Farewell to Obama, A Steady Leader in the Pressure Cooker of the Presidency


(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Pool-Getty Images)

By Dawn Onley

You can learn a lot about a person by watching how they handle difficulty.

Do they cave to the primal inclination to blame? Do they lash out? Attack? Cry? Do they quit, throwing up their hands in defeat? Do they ignore the problem? Do they deny it exists?

Or do they barrel through with a steady determination? Do they solve issues? Are they cool and composed? Are they thoughtful and even-tempered?

These past eight years watching President Obama adeptly maneuver minefields, handle crises, comfort and assure Americans, and secure our good standing around the world has been a Master Class on how to handle pressure inside of whatever pressure cooker life throws your way. The results were nothing short of astounding.

I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t just Obama’s intelligence, adoration for his family, his love of this country and competence that won me over fast. It was his imperturbable composure. His diplomacy. His unwillingness to allow extremists to get under his skin with birther claims, or by calling him a Muslim, or a terrorist, or by any number of racial epithets, grotesque memes and the frequent, Mount Everest-level disrespect hurled toward him, First Lady Michelle, and Malia and Sasha that would leave me seething.

But he was not unraveled by it. Or if he was, it never showed.

I’m convinced THIS is his super power.

Today, as our beloved commander-in-chief officially passes the baton to his successor, Donald Trump, a man who appears to be his polar opposite in every imaginable way, I’m melancholy and a bit anxious for what the future holds.

My disposition is usually one of optimism and hope, yet today I feel numb.

At times like this, what I’ll miss most about Obama is his thoughtful, unflappable nature. His emotional maturity. His detachment. His control.

It had the ability to calm, even soothe, a world of trouble.

It always made me feel safe and secure.

I will chin up and keep pressing forward, even though I don’t feel like it. Maybe even because I don’t feel like it. That’s what I learned from watching our president in action. Never quit. Get involved. Put in work. Keep the faith. That’s what he would tell us to do now.

Thank you, President Obama, for all of the sense and stability you brought to the Oval Office. A million times, thanks.


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