On Obama's Presidency (from January 13, 2017)

A week from today, the Obama era will come to a close. A week from today, I shall fly to Washington to participate in the Women's March and other protest activities.

It would be an understatement to say that Barack Obama's tenure as president was exceptional. For his legacy, even considering the president-elect's stated plans, will endure long past these times in ways both big and small.

Take for instance the reversal of the Great Recession, the longest stretch of job creation in American history, Wall Street reform, the bailout of the auto industry, or the fact that more than 20 million Americans have gained health insurance under the ACA. Consider the millions of acres of federal parkland that have become newly protected (more than any other administration) or the ambitious climate agreement negotiated in 2015 in Paris. Remember our new relationship with the Cuban people or the diplomatic solution to the question of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Perhaps the president's most voluminous accomplishments lie in the extension of civil rights to LGBT people, with nationwide marriage equality, a hate crimes law, a federal anti-discrimination executive order, and the scrapping of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the transgender military ban. And many undocumented immigrants and Dreamers have won protection from deportation.

These are awe-inspiring, concrete actions, but the president's legacy will also live on in other ways. He has inspired a whole generation to reject the lazy cynicism that often surrounds politics and to believe in their ability to bring about change. His time in office has marked us; my high school (2009-2013) and college (2013-2017) years coincide almost perfectly with his two terms. Today President Obama's approval rating among people in my age group (younger Millennials) approaches 80%.

During his farewell address, President Obama referred to our generation as "unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic." He said, "You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America....You are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward....and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands."

Fear not what is on the horizon. Together, our generation will change the world.

Yes, we can.