Dear Mr. Barack Hussein Obama,
The last eight years of my life have been nothing short of a blessing. I was 19 years old and in my second year of college when I voted for you in 2012 for your second term, and I will never forget the relief I felt when I discovered that you had won. I remember being so afraid for my rights as a woman, that I was afraid to even think about what my world would have looked like with Mitt Romney as my President.
I was in my sophmore year of high school when you won your first term as President of the United States. I remember staying up that night watching the news with my grandma, trying to understand what all of the political lingo meant with talk about the electoral college and what it even meant to win the popular vote. I also remember falling asleep for about an hour (because it was a school night), and when I woke up, they had just announced that you had won. My grandmother looked relieved, and I will never forget that feeling of comfort that I felt at that exact moment.
Of course, being almost 16 years old at that point in my life, I thought it was cooler that you would be the first black President to hold a seat in the white house. I barely understood politics at that time, but what I did know was that I was fairly liberal, and that you represented a good amount of things that I cared most about. Now as a woman who has just turned 24 years old, I am more involved in politics and I cannot thank you enough for being the person I looked up to the most in my political awakening.
I have so many things I want to thank you for, Mr. President. Because even though I'm sure you hear it enough (especially over the last two months), I feel like I owe you the biggest of thanks. From all of the hard work you and Michelle have put into making our country a better place, to the hard work I know you will continue to do, there are not enough words to express how grateful I am to have had a man like you lead our country into greatness.
Thank you for being the type of man that I hope my children can look up to someday. You have lead for the last eight years with poise and dedication. You handle scrutiny and falsified reports with better grace than I ever could. Those who have not agreed with your policies over the years have had more than enough negative things to say about you in regards to your race, your religion, and your morals and values. The fact that you never once retaliated with negative words showed me that fighting ignorance with a smile on your face is truly the best revenge.
Thank you for doing your best with what resources you had around you. You came into office at one of our worst times as a country. Our economy was at a low point, millions of people were out of jobs, and you admitted that you knew coming back from all of this would not be an easy task. But you tried your best anyways, because you knew that the working class deserved that. I watched my mother struggle for years during the recession, and though she never admitted it to me, I could see the toll it was starting to take on her. Life didn't get 100% better, but it did improve. And that's something that a lot of children like myself never thought we would see again.
Thank you for granting me the chance to marry whoever I please. I have been openly queer from the time I was 15 years old, and I was raised by a mother who identified as gay as well. I never thought I would see a day where it was possible for us to get married wherever we wanted; to whoever we wanted. Your love and acceptance for the LGBTQA community has filled my heart with so much love and admiration. You have truly given myself and some of my best of friends the chance to be ourselves and to love our queer authentic selves. And your discussion on Trans rights is something that we will never forget.
Thank you for being the becan of light that I never knew I needed. I find myself emotional these days because I truly feel as if I did not know how good of a thing we had until we had to say goodbye to it. I won't lie to you and say that I am not scared for what the next four years holds for us. I feel like I have been living in this lucid nightmare that I just can't wake up from. But I will never give up fighting for the things I believe in, and that is because you and Michelle are right; it is my job as a younger person to never give up on the things I believe in. I am about to graduate this May with my Bachelors degree in Social Work with a minor in Women's Studies. I didn't know how much of a change I could make in this world with the experience that I have, but the words you spoke in your farewell address have me feeling confident that this is only the beginning.
I am truly grateful for you, Mr. President. I am grateful to see the love you have for your family and your country, and I hope that one day I can make as much of a difference as you have had in your career. I hope that you never give up on us, because I want to make you proud with everything I do, even if you have no idea who I am. I love you like the father I never had, and I will appriciate the sacrifices you have made for us. You are far from perfect, but you are the thing that has happened to this country in a very long time.
I am sad to see you go, and I am hoping that by some miracle of God that we can get you a third term (if you would have us). Tell Joe that we would love to see him on the ballet next election season, and that he would sure have my vote in a heartbeat.
To the boy from the island of Oahu who managed to start changing the world bit by bit in Chicago, thank you from the bottom of my heart.