By Devin Malone
In January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States of America. According to USA Today, nearly 37.8 million people watched as Obama was sworn into office, thus ending the eight year long Bush administration. However, after eight years of Presidency, Obama is stepping down in January 2017.
Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961 to his midwestern mother, Ann Dunham, and Muslim Kenyan father, Barack Obama, Sr. However, Obama’s father left him at the age of 10 and later died in a car accident in 1982. This left a major impact on Obama and even became the central topic of his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from my Father.” The book was released around the time Obama first ran for the Illinois Senate seat. Besides his father, the autobiography also dealt with many different topics, many of those regarding race.
In 1996 Obama became a senator for Illinois. He remained in office until 2008, when he announced to the public that he would be running for presidency. On November 4, 2008, Obama won his campaign for Presidency against his Republican opponent, John McCain.
“In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving,” McCain said in his concession speech.
Throughout his first term, Obama passed numerous acts that had huge social impacts, such as the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010. This act helps spread medical care to millions of low income Americans. It caused major rifts with the Republican party, however, who loudly voiced their dissenting opinion, aptly naming it “Obamacare.”
“I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: Making sure our economy works for every working American. It’s why I ran for President. It was at the center of last year’s campaign. It drives everything I do in this office,” Obama said in a speech entited “Remarks by the President on Economic Mobility” in 2013.
Other bills passed by Obama were the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which helped revitalize the economy after the 2008 recession. Another was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which allowed women to sue for unequal and discriminatory payment issues.
According to the website Real Clear Politics, by the end of his first term, Obama’s approval rating dropped to 42 percent. Most of this disapproval came from red states.
In spite of this newfound backlash, Obama still won the 2012 presidential election against his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.
Obama’s second term was met with more approval, and he helped pass other acts that garnered him more popularity among young liberals, especially the passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Legislation in the summer of 2015.
After the announcement of Donald Trump as the next President-elect, Obama’s popularity shot up about 8.5 percent, leaving him at 52 percent approval rating, according to CBS News.
Because of his uniqueness, Obama became a cultural icon among the younger generation and the ethnic minorities in America. Many famous celebrities showed their approval of Obama during both of his campaigns, where he claimed each time that he had a bright outlook on the future of America and a hope for change.
Throughout his two four year terms, Obama left a legacy that will not be forgotten whether by those who supported or detested him.