Dear Mr. 44th President:
Even though you are no longer our sitting president, I will call you, and will continue to call you, by your formal title. You deserve nothing less.
Mr. President, you and I have never met. In fact, you don’t even know I exist. But for some reason, I feel like I know you.
You were the first president that I ever truly knew, since you were elected when I was 12 years old. Sure, I knew of your predecessor, but I never really knew his policies or anything aside from what my parents told me.
I am writing to say thank you for the past eight years and everything you have done for this nation that I love so much.
I want to thank you for the policies that you have set forth, many of which did not even involve me, but are tremendous nonetheless. I want to thank you for declaring that love is love regardless the sexual orientation and that the right to health should not be determined based on socioeconomic status. I want to thank you for standing up for the people who risked their lives in the hopes of becoming an American someday, who crossed a border into a country of which they did not know the language. I want to thank you for protecting the right of all women to get decent medical care at a rational price, because who knows what might have happened otherwise.
I want to thank you for your strength in the face of so many things that threatened this country, the country that you and I both call home. So many things happened during your presidency that would cause anyone else to shrink down. But you didn’t. You chose to stand up taller and stronger and face the problem head on.
I want to thank you for your genuineness. For crying with us after children were shot down at a school and celebrating with us when U.S. Special Forces avenged 9/11. For being real with us, and telling us the truth, no matter how hard it was to hear.
I want to thank you for your humor. Somehow, even in the darkest of days, you would lighten the mood with a smile and a joke with Joe (a man whom I, along with the rest of the nation, truly hopes is your best friend). You were a good sport in a climate that is rampant with faceless bullies hiding behind glowing screens and fake names. You took that hate and made it obsolete with your good comedic timing and contagious laugh.
Most of all though, Mr. President, I want to thank you for the hope that you have given me. You ran a campaign on hope. Because of you, I see that change can be made and I hope for a better future for myself and my future children. I hope that the deal we have currently been dealt will not destroy all the progress that we made under your steady hand. I hope that the country that you envisioned, a country that is very similar to the one that I pray will emerge, will one day not only be a fantasy, but a reality that makes every American regardless of age, race, sex, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, cultural background and political affiliation shine.
I know that your successor is not who you want. He is not who I want, either. But I hope that President Trump does right by you, because if he succeeds, we all succeed. I hope that he sees the progress that you set in motion and continues with it, instead of pushing it back. I can’t see the future and I don’t know what it has in store, but this is what I hope.
Mr. Obama, you will forever hold a very special place in my heart and what I hope can be the future. I know that you see what America can be, and I know that you did everything you could to make it that way.
But now it is our turn. If the protests this past weekend have anything to say about the next four years, there are a very strong, very passionate group of Americans who will not take things lying down. Who are willing to fight to continue your legacy. Who see the progress that has been made and will not take regression lying down.
Mr. President, history will look at you much better than the present did. I truly believe that you will go down as one of the greatest presidents in history. I am proud to have grown up and learned from you.
Enjoy your time off. You deserve it.
A grateful American.