It snowed the night before his inauguration in 2009.
I was in the fifth grade; snow was a BIG deal.
And per the norm in the South, school boards across the state of North Carolina (at least the affected area, anyway) decided to close the schools due to inclement weather that would have surely created a catastrophic “The Day After Tomorrow”-type survival scenario, with the world as we know it being enveloped in a dangerous, icy tundra (it was probably three, four, maybe five inches max — but the school system saw no difference).
So, at around 10 o’clock in the morning on that cold Tuesday in January, I got up with full intentions of spending the day outside, playing in the snow like any typical kid would.
There were so many things that I could do out in the snow: build a snowman, make snow angels, beg my mom to make snow cream, build forts with my neighbor, using snowballs mixed with slushy ice to wage war on the others' fort (this was not a smart idea at all — my brother got hit with what was essentially just a solid chunk of ice).
But before I went outside, my mom flipped the TV on to the inauguration.
There Barack Obama stood, surrounded by thousands of people, onstage, ready to speak to the nation officially as the 44th president of the United States of America.
“Don’t you two want to watch?” my mom asked my brother and me. At the time, we were just two 11-year-old kids that didn’t know a damn thing about politics or government.
We looked at each other, then the snow outside, then each other again, then the snow outside…
(OK, we said “no ma’am” — my mama didn’t raise two deviants. But, “no ma’am” doesn’t have the same effect as “nah,” so here we are.)
“Are you sure?” she asked again.
For a kid, I was pretty sure. I mean, snow in the South rarely happened, right? At the time, playing in the snow felt like a can’t-miss opportunity, an event that seemingly came just once in a lifetime. It was too special to miss.
But so was Obama’s rise to the presidency.
Barack Hussein Obama II, a bright-eyed and charismatic 47-year-old senator from Illinois, ran a campaign promising change to an impatient nation. A nation that lost trust in a worsening economy, a volatile presence in a terrorized and war-torn Middle East, a questionable government as a whole.
Bush, at the conclusion of his time in office, held a low 34 percent approval rating, per Gallup. Obama, seizing opportunity, released a bevy of campaign ads against Republican nominee John McCain, claiming that we, the American people, couldn’t “afford more of the same.” Now, this is how campaigns typically run — whenever citizens are unhappy with whoever is currently in office, shifts to the contrasting political party is typical, and smart politicians will catch this and ride the “change” theme as hard as they can. For Obama, it worked. And this past campaign cycle, Trump followed a similar approach, and it, too, worked.
This, along with Obama's sole promise of bringing change in a positively charged, united effort (“Yes we can”), led to waves and waves of support.
Not only did the 2008 election signal the largest vote total in America’s history (Obama gained over 66 million votes, beating McCain by over eight million), but it made Obama the first African-American to hold the office of president, a monumental feat that will live on in history forever.
…I still chose the snow.
(Like I said: I wasn’t smart.)
Although I looked away back then, I’ve been aware of Obama’s past eight years in office, as he’s been involved in countless moments that have defined his legacy — political interests and actions aside — as the 44th President.
So, without further ado, here are some of Obama’s best moments throughout the years:
Newly elected President Barack Obama dancing with first lady Michelle Obama, with (the queen) Beyoncé beautifully singing “At Last”:
Barack shows off why he’s the “baby whisperer”:
Barack singing part of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” (and it’s not bad)!
Obama hosting — and having more fun than — kids at the annual “Trick-or-Treat at the White House” last October:
Obama giving tips to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during a PSA on mentorship:
Obama playing a quick game of P-O-T-U-S with CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg. (Spoiler: he wins!)
The 2009 edition of Barack-etology, where the president picks UNC men’s basketball to win the NCAA Championship — this would be the ONLY time he’s correctly chosen the winner. (Maybe it has to do with getting some luck after a game of pickup with the Heels in 2008.)
Obama joins BuzzFeed in “Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About”:
Barack and Michelle Obama are #RelationshipGoals and there’s no denying it. Look it up in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of them. (OK there’s no picture in the dictionary, but there should be.)
To the girl from the South Side who took on a role she didn't ask for and made it her own: Happy Birthday, Michelle. I love you. pic.twitter.com/lvjfx418hn