My first experience with politics was in second grade, where instead of casting our ballots for Bush or Kerry, we—classroom 2B—exercised our civic right to choose a class mascot. Between the bee and the bear, the choice was rough, discussions were heated, and the fate of our community was in the hands of a few pieces of paper anonymously placed in a ballot box.
Which means that for all intents and purposes, my first real experience with any kind of president, with any kind of presidency, was with Barack Obama in 2008.
The same could be said for my mom, who moved to this country just as Brazil was coming out of its military regime. While she lived through multiple American and Brazilian heads of state, the first ballot she ever cast for a president was for Obama in 2008—a fact of which she remains incredibly proud.
As a Columbia student, as a child of a foreigner, and as a person of color, Obama is a reflection of the patchwork of America and the patchwork of this campus. It’s no surprise, then, that we as students—regardless of our personal opinions on his policies—have engaged so deeply with his legacy as a president. For all four of our authors, there is a resounding feeling that Obama held his position with unparalleled grace and poise—that, independent of his political choices, he gave the American people an example of what a president should be.
And so this Scope is both a farewell and a thank you to the president and to the first family that have shaped our experiences in the last eight years.
(And if you were wondering, we chose the bear.)
Hannah Barbosa Cesnik
Editorial Page Editor