Winter at the White House

As our Christmas traditions continue, one family’s traditions are about to come to an end. The Obama family will be celebrating its last Christmas in the White House this year.

After months of vicious campaigning from two candidates who were quite possibly the strangest yet, the Obama family’s final presidential year is winding down with the family holiday. However, many are quick to critique Obama’s presidency, yet fail to acknowledge how excellently he managed to maintain his family life during his two terms.

Take a look at his daughters -- sure, they need to appear elegant to the public, as every president’s children have been expected to, but they are by no means taking advantage of the privileges they have been granted. They are seeking higher education by their own merit, and are proud to assist with their mother’s causes.

President Obama, always preaching messages of love and equality, proves the authenticity of his values through his family. He encourages his wife and daughters to strive for the betterment of the nation how they choose, and spends plenty of time with them. He does not use his presidency as an excuse for not having enough family time, or for simply being more significant than his family, or undercutting them because they are women. He is very inclusive when it comes to his family, and this is comes through with his stance on national policies.

This is the image that Americans should be proud of. However, Obama has been under fire for his family’s Christmas card. The tradition began in 1927, and Obama is only the fourth President to ever use a personal photograph on the card. Included on the inside was the message, “Happy Holidays. As our family reflects on our many happy years spent in the White House, we are grateful for the friends we’ve made, the joy we’ve shared, and the gifts of kindness we’ve received. We wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year.”

Conservatives have been harshly critical over the lack of religious references depicted in the card. What they often fail to realize is that Obama is not a neighbor who is depicting his religious beliefs to a few friends. It is known that he is Christian and celebrates Christmas, but this is the man who represents a religiously diverse nation. Why would he depict such a narrow audience when there are a multitude of people who should also be acknowledged?

The holiday neutral message also displays his appreciation of the opportunities and kindness presented before him during his time in office. This is an admirable observation that goes without notice, and needs to be recognized. Obama has the right to include references to Christmas if he chooses, because we are lucky enough to live in a nation that grants us freedom of religion. He chooses to be more inclusive. It’s time that we realize that while Christmas is celebrated by a vast majority of Americans (including myself) that there are still plenty that do not celebrate it. As someone who grew up in a Catholic and Jewish family, I appreciate his generalized holiday message, as it wishes me well for both holidays that I celebrate. Regardless of whether it’s a tree or a menorah, we all deserve love and kindness this holiday season. I stand with the Obama family for their sincere holiday wishes for everyone.

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