of terrorism, and, as every president before you, the weight of the world. Despite the odds, you brought us out of the Great Recession, passed the Affordable Care Act, effected a pact with Iran to reduce their nuclear capabilities, and ended our costly and futile war in Iraq. Conservative complaints to the contrary, thanks to your policies, the economy continues to grow and unemployment is at a historic low.
I especially appreciated your measured, thoughtful approach to problem-solving. In an anti-intellectual environment, you displayed a prodigious intellect that you employed to look at nuances and complexities in both national and international issues. For a world leader with the nuclear weapons codes at his disposal, these were valuable traits that gave me some comfort in an uncertain and dangerous world.
I also admire the integrity you brought to the office. Not a whiff of scandal tainted your two terms in office, and the First Lady shared your traits of honesty and strong character. Like you, she faced attacks on her person with courage and dignity. As Mrs. Obama said in a speech earlier this year, “When they go low, we go high.” That these are the values you have taught your daughters will serve them well as adults in the world.
Like many Americans, I have been distraught about the results of the presidential election and worried about the potential dismantling of the progress that has been made in the past eight years. But the words in your farewell speech gave me hope. You spoke of the youth in America and their ideals of fairness and inclusion. It gives me some comfort to believe that this progressiveness will keep us moving forward as a nation towards greater equality, fairness, and humanity.
Thank you for bearing the heavy burden of the presidency. May you enjoy your next chapter as a private citizen and the satisfaction of a job well done.