By Jake Mullick
Barack Obama will be remembered as one of the greatest president’s this country has ever had. He is not only the first president of color, but also a president who has drastically changed the world in which we live since he started running the country in 2008.
Even against a divided country that had just faced the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, mounting geopolitical tensions and a legislature controlled by the opposing party of the executive, Obama improved not only the United States, but the world.
Obama championed rights for LGBTQIA+ individuals as president. On Dec. 22, 2010, Obama signed into law the repeal of Don’t ask Don’t tell, the law that banned homosexual people from serving in the military. Under Obama, all people, regardless of sexual preference, were able to serve their country in the armed forces. On June 26, 2015, marriage equality was legalized in the United States under his administration.
Obama also helped drastically improve the economy. When he took office, the United States had an unemployment rate of almost 10 percent. At the end of his first term, that rate had dropped by about 2 percent. If the unemployment rate stays at what it is today, he will leave office while the country sees an unemployment rate of just 5 percent.
He was also responsible from increasing the national GDP from 14 trillion to 16.7 trillion. In context, the U.S. economy had not seen stagnation of this magnitude since the Great Depression, and in order to get out of the Great Depression, the U.S. capitalized on WWII and a wartime economy to send men off to war and increase the amount of manufacturing jobs to aid the war effort. Under the president’s leadership, the U.S. was able to effectively stop one war while rebuilding the economy, as opposed to countries like France, Greece and Spain, who are still recovering.
Obama led American initiatives that resulted in peaceful accomplishments, as well. He pulled a majority of troops out of Iraq in 2009, but left 50,000 behind in order to train the Iraqi army and help transition the country to military independence. Most of those remaining troops were brought home in 2011.
The president is also responsible for the successful assassination of top Al-Qaeda official Osama bin Laden, who was the FBI’s most wanted individual, the perpetrator of 9/11 and the leader in many other terror plots. Bringing him to justice signaled the decline in the terror organization of Al Qaeda. While Al Qaeda has been incredibly weakened, the president has had to deal with ISIL, another massive terrorist organization. The instability in the Middle East that allows for the formation of these terror groups has been something that U.S. presidents have had to deal with for many decades.
Obama has accomplished many other things, as well, including affordable healthcare, green energy initiatives and the toppling of Egyptian dictator Moammar Goddafi. When put into a historical perspective, he will rank favorably amongst his peers. Being a president means being part of one of the world’s most elite fraternities. It commands a certain level of deftness of leadership, as well as command in times of peril.
Their ability to represent the people they lead can be measured in many facets, but only time will tell us how well they did. It is safe to say that Obama’s ability to act and enforce meaningful change is the reason he will be remembered as one of the best.