History will remember Barack Obama as the first minority elected to the highest office in the nation. His key legislative accomplishments may be undone (Trump has already vowed to repeal Obama care), but his standing as a symbol of achievement to millions of Americans will provide hope and encouragement for generations to come.
Ultimately, a major part of Obama’s legacy will be his ability to demonstrate grace, humility and humor even when faced with hatred. When faced with unfounded criticism, Obama did not respond with bitterness and ad-hominem attacks, but with dignity and respect.
Obama has set a great example for all Americans, and he should be able to leave office free of regrets and proud of the job he has accomplished.
Character isn’t the only aspect of Obama’s presidency that sets him apart. His policies in society, economics and environment will have lasting impacts. When Obama took office in 2009, the economy was facing the worst recession since the Great Depression. By signing the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Obama preserved and created millions of jobs. Under Obama, 11.3 million jobs were created, and while the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in 2010, it is currently at 4.9 percent.
In addition, Obama will be remembered for his finalization of the Clean Power Plan created in 2015, which sets a standard for carbon emission in existing power plants, and consequently will lower carbon pollution by 32 percent by 2030. He was also an important leader in negotiating the 2015 Paris Agreement, in which 197 countries agreed to reduce carbon emission.
Furthermore, The Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, has been a much debated issue, and while it is not a perfect plan, the number of people that it has benefitted outweigh its negative aspects. Signed in 2010, Obamacare provided healthcare to more than 20 million Americans who would otherwise not have been able to afford it. Since it was signed, the uninsured rate in America has decreased from 15.7 percent to 8.6 percent. By reducing healthcare costs, Obama care will also lower the budget deficit in the next 10 years by $143 billion.
Obama’s major accomplishments were primarily domestic, although he did make foreign impacts as well. Most notable are the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq involvement. In 2015, Obama made a deal with Iran which limited their nuclear program, ultimately stabilizing the globe by preventing Iran from advancing its nuclear weapons program.
Obama’s uninvolvement with foreign nations was one of the few low points of his presidency and arguably allowed for the rise of ISIS. Some also connect Obama’s inactiveness to his broken vow to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But while Obama’s decision may have had some consequences, his choices were all with the intention of protecting America from entering another catastrophic war.
Obama may not have accomplished as much as he could have during his time in office. However, a lot of his efforts were hindered not by his own incompetence, but by the Republican Party that refused to compromise and instead spent all of their efforts trying to stop anything that Obama tried to accomplish.