In November 2008 two things happened that changed the course of human history. Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States, and I started writing for the VC Reporter. President Obama was my first commander in chief as a regular columnist. Being a conservative with libertarian leanings, he and I didn’t see eye to eye on too much. I wrote extensively about his “Obamaspeak” and faulty health care system. Even though I went after him, he grew on me. There is something about outgoing presidents that makes them look more presidential — especially when the incoming president looks so ill-prepared for the job. While there is much about the outgoing president to attack, I’d like instead to write about how he positively helped shaped the future for America, politics and the conservative movement.

No president has been a greater steppingstone toward a better America than President Barack Obama. Not because of his policies or accomplishments, but because he did open the door to breaking down racial barriers concerning the presidency. African American and moderate-conservative John McWhorter wrote in April of 2008 that, “A President Obama, with his black wife astride the planet with him and their children growing up before our eyes, would mean something that, as a Race Man, attracts me.” McWhorter’s observation is very truthful. Obama became an image for other minority figures and, obviously, the black community to aspire to. There had to be a first, and he played that part as well as he could.

The twist is that he was not the most experienced, having served only one term in the Senate after being a community organizer and professor. Being this green and inheriting two wars and a recession, he was probably not the best move the American people could have made, but after eight years we are out of Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden is dead. Guantanamo Bay is still up and running, but name the last president to fulfill every campaign promise. George H. W. Bush raised taxes, William Jefferson Clinton wasn’t the heath care reformer he promised to be, and George W. Bush was the biggest nation builder we’d seen after promising not to be. So Obama never locked the doors on the cold, damp prison … maybe he saw that his bleeding-heart policies would in fact hurt the safety of the country?

His basic policies were faulty and expensive, yet his agenda was heartfelt. The problem with being a caring guy is that you can’t always see the forest for the trees. His stimulus packages weren’t really the savior he promised they’d be, Obamacare caused headaches ranging from a poorly created website to a lack of doctor involvement, and he gave Iran a financial boost that will come back to bite us. Again, I don’t doubt the man’s intentions, but $18 trillion later in national debt, maybe he put America more in the hole than he should have.

During his time in office he was fighting both the hard right and the hard left. Some felt he went too far while the leftists felt he gave in to GOP pressure. In all reality, he was a leftist who did as much as the Constitution let him do. He was able to stand behind the U.S. Supreme Court when it legalized gay marriage and he defeated two different moderate Republicans, proving the country is more left than Sean Hannity wants to admit. While many believe the core values of Americans are center-right, the voters appear to be center-left at least. With non-ideologue Donald Trump winning the Electoral College and Hillary winning the popular vote by over 2 million, it seems to be the final consensus that America is no longer a conservative country. That footmark is really what his legacy will be.

Obama created a country that doesn’t want lifelong politicians, but instead passionate outsiders. If anything, Obama created Donald Trump. Obama created a bipolar country that wants the shakers and not the steady hand.

Now he’s leaving and, in a way, I’ll miss him. He was my “first president.” So, goodbye, Mr. President. It’s been a crazy eight years. I wish you the best. If you need me, I’ll be in the corner scared at what the Trump monster you created does.