It is Friday the 20th of January 2017
America is getting her 45th President however, no one can deny that in the months, weeks and days that led up to this date and on this date itself, never before has an outgoing American President taken centre stage world wide like the 44th President of the United States has done.
Is it social media? Is it print and visual media? The 44th along with his family and team are trending tremendously. Even the critics of the 44th would concede that over the past 8 years, the White House came alive with some sort of energy difficult to ignore no matter how much one tried, irrespective of their geographical location.
The emergence of the 44th President managed to motivate people across all races and climes on our planet. It is therefore only logical that the LR borderless motivational space dedicates this week’s publication to this son of Kenya who has left his footprints in the sands of time.
How did all this start?
On the 4th of August in 1961, a boy was born in Honolulu Hawaii. He was the son of a Kenyan father Barack Hussein Obama Sr. and a white American mother from Kansas Stanley Ann Dunham. Three years later at the end of the union, the mother and maternal grand parents raised the offspring. In his own books; ‘Dreams from my Father’ and ‘The Audacity of Hope’ he describes the period of self-discovery, dreams, growth and self-actualization.
In January 2009 a dream came true.
Barrack Hussein Obama Jr. was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America on 20th January 2009. He made history as the first black man ever to hold that position. He was elected purely for himself, his message, his persona and what he symbolised. Only very rarely has a person captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. So it was not surprising that in October 2009, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded him its most prestigious honour, the Peace Prize; just for being Obama.
The evidence of how he came, he saw and he conquered.
Obama’s record is bigger and more substantial than even he allowed himself to admit through much of his time in office. As a black man growing up in America, Obama had learned when to fight and when to let go. He is known to be eloquent, cool and passive. To a large degree, he is a figure of optimism and high aspirations preaching an idealism few can reject.
- Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable care act, nearly erased the disparity in healthcare access between black children and white children and helped more than 20 million Americans get health coverage.
- His immigration policy has at least temporarily freed millions of Latinos from life in the shadows.
- High school dropout rates fell to historical lows, with African Americans and Latinos charting the greatest progress.
- Obama pushed for fair sentencing laws, commuted sentences of over 1100 people, which is more than the past eleven presidents combined.
- He is also credited with halting the financial crisis and projecting American credibility to the rest of the world.
His audacity of hope!
Despite his purported “inexperience” he gave a full measure of scandal free service, a rarity among modern Presidents. He never lost hope, even when others wavered. Presidency, is a tough job but he did it with dignity and conscience, from start to finish he displayed honour and humility un-paralleled.
The country he leaves behind is more peaceful, prosperous and respected than it has ever been. Critics may suggest he has been a disappointment, even a failure, but they are wrong as it is difficult to think of an area of American life that isn’t in better shape than when Obama took office. Nonetheless, even Obama displayed an acceptance of criticism in the knowledge that it is an ingredient for improvement when employed properly.
The dedicated family man.
Throughout this journey, he was supported by his lovely wife Michelle and their two lovely daughters Malia Ann and Sasha. Michelle Obama was described by Vogue as “the First Lady the world has been waiting for”. With her super trendy technicolour wardrobe collection to her down-to-earth yet classy elegance, Michelle managed to demystify and simultaneously glamorise the position of FLOTUS (first lady of the United States).
The legacies of the son of Kenya lives on …..
It has been an incredible eight years and even though he passes on the baton, President Barack Obama remains one of the most inspirational figures and role model of our time. While many bid him good-bye from the white house, we bid him welcome to more productivity and continued positive impact on his generation.
The legacies of his journey as the 44th American President we have already highlighted above abound but something tells us on LR that his legacies to the world at large is set to sky rocket.
Knowing this man and his wife, they are going to find a way to keep making a palpable difference in the lives of fellow humans. The Obama Foundation established in 2014 is already getting in gear to drive their work of global progress.
We will leave you with some of the words of Barack and Michelle Obama in marble:
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama
‘The first priority is to make sure that my kids have their heads on straight. They are great and they are stable and they are confident, and I want to make sure that they stay that way.’ Michelle Obama
“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” Barack Obama
‘Success is not about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people’s lives’. Michelle Obama
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” Barack Obama
‘The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.’ Michelle Obama
“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.”
‘When women and girls rise, their communities and their countries rise with them.’
“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” Barack Obama
‘We should always have three friends in our lives – one who walks ahead who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we’ve cleared the way.’ Michelle Obama
“What I’ve realised is that life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children — all of our children — a better world. Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” Barack Obama
‘One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. So when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really do not invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.’
“You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.”
‘Barack is one of the few men I’ve met who is not intimidated by strong women. He relishes the fact that I am not impressed by him.’
“The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.” Barack Obama
‘I am married to a man who gets it’ Michelle Obama
“Yes, we can!” Barack Obama
Now you can see why it has been much abuzz about the 44th President of the United States (POTUS) and his FLOTUS as they step aside for the 45th and his team. The LR team encourages us all to reflect on this story of the Obama journey from Kenya to Washington and let us know what you think of the legacies this man left us – let us do it in the comment section because we each know we can.
*This week’s piece was prepared by LR Team editor Erhyo Obodo