Reflecting on the Obamas as a First Family

Sofie Jones, Opinions Editor

In the months following the 2016 election and the weeks since Donald Trump’s inauguration, I have heard exclamations of anger, frustration, and disbelief throughout the Concord Academy campus. These have been accompanied by sad and nervous faces and calls to action. However, there is something else I keep hearing: President Barack Obama, as one student remarked, keeping seeming better and better. As students, myself included, hear more about the Trump administration and its drastic, albeit ridiculous, policy decisions, they are begging to return to the days of President Obama’s term.

I feel like I must begin this with a disclaimer: I love the Obamas. I think they are one of the most eloquent, decent, respectful, and revolutionary families to ever inhabit the White House. Barack, Michelle, and their daughters have represented and guided this country for the past eight years. Barack has worked on countless important laws, trade deals, and one heavily publicized health care program. Michelle, meanwhile, has raised support for families of military veterans and worked tirelessly on campaigns to promote healthy eating and exercise among children. Malia and Sasha have grown up under constant scrutiny, only to become more intelligent and graceful young women. The Obamas are, in my opinion, the kind of first family that America needs. They are down to earth, caring, and deeply invested in this country’s success.

Some question why this seems to matter. Sure, many argue that while the American president has a lot of power, it is not like we have a monarchy. While this is true, I would argue that the first family has a tremendous influence on the American public. Furthermore, the President is chosen by the people, making it an even more direct representation of our democratic ideals. Although, as recent events have shown, countries are not defined by their leaders, the American president does hold substantial power over the country’s culture.

The first family serves as an example. It represents the best America has to offer, hopefully comprised of the brightest, nicest, sincerest citizens. When CA students read through their US history textbooks, these are the Americans they are looking for. Not the richest, most outspoken, or forceful.

Through policy initiatives, White House easter egg hunts, and social media posts, the Obamas have proved that they do, in fact, exemplify American ideals about family. Michelle and Barack are hardworking, honest, and so obviously care about their children. With role models like this, how could America not help but reflect some of these positive attributes?

However, this goes both ways and, at the moment, this power of reflection is what worries me. While I still have tremendous faith in so many Americans, I despise the version of this country’s morals, of elitism, divisiveness, and hatred, that the current first family boasts. The Obamas made me proud to be American, the Trumps do not. While President Barack Obama’s presidency will perhaps, historically, be remembered for the concrete, political decisions and plans he enacted, it is, I believe, crucial to remember the culture he created, the humility he showed, and the decency his family proved to possess.