US President Obama Visits Berlin

*Prior to 2008, Barack Hussein Obama did what I’d thought was impossible, or at the very least improbable during my lifetime: he, an unapologetically brown-skinned man, got elected President of the United States.

In doing so, he began an eight year journey that led our country to a better place, while affirming a declaration my mother made to me when I was a little boy about everyone being able to be president.

During his two terms, President Obama reversed a substantial Republican-generated national debt and turned the economy around. He championed the institution of universal health care. He ended two wars that we shouldn’t have fought in the first place, and delivered Osama Bin Laden to his final resting place. DOMA fell and same-sex marriage became the law of the land.

President Obama accomplished all of that in the face of an oppositional Congress, while co-parenting two girls (with his equally impressive First Lady, Michelle) and avoiding a White House scandal, intern-related or otherwise.

Most significantly, President Obama led the country with grace and class. We don’t know how he reacts privately, and only Michelle, Sasha, and Malia know which buttons can cause him to come out of a bag. But as he publicly faced international and domestic challenges, whether it was the racist birther movement, a member of Congress calling him a “liar” while he was giving his annual State of the Union address, or his wife being called a monkey, President Obama never played the Angry Black Man Card, even when most of us would have.

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