What Obama Means to Me | Teen Ink

What Obama Means to Me MAG

February 26, 2009
By inkwaves SILVER, Alexandria, Virginia
inkwaves SILVER, Alexandria, Virginia
9 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Two years ago, Obama meant nothing to me. His name did not ring any bells of hope or change or bring huge traffic to my hometown. However, just a year later, he became the Democratic nominee for president and his name rang the bells of history. Obama meant history was in the making.

Six months ago, Obama meant ­debates at the school lunch table and people selling his campaign buttons for five bucks and the scratched ones for three. Obama was my friend’s Halloween costume, and if a house had a McCain sign, he would take his mask off, get the candy, then say, “Vote for Obama.”

On November 4th, Obama meant campaigning was finally over. His ads would stop. His signs would be taken down. My family watched as the election was called and he won. To think that I thought it was all over that night … I thought his name would fade from the news ­because it would never again hold that suspense it had carried before the election. I was wrong. It only intensified. Every day the news brought something about him: “Today Obama met with President Bush,” “Today he is in town looking at schools for his daughters.”

Obama also meant some unexpected claims-to-fame for my family and friends. He attended the same high school as my stepdad. Apparently everybody called him “Barry” back then. One of my friends goes to the school in D.C. that Malia and Sasha now attend. She said she sees Malia and Sasha sometimes and the Secret Service walks around a lot. “One of the agents looks like a gorilla,” she noted.

Finally, on January 20th, Obama meant a day off from school. Being locals, my mom and I decided we would regret it if we missed such a historic event. So we timed our inauguration outing perfectly. We watched Obama get sworn in on TV. Then we took the Metro, which was practically empty. Once in D.C., we were instantly met with throngs of people. They blanketed the National Mall, the streets, and the Metro stations, most looking overwhelmed or just plain lost.

We walked in front of the Capitol where huge ­jumbotrons showed the Obamas going to a luncheon while we waddled outside in the cold. My mom and I walked between the rows of empty plastic chairs, like a sea of soldiers facing the inauguration platform. Litter tumbled by: newspapers with headlines related to the inauguration, the wrappers from hand warmers, a lonely glove, empty water bottles, and even a blanket from an expensive hotel. The Capitol reflecting pool was frozen, so people were out on it, sliding, dancing, or cautiously toeing the ice. I joined them, starting to feel like I was a part of something.

The crowd was enormous, bigger than any I had ever seen in Washington. They were bundled up, holding flags and wearing Obama pins. We met all sorts of people from almost everywhere. There was a couple all the way from Hawaii, wearing fresh but tired-looking leis and capris with long socks. Some people were dressed in traditional African clothing. We also saw a guy in an Obama superhero suit – a white spandex bodysuit with “Obama” written across the chest and fake muscles poking out everywhere. People had been asking him for pictures all day, he said nonchalantly as he leaned back in his chair at a Japanese restaurant, as if that was the most normal thing. And it was, because on inauguration day, I wasn’t surprised.

My mom and I challenged ourselves to wave to all the media. We waved to CNN. We waved to NBC. We jumped up and down and shouted “OBAMA!” whenever a camera passed. By the time we claimed our spot to watch the parade, I was freezing. The procession ­started at last, and lines of ­soldiers and bands marched past. A big truck inched by with cameramen in the back, aiming their cameras at the cars behind them.

Then a black car rolled by and the crowd ­started screaming … but it turned out to be Secret Service. Finally another appeared and we knew it was him. It was President Barack Obama. There was screaming and camera flashes. There was shoving and craning for a better look. There were squeals and gasps. And at the same time, it felt like slow motion. The car inched past. Even through the tinted windows, you could see our president ­grinning, and he gave us a wave.

After Obama passed, we watched the rest on TV in a restaurant. On the streets, people were selling everything Obama: T-shirts, buttons, key chains, mugs, and pictures of him from every angle (some more flattering than others). Then there were the “Take your picture with Obama” stands where you could stand next to a cardboard cutout.

After the inauguration, Obama represented not ­only an office, but also a person. At first, Obama was just a name. Then he was a face, a slogan, and a voice. Now, he was a person – very human as he gave one of his goofy grins that seem to say, This is all for me? As he entered the presidency, he became one of the unattainables. He is now in a fish bowl of scrutiny and admiration. He’s a celebrity, an influence, but that smile he flashed as his car passed us reminded me that he is still only human.

Humans, while not perfect, are capable of extra­ordinary things. Obama has already brought people together: from Hawaii and Kenya, Democrats and Republicans, blacks and whites, young and old voters, and the many who stood in the cold on January 20. I feel like “Obama” should be added to the dictionary. What other word describes hope, faith, unity, change, expectation, history, and leadership in just three ­syllables?

Similar Articles


This article has 104 comments.

on Feb. 28 2011 at 1:44 pm
singergurl12 GOLD, Jacksonville, Florida
15 articles 0 photos 190 comments

Favorite Quote:
Fairy tales are true, not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.

happily ever after- AGREED.

this is extremely well written, and you're an amazing writer, don't get me wrong. but it doesn't change the fact that Obama's an idiot.

on another topic, i can say it in 2 syllables-


on Dec. 31 2010 at 10:14 pm
waitingforforever SILVER, Warner Robins, Georgia
6 articles 0 photos 7 comments
He doesn't deserve MY respect if he is ruining my country for me and my future children, and I can't do anything about it.

on Dec. 24 2010 at 4:13 pm
Harvardstar BRONZE, Sugar Land, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments
I agree bush was just a whole bunch of Bull sh**

on Dec. 24 2010 at 2:47 pm
cantabile BRONZE, Boerne, Texas
1 article 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We walk by faith not by sight" 2 Corrinthians 5:7
Let it come to you

so agree. He has messed up our economy so badly. I know I will have so much fun being in debt when I'm adult.

on Nov. 10 2010 at 3:53 pm
Kyle Tierney BRONZE, Marcellus, New York
2 articles 0 photos 89 comments
he didnt have to get anyone to agree on anything up until last week because the dems had both house anddddddddd senate. Because of this, he passed worthless stimulus packages.

on Oct. 21 2010 at 7:09 pm
faypirate23 DIAMOND, Fayetteville, West Virginia
61 articles 0 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
Take the road less traveled by.

hallaeuhhhhur or however you spell it butt yeah bush is the one that got us in what were in obama cant do anything about it.no one could. no one could possibly get us out of this mes and all teens know is what their parents tell em i believe what I believe not because someone else does.

SomeSense said...
on Oct. 19 2010 at 11:26 am
Finnally people with logical minds

Mickey123 said...
on Oct. 19 2010 at 11:24 am
Fay you are right, W. Bush was one of the worst presidents we have ever had

on Oct. 19 2010 at 11:22 am
Well yeah, because it his first year. Oh and the people he has to get to agree on it arguee so much that getting anything passed would be close to immposible. And as for the economy, he did not break it in the first place, give him time and he can do at least a little of that

on Sep. 27 2010 at 6:10 am
Treefiddy BRONZE, Tarzana, California
1 article 0 photos 158 comments
I think that William F. Buckley Jr. summed it up perfectly when he said, "I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University."

on Sep. 27 2010 at 6:07 am
Treefiddy BRONZE, Tarzana, California
1 article 0 photos 158 comments

Agnot, when I say "mastermind", I mean that in a self-annointed way. There is a deep belief among those in academia that if we harness all of the greatest academic minds and let them run the economy, everything would turn out just fine. As it turns out, those who believe that they know everything have no problem pushing their will upon people when given the power, and will treat society as a social experiment to reflect their annointed vision. Obama is a community activist with roots in the radical Saul Alkinsky, who has no world experience, and campaigned completely on rhetoric.

I get the phrase from a quote from FDR, while he was preeching free-market policies. While he was campaigning for his first term as President, he condemned "The doctrine of regulation and legislation by 'master minds,' in whose judgment and will all the people may gladly and quietly acquiesce, has been too glaringly apparent at Washington during these last ten years.

Roosevelt himself would become the very "master mind" which he had condemned. He took what was being done under the Hoover Administration and continued it at a magnified rate.

Who is truely smart or wise enough to run an economy? More importantly, what legal precedent compels them to do so?

on Aug. 14 2010 at 12:42 pm
clairexaudrey PLATINUM, Bethel, Connecticut
41 articles 3 photos 73 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
-Elizabeth Kubler Ross


-a man who failed to fix the economy and therefore every child in American already owes thousand in dollars in debt to our country

- trying to blame others for the problem in the gulf because he can't fix it himself..he's the effing president. it doesn't matter who started it, what is he, a little kid just pointing and exclaiming to his mommy "she started it!" let's stop being immature and try to fix the fucking problem.

-a man no one has ever heard of before elections. at least mccain had served his country before. people knew his name. he was an honest american. what the hell did obama do before this? he was like a communication organizer or something? we had that job at my high school. my friend megan did that. does that mean she can be president?

-a socialist. goodbye freedom of speech, hey maybe he'll shut down teen ink because we're allowed to say whatever we want-without the government moderating.

on Jul. 26 2010 at 11:21 am
AgnotTheOdd GOLD, Aptos, California
17 articles 0 photos 315 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The reason for your unreasonable treatment of my reason so enfeebles my reason that I have reason to complain of your reason" ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

kaileigh, you have been posting comments that are just begging to be replied to.  its like telling someone "your mother is a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries" and expecting them to not respond

Icypyro BRONZE said...
on Jul. 24 2010 at 8:23 am
Icypyro BRONZE, Piqua, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
For I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.


on Jul. 23 2010 at 11:09 pm
AgnotTheOdd GOLD, Aptos, California
17 articles 0 photos 315 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The reason for your unreasonable treatment of my reason so enfeebles my reason that I have reason to complain of your reason" ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Except i was simply using that as an example of quarrelsome quibbling.  I do not actually believe that.

McoYo said...
on Jul. 23 2010 at 10:34 pm
Ahh! I totally agree! He's screwed up the airlines, he's hella increased the taxes, homeboy has not kept a SINGLE promise he said he would. And it makes me really sad because l really wanted him to change the country! :( 

on Jul. 23 2010 at 9:51 pm
Elizabeth_Pipko SILVER, New York, New York
6 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Adversity causes some to break, others to break records.

i also think he is a big dissapointment. I didn't like him very much but I though atleast maybe the country would have some new exciting fresh ideas....He only talks about how bad Bush was, but changes hardly anything! he has not done anything for the better!

on Jul. 23 2010 at 9:49 pm
Elizabeth_Pipko SILVER, New York, New York
6 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Adversity causes some to break, others to break records.

Thank you! right back at you!

McoYo said...
on Jul. 23 2010 at 8:27 pm
 Ok well yeah thats chill, but really, what policies of his do you ACTUALLY like and that you genuinely are knowledgeable about? Set his race aside, l think he's turned out to be insanely disappointing... 

Icypyro BRONZE said...
on Jul. 23 2010 at 7:10 pm
Icypyro BRONZE, Piqua, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
For I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

My back actually does hurt just a bit...=) Anyway, you couldn't take me seriously because of the implications of my username, so the implications of yours are grounds for me doing the same.