On August 28, 2014, President Barack Obama shocked the world. While he talked about the state of Ukraine and the war against Isis, Twitter was going insane over his tan suit. People couldn’t stop complaining about such a minor thing. Presidents traditionally wear darker colors when dressing professionally, but on that day, President Obama decided to go with something lighter. Back then, it seemed like the public judged anything the president did. It was like he lived under a scrutinizing microscope. Now, it seems we no longer keep the president on our radar.
You could argue that almost all of the issues from Obama’s administration came from his critics. One of the administration’s biggest “scandals” was the controversy about his nationality. Our current president lead a gaggle of admonishers proclaiming that Obama was actually born in Africa, making him ineligible for the presidency. This underlying racism, unfortunately, plagued the Obama administration.
However, racism in America is unavoidable. Our country was literally founded by slave owners, so it makes sense that we still struggle with racial prejudice. Unfortunately, it seems like it’s getting worse and the results are devastating.
In the year following Obama’s first election, hate crimes actually decreased. The FBI reported that there were 6,598 single-bias incidents in 2009, which is 1,182 fewer incidents than in 2008. The figures remained relatively stable for the remainder of his presidency, but shot up upon Donald Trump’s arrival in office. Over 1,000more single-bias incidents were reported in 2017 and the majority of these incidents were based on race.
It seems that we are moving back in time. The people who used to nitpick Obama are now dominating our government, and no one cares what they do. Despite the headlines and scandals, Trump's approval rating is comparable to Obama’s right now. According to Gallup, approximately 41% of Americans approve of Trump’s presidency. Keep in mind we are in a trade warwith China and suffering from an increasing amount of mass shootings per year. Our president even named the wrong city in a speech following the tragic murders in Dayton, Ohio. Still, many Americans choose to support him. I am not happy to say this, but I am actually more surprised when nothing bad happens than when it does. Today, we are just too familiar with hearing negative news, and we need to get out of this mindset. Calamities are way too common in our society. In fact, while I was writing this column news broke of a mass shooting in West Texas causing five fatalities and 21 injuries. The land of the free is turning into the land of the dead.
The solution for these issues is pretty clear: vote. It seems that impeachment will never happen with the number of bullets our president has dodged. So, we have to make a change in the next term. Vote for someone who cares and not for someone who only seems like they care. Our nation needs someone who can help change the current state of affairs. People shouldn’t be afraid to walk outside of their homes, but unfortunately, the risk becomes greater every day. Obama’s tan suit was just one of the many signs that our country still has a lot to learn. Hopefully, we have enough time to actually teach it.
Zora Viel is a UF journalism sophomore