Goodbye Obama, a farewell to our influential president

Eight years has passed since President Obama took the Oval Office, and his time as president is coming to an end.

We are so caught up with who is going to be the next president of the United States that we have yet to look back at President Obama’s accomplishments during these past eight years.

President Obama made history by being the first African-American president of the United States. Following the spirit of the iconic portrait by Shepard Fairey, he created hope for all pursuing goals in high places.

We’re in a historic streak of private sector job creation. Unemployment has been cut in half since the aftermath of the Great Recession.

We passed health care reform. Osama bin Laden is dead. Homosexuals can now serve openly in the military — among many other bits of progress — and we’ve done all this while Republicans in Congress have done everything possible to sabotage him.

Under his watch, gay rights, climate change, health care and equality for women have made huge strides.

Obama took office amid the worst economic crisis in generations. Banks depended on a federal bailout to survive. The official unemployment rate had reached 7.8 percent and could have exceeded 10 percent. The numbers were even worse when the underemployed were included. Many dropped out of the workforce entirely.

Today the employment picture is drastically improved. Yet wages, when adjusted for inflation, remained steady for years and only recently have begun to climb, continuing a decades-old trend.

He’s been a calm, cerebral, witty and largely scandal-free chief executive whose qualities haven’t been seen in the White House in a long time.

When President Obama leaves office, the regular pickup basketball games at the White House will leave too. He has a deeply rooted foundation of belief in the good in people, the strength and value in America, and an indisputable faith in God.

He is a unique blend of class, confidence, diligence, sophistication, and tenacity that reminds us that the president should be the best of us.

These qualities have been matched by his wife, Michelle Obama.

Michelle is the epitome of the American dream. Michelle gave up a distinguished law career when she became First Lady.

She advocated for military families and healthy eating and exercise for children.

Through her own and her parents dedication to work and exemplary values, she became an extraordinarily successful career woman, mother, wife and First Lady who also has some great dance moves and karaoke skills.

President Obama’s two terms have not been perfect, but his accomplishments have been inspirational — especially to those who believe that being first at something reaches far beyond into generations to come.

Mr. President, First Lady, Malia, Sasha — farewell. You will all be missed.