Ever since Donald Trump was elected, the people of the United States have endured one of the more controversial presidencies in their nation’s history. It has now officially reached the one-year mark, and naturally, people are making comparisons to past presidents. With the endless buzz surrounding Trump and his questionable ways, people have inevitably fallen back on their favorite presidents of the past and reignited their appreciation for them. A former White House employee perfectly summed up the difference between Trump and Obama, with first-hand evidence from within the walls themselves.
When Barack Obama was elected, America seemed to have found a new hope. The first African-American president was here, and a new day had arrived for the people of the United States. To the public eye, Obama was always a man of the people, admired and revered as one of the more personable presidents of our time. He was re-elected for a second term, with his immense popularity enabling him to lead a nation once more. Although he was criticized for what he did and didn’t get done, he did break down walls that stood tall before him and won the hearts of his citizens with ease. A sense of unity was widespread among the people of America again, with a leader that exemplified the hope that was within each citizen.
Following his departure, the people of America made history again, with the election of Donald J. Trump, a renowned businessman who entered the White House without a political background. The sense of unity had seemingly begun to evaporate, as the election brought forth a time where America has arguably never been more divided. With rash decisions like the construction of a wall, racism towards Mexicans, and advocating for a ban on people from certain Muslim countries, Trump has led one of the more protested and criticized presidencies of all time. Among controversial tweets and public provocations towards world leaders, he has instilled fear in his people who never know what his next move might be, or what conflicts may arise as a result.
To many, the difference between Trump and Obama is clear, however, nobody can tell it better than a former White House employee himself, who shares a touching anecdote of his encounter with former President Obama, which is very telling.
Gary Lee, who worked as an aide to Barack Obama during his term, recounted a heartwarming story of his time working for him, and how it contrasts with Trump’s actions towards his staff. In what would be a series of his very first tweets, Lee went on to speak his mind to the Twitterverse. He began with addressing Trump’s upsetting remarks from this past week, where he had asked an Asian American where they were from.
When she replied with New York, he persisted and asked again where she was really from. He wanted to know where “your people are from” and upon finding out, wondered why the “pretty Korean lady” wasn’t negotiating with North Korea on his administration’s behalf. Coming from an Asian background, Lee was affected by these remarks, as they heavily contrasted the way in which Obama had treated him.
On his last day working for Obama, he entered the Oval Office and was greeted in Korean by the president himself, a moment that was captured on camera. It had been a lifelong dream of Gary Lee’s to work in the government, but he never thought it would happen. He took a shot at applying before graduation, and to his surprise, he received a call back to come and work on Obama’s campaign. Never would he have imagined, that at the end of his time working with the president, he would be greeted in his very own parents’ native language, a story that brought tears to his eyes. His parents never could’ve imagined, upon coming to the country with very little and making the sacrifice for their son’s sake, that it would amount to a moment like this. Upon sharing this story, Gary Lee reflected on America as a country, and how no place else would grant him the opportunity he was given.
Gary Lee and his story are a true example of the American dream. Found in the Declaration of Independence itself, “all men are created equal” with the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, something that Lee encapsulates considering his ethnic background, and his will to achieve his dream and potential, like all who should have that opportunity. Differences should be celebrated, not condemned, and an equal opportunity and right should be given to all in the United States of America.
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