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?

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This article has 104 comments.

on Jul. 1 2010 at 2:44 pm
Kaileigh918 BRONZE, Orange Park, Florida
4 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There's no shortcuts to anywhere worth going"

he's saving America, smart one.

on Jul. 1 2010 at 2:43 pm
Kaileigh918 BRONZE, Orange Park, Florida
4 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There's no shortcuts to anywhere worth going"

he's saving America, smart one.

redfer SILVER said...
on Jul. 1 2010 at 11:26 am
redfer SILVER, Tucson, Arizona
5 articles 0 photos 13 comments

I just don't exactly understand how Obama has brought peace, unity, etc. Sure, he goes on about hope like there's no tomorrow, but where's the proof? How have we changed?

In my opinion, the only thing that's changed is the overwhelming (frankly, embarrassing) amount of infatuation with a man who sleeps on his throne.

dogtags said...
on Jul. 1 2010 at 12:50 am
I cannot accept a man as president who works so hard to destroy the country I love. Those who support him have not looked at him logically. They just like him because he is a minority or because he supposedly helps poor people. His beliefs and policies are ruining America.

on Jun. 9 2010 at 1:52 pm
guineapig324 BRONZE, Bow, New Hampshire
2 articles 2 photos 4 comments
I completely agree with you! I am only 15 but when I grow up, I don't want to have to pay a large percentage of my income in taxes to fix the huge national debt our government has accumulated. Reckless government spending is only hurting the economy. Still, I thought this article was very well-written and would encourage the author to keep writing!

on May. 18 2010 at 10:43 pm
Clementine SILVER, Gustavus, Alaska
5 articles 2 photos 46 comments
Yes, I agree. It is going to take a little while for Obama to be able to fix all that Bush screwed up! Give him a break. He actually has done a lot already, and is on the road to creating many new environmentally friendly policies to help our world.

on May. 18 2010 at 8:04 pm
deJoisey SILVER, South Plainfield, New Jersey
5 articles 1 photo 4 comments
Great essay.  I like Obama, and find the violent resent that some people have for him to be quite disturbing.  I was not a fan of Bush, but I never verbally thrashed him, because he was my president and deserves nothing but the upmost respect from his countrymen.  

on May. 18 2010 at 6:16 pm
faypirate23 DIAMOND, Fayetteville, West Virginia
61 articles 0 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
Take the road less traveled by.

I LOVE OBAMA i was the only one in my school who liked obama besides three other ppl hes a whole hell of a lot better than bush thats for sure hes my home boy!

on May. 18 2010 at 5:35 pm
iknowyourheart BRONZE, Casper, Wyoming
1 article 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"And I'll borrow words from all my favorite paragraphs to write a ballad while we say the things we hope would mean the most to me and each letter sent I've found in the pages of hope for the days when I feel like I've lost everything."-mayday parade

Although I disagree, Ithink your writing is wonderful :)

Icypyro BRONZE said...
on May. 18 2010 at 7:15 am
Icypyro BRONZE, Piqua, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 16 comments

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

What's Obama done to help our country yet?!?! NUTHIN, THAT'S WHAT! So much for "Change"...

on May. 3 2010 at 3:45 pm
EmoToboe BRONZE, Kemp, Texas
1 article 0 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
When you've lost it all.......That's when you finally realize.....That life is BEAUTIFUL

Man, I'm getting sick of people accusing Obama of being terrorist or communist, honestly what proof do they have. Jeez how can someone say so much about something they know little about

Sarbear GOLD said...
on Apr. 10 2010 at 8:43 am
Sarbear GOLD, Milan, Ohio
10 articles 4 photos 489 comments

Favorite Quote:
--Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away from them and you have their shoes.
--When life gives you lemons, squirt them in people's eyes.

this is amazing. i can tell how strongly you feel about what he's done in your life. love this! check out some of my work too :)

on Apr. 4 2010 at 2:50 pm
goddess_of_the_moon_123 SILVER, Beaverdam, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 70 comments

Favorite Quote:
'To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores' ~ William Shakespeare, A Winter's Tale

What Obama means to me:

Health care for that disabled kid down the street

Democracy for that little girl in Iraq-- her OWN democracy

The Constitution upheld, for me, for my kids one day, for their kids-- because there is no way to destroy it, not in our political system

Respect for America once again

A healthier world for my little cousin 

I can understand that you are entitled to your opinion, but try to understand that most of the things you have suggested have not and, in all reality, will never happen. Obama may not be perfect, but he's done pretty darn well with what he has-- and he's getting stuff done. And that's what Obama means to me. 

on Apr. 4 2010 at 9:11 am
jamaicanprincess BRONZE, New Castle, Delaware
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
control your life and do what you wanna do

well let's see

he didnt stay in the white house and accumulate debt for 8 years and put us in a pointless war...

my grandmother and aunt will finally get health care

yup better than bust to me :)

Brookelyn said...
on Mar. 25 2010 at 9:48 pm
thank you! finally an open mind instead of a bunch of up tight teenagers whos parents tell them that obama and liberals are bad and "complain" about americas mistakes...and even a year afterwards obama has occomplished good things and in 2 years when his term is over I hope you write another paper on this...I'm not exactly a die hard american citizen I move all over, but having someone like him in office is worth it...

iceman04606 said...
on Jan. 28 2010 at 8:05 am
Give me an example as to why he is better.

on Jan. 25 2010 at 8:14 pm
WiggityWack SILVER, Blahhhh, Nebraska
7 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hope. Dream. Make it happen..>>

CAN you say wack!

on Jan. 25 2010 at 8:12 pm
WiggityWack SILVER, Blahhhh, Nebraska
7 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hope. Dream. Make it happen..>>

Wow its very sad people judge people on age, please. Its very SAD That people judge people on there SKIN.. Age thats nothing!

on Jan. 25 2010 at 8:09 pm
WiggityWack SILVER, Blahhhh, Nebraska
7 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hope. Dream. Make it happen..>>


on Dec. 15 2009 at 4:41 pm
Gatorpoet SILVER, Tavares, Florida
9 articles 0 photos 11 comments
Obama is a celebrity not a politition. He goes around the world appologizing for how bad America is when he hasn't done anything to fix it. His socialist views might burry this country and the nobel peace prize was a joke. The nation at a time like this does not need a leftwing that the country does not need right now. To put it in a view of kid related activites this is Obama's plan. Imagine little kids going out tricker treating and getting a whole bunch of candy. The comes Mr. Obama and takes a percentage of their candy to give to the kids that stayed home and did nothing. Please tell me how that's going to get us out of the recession? Americans just need to hold on now and wait till 2012 when some one like Rudy Juliana, Mit Romney, or Sarah Palin will step up and do this country justice.