Editorial: Will Our Next President Live Up to Obama’s legacy?

Jacob Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

It’s no secret that the 2016 presidential campaign has been jam-packed with controversy. For the last year-and-a-half, the US population has been pummeled with reports of  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s offences. Benghazi, unreleased tax returns, deleted emails, and uncovered films are just the start of the scandals exposed. I, for one, am sick of hearing about them. While the election date is less than a month away and learning as much as you can about the candidates is important, these controversies have clouded our current president’s legacy.

If we just look at a few of President Obama’s accomplishments, it’s impressive what he’s been able to achieve.

Obama was able to pass the Affordable Care Act, which expanded the coverage of health care. He gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco and with the help of the first lady Michelle Obama, the Obama administration improved nutrition in schools.  

He ended the war in Iraq and began to cutback the war in Afghanistan. He eliminated the threat of Osama bin Laden. After the tragedy of the Gulf Oil Spill, Obama brokered the agreement to speedy compensation to the victims.

As far as Supreme Court appointees, Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve, and Elena Kagan, the fourth woman to serve. Without the votes of Kagan and Sotomayor, marriage equality would not be a reality. By repealing “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” Obama gave LGBT+ people the freedom to serve openly in the military.

President Obama brought us out of the great recession, the biggest economic catastrophe since the great depression. He’s strengthened the middle class by giving tax breaks and forcing the upper class to pay more.  

He ended the so-called “War on Drugs” when he focused on combating addiction rather than imprisoning drug users. When an unwilling to act Congress failed to address gun control, President Obama used executive orders to increase background checks. He’s taken steps to combat climate change by signing the Paris Agreement and pledging to reduce our carbon dioxide emission.

Obama has focused to closing the pay-gap between men and women and his and Michelle Obama’s initiative to Let Girls Learn has helped increase equality in the sexes.

Despite Obama’s accomplishments, during his presidency the government has shut down, he’s faced extreme opposition from Republicans in congress, and our political system is plagued more by partisanship than ever before. Yet Obama’s approval rating is at an astonishing 56 percent.

More important than any of Obama’s policy successes is the way he has been a good role model. He has completely avoided scandals. The first family has been classy, professional, and appropriate. Americans will miss them. Obama has also changed what it means to be president. He’s proven stereotypes wrong and that a person from any race or ethnicity can be a strong leader. He’s given opportunities to women showing the country that women can be as successful as men. He’s embraced technology and changed the way the White House is run. He taught boys that it’s okay to cry when he cried over the death of elementary students on live television. Obama was passionate about his job, and he deserves praise for the work he’s done to help our country.  

We can only hope that our next president achieves as much as President Obama.