Hope and change.
They were two words that inspired a nation. They inspired me to stop partying as a nightlife reporter for the Charlotte Observer and spend the year writing about politics for the digital generation. As much as I loved the nightlife beat, something about the 2008 election told me it was going to be special. I wanted to chronicle that special moment, and hopefully motivate people my age to get active and vote.
Listening to President Obama’s farewell speech, I was reminded of those hopeful times. It wasn’t just Obama’s election that made us hopeful. It was the rhetoric of a unified country. A country not of red states or blue states. Although, I didn’t believe in a post-racial America, I like the idea that we thought it could be possible.
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These days the phrase post-racial sounds ludicrous as Obama mentioned in his speech.
“Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society,” he said. “We’re not where we need to be and all of us still have work we need to do.”
During his 2008 campaign and throughout his presidency, Obama challenged each of us individually to do what we could to make this country better. That’s what made me hopeful then. It was that sense of hope that made inauguration week 2009 unforgettable. Remember the hope pictures or the various celebrity videos? Inauguration week was marked by free concerts and events held throughout the D.C., but U-street was the epicenter for black people. The same U-street that had been basically destroyed in the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was celebrating the election of America’s first Black president.
The air was pregnant with love and hope.
Today, most of those same hopeful people that I knew then are full of fear now under a Trump presidency.
Obama reminded us of the challenge facing us today.
The children of immigrants that are vilified and ignored today will make up the majority of our population tomorrow. The lack of voter participation threatens our democracy. Terrorists threaten our lives and our sense of security.
“For too many of us it’s become easier to retreat into our own bubbles, churches, neighborhoods, social media feeds,” Obama said. “We all have to try harder. We all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens love our country just as much as we do.”
I love this country and neither Donald Trump nor his racist followers will stop me from loving this country. My ancestors fought, bled and died here. This is my country too.
34 Photos That Will Make You Miss The Obama Family Already
1. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 1 of 52
2. Two TermsSource:Getty 2 of 52
3. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Alex Wong/Getty Images 3 of 52
4. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 4 of 52
5. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Alex Wong/Getty Images 5 of 52
6. The Obamas on Air Force One6 of 52
7. The First Family in London7 of 52
8. Turkey PardoningSource:Getty 8 of 52
9. First Lady Michelle Obama with daughters Malia Obama and Sasha ObamaSource:Getty 9 of 52
10. Gobble, GobbleSource:Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 10 of 52
11. Sasha and Malia Obama at the 2016 State DinnerSource:Getty 11 of 52
12. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty 12 of 52
13. Turkey PardoningSource:Getty 13 of 52
14. Sunday ChurchSource:MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images 14 of 52
15. A Family AffairSource:Getty 15 of 52
16. Gobble, GobbleSource:Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 16 of 52
17. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Getty 17 of 52
18. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 18 of 52
19. Malia Obama, the First DaughterSource:Getty 19 of 52
20. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty 20 of 52
21. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza/The White House 21 of 52
22. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 22 of 52
23. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza/The White House 23 of 52
24. Always Giving BackSource:Getty 24 of 52
25. A Christmas StorySource:Paul Morigi/Getty Images 25 of 52
26. Ice Cream TreatSource:Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images 26 of 52
27. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 27 of 52
28. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 28 of 52
29. Michelle Plays on a BikeSource:Mark Wilson/Getty Images 29 of 52
30. Obama Loves Team USA, His Wife & MaliaSource:Getty 30 of 52
31. A Christmas StorySource:Paul Morigi/Getty Images 31 of 52
32. Reading TimeSource:Getty 32 of 52
33. Family SupportSource:Getty 33 of 52
34. Malia and Sasha ObamaSource:SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images 34 of 52
35. The Sister SelfieSource:Pete Souza/The White House 35 of 52
36. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza/The White House 36 of 52
37. Michelle Plays on a BikeSource:Mark Wilson/Getty Images 37 of 52
38. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 38 of 52
39. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 39 of 52
40. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 40 of 52
41. Obama SwaggerSource:MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images 41 of 52
42. The Sister SelfieSource:Pete Souza/The White House 42 of 52
43. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 43 of 52
44. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza/The White House 44 of 52
45. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 45 of 52
46. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 46 of 52
47. Obama SwaggerSource:MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images 47 of 52
48. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Getty 48 of 52
49. Christmas Tree LightingSource:Olivier Douliery- Pool/Getty Images 49 of 52
50. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 50 of 52
51. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Getty 51 of 52
52. Christmas Tree LightingSource:Olivier Douliery- Pool/Getty Images 52 of 52
Fired Up!: Memories Of Obama’s First Inauguration (Photos) was originally published on oldschool1053.com