Let's Give Obama the Recognition He Deserves

*Originally Published in the Northern Iowan*

     Believe it or not, the 2016 Presidential Election is just 20 months away. This is an important election for both parties, who will each get the chance to put forth their best candidate and make a run for the White House. 

     I feel like President Obama’s term has flown by. Of course, he had one of the toughest tenures as president in the history of this country, but other people seem to feel otherwise. 

     Since day one of his presidency, Obama has been hounded and attacked by the right. Obviously, to me, a very progressive liberal, the amount of outrage and disapproval of the Obama Administration is extremely baffling.

     Of course, not everyone is going to agree with me, and I am certainly not advising anyone to take my side. But I feel as an American, not even a Democrat, the President has had a lack of support from the public. 

     Let me go back and look at how former President George W. Bush was treated throughout his administration. 

     Obviously, the attacks on Sept. 11 were devastating and to be president during that period must have been very challenging. In the following years we would see how the Bush Administration would handle the situation but people were still very supportive of President Bush. 

     I remember the 2000’s as a time where if you spoke badly about President Bush or the war in Iraq, you were considered un-American. 

     During his eight-year tenure as president, Bush managed to invade a country unrelated to the issues of 9/11 and start a war based on false information provided to him by his own colleagues. He provided tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, leading our economy to the brink of a new depression. To top everything off, he created a highly negative image of the United States that was seen by majority of the world. By 2008, America was in shambles. 

     President Obama steered us through one of the worst economic disasters in our lifetime, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wipe Osama Bin Laden off the face of the earth, create a healthcare system that continues to create jobs, spur economic growth and, most importantly, insure over 17 million Americans who were uninsured prior to the Affordable Healthcare Act. Our nation’s unemployment rate is at 5.1 percent; the private sector continues to see job growth, and our nation’s economy has been able to safely stay on the road to recovery. So why is he so disliked? 

     The main argument from Obama’s opponents is he is un-American. They feel this way because he created a healthcare system instead of letting Republicans privatize healthcare for their own economic gain. Obama has prevented the United States from entering in another battle in the Middle East by avoiding unnecessary military action in Syria and Iraq, which Republicans disagree with. 

     President Obama has basically been Bush’s mop, cleaning up the mess he made while his party continues to try and pull the same shenanigans that the Bush Administration pulled off.

     Think about all the beneficial policies that could be implemented if President Obama had support from both sides. Americans could have been able to re-finance their student loans based on a bill drafted by the president and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

     We could have sensible gun legislation that would keep weapons out of the hands of people who are unfit to operate one. We could be aggressively combating climate change and saving our planet from further devastation if Republicans were not constantly trying to bar the president and his administration from acting on climate change. America’s middle class would be thriving if Republicans spent less time attacking poor people by trying to limit their access to government assistance and more time reforming Wall Street and Oil Companies who are cheating themselves out of taxes. 

     No one seemed to care or call Bush un-American when he allowed 140 Saudi Arabian Nationals, including members of the Bin Laden family, to leave the United States without question on private jets just two days after the 9/11 attacks, a time when U.S. airspace was still closed to U.S. citizens. 

     I could go on and on about the horrible things Bush got away with, but it is not worth it. This issue of acceptance is not between Bush and Obama, but the state of race relations in this country. 

     It all boils down to the fact that President Obama is African-American. It isn’t about his policies or the way he governs, but simply the fact that he happens to be black. It is extremely unfair to the president, but this is the state of how people treat race issues in America today. 

     I only hope President Obama will receive more support in his final year and a half as commander-in-chief. If not, people will look back and realize all the things President Obama was able to do for this country and receive the praise and kudos he deserves.

Riley Cosgrove