The Obama Effect

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Just a few short years ago, we lived in a world full of happiness. We were carefree and black at its finest. Yes, there were still battles to fight, like police brutality and voter suppression, but there was still a sense of relaxation amongst us. That was the Obama effect.

Many Americans were shocked at the rise of the current occupant of the White House. But black Americans knew the deal. We turned out in record numbers to support Hillary Clinton, more specifically black women. We’ve always done the work. And yet, America let us down once again. We are now seeing the drastic ramifications of having the rest of the country apathetically stay home (over half of eligible voters did not show up to the polls), the Bernie bro’s twisted revenge of voting for 45 to spite the Democratic nominee, and the voice of the bellows of this country, reminding us that maybe we haven’t come as far as we hoped we had. That was the Obama effect.

Maybe we were a bit too comfortable. We thought “surely we can only move forward as a country” after having a black president. I mean, a BLACK PRESIDENT, with a black wife and black children and a black mother-in-law living in the White House. While some in the black community may feel that Obama did not do enough to specifically address its needs, we have to remember that the policies he enacted while may not be specifically addressing our people, have directly benefited us more than any other recent president. And aside from policy, the man represented. He reminded America and the rest of the world how dope it is to be black, from his jokes to the live performances that took place over his eight years at the White House. And Michelle held him down, standing up for her own causes and defending her blackness which such elegance and grace that so many people could not help but to fall in love with her. We fell in love with both of them. That was the Obama effect.

And now that we are left without them, over the last year we have seen how quickly our calm can become compromised. But this November, Americans decided to fight back. We saw sweeping victories from Democrats across the nation, and a few critical and historic Democratic victories here in Virginia, in part thanks to President Obama, who campaigned here in RIchmond for Governor-elect Northam. Those who stayed home last year decided to make their voices be heard this year. Despite the many negative ads from the Republican party (Lieutenant Governor Fairfax didn’t even run television ads) Democrats were able to pull it off. And now is the time to continue to push our newly elected officials to fight for us, and to let the current presidential administration know that we will not stand for the destruction of this country, nor the destruction of our people. We will demand change. The work is not over, but for now we must have hope. That’s the Obama effect.  

-Michelle