Obama to Trump: Understanding the Transition of Power

Author: Elizabeth Zarb, Current Events/Politics

Bill Clinton. George W. Bush. Barack Obama. Donald Trump.

These are the Presidents (so far) who have been in power in my lifetime. Not many, right? Especially when you break it down.

Now I can’t talk much about Bill Clinton as I don’t remember anything from his presidency. The Clinton administration had literally no effect on me, as I was in diapers watching Blue’s Clues.

George W. Bush’s presidency gets a little complicated. He was President from 2001-2009. His entire first term and most of his second are lost in my memories, as an elementary school child doesn’t really have to keep up with politics. I became more aware of him towards the end of his presidency, but even then the only thing I understood was “Iraq War = Bad.”

Despite the two aforementioned Presidents, the President who has thus far really defined my lifetime is Barack Obama. Many younger millennials really know what it’s like to have him as our President. He was President from 2009-2017. Those eight years were much more defining in my life than the eight years prior.

I was thrilled at the idea of the first African-American President, I celebrated when he appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, I cheered when, under his control, Osama bin Laden was found and killed, I laughed and cringed at his dad jokes, and his desire for more inclusiveness for the LGBTQ+ community (eventually leading to same-sex marriage being legalized in all 50 states) made my heart soar. I was very lucky that the first President I was old enough to understand was someone I personally shared values with.

However, because of the years he was President, the transition of power during the 2016 election was the first time that I truly understood how much can change between two Presidents. Trump is our President now, whether I like it or not, and he and Obama could not be more different. Being older while watching this election, I understood the debates, the idealistic policies and the genuine fear one can feel when a security blanket (Obama) is ripped away.

I was stressed throughout the majority of the election. I wasn’t fond of Hillary Clinton or Trump in the same way I was fond of Obama, but Trump particularly scared me. His desire to build a wall to keep out an entire country was horrifying, and his comments made about women, particularly “grab them by the p****,” disgusted me. And his desire to ban all Muslims made me sick to my stomach.

I was genuinely afraid. I was a female who was entering an era where the President encouraged sexually assaulting women. On top of thathis Vice President encouraged conversion therapy. For the first time in my life, I had to ask myself: Are my friends safe? 

This transition was tumultuous for many people, but it was especially hard on those who only remember Obama as President. I remember thinking “how can we have come so far just to move so far back?” I remember sitting on my bed on the night of the election, crying as the results came in. And honestly, I still don’t fully know how to process this transition.

I’m going to see a lot of power transitions in my life, and hopefully each one will make the next easier. But this first one, at least my true first one, has been one of the most confusing and difficult periods in my life.


Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

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