Dear President & Mrs. Obama: 

Thank You

1/19/2017 by Michael J. Payton

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Dear President & Mrs. Obama,

Mr. President, thank you for your leadership, your integrity, and for your grace. One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to live in a time when I, a young African-American man, could see someone who looks like me occupy the most powerful office in the world. Words will never be able to adequately describe the reverence I have for you, President Obama. You showed me through your example what it means to be a good man, a good husband, a good father – a true leader. On the world stage, and domestically, you lead with intelligence, diplomacy, and empathy for others, only using force when absolutely necessary. These are virtues I think we all should embody, and I intend to carry them with me until my dying day. Although we’ve never met (yet), I can say unequivocally, Mr. President that you have changed my life, and the way I view myself. As a young man, I could not think of a better example – a better role model – than you, sir.

Mrs. Obama, You are by far the best thing that has happened to this country in a long time. You have carried out the duties of First Lady of the United States with such dignity, class, grace, and beauty that it will surely be talked about for the ages. Mrs. Obama, through your example, you have shown us the true potential of a Black woman at the highest-level. Too often, we receive negative images and stereotypes about African-American women, perpetuated by media and social discourse. But in these last eight years, you have embodied for so many young girls – Black, white, or any other color – the perfect role model for which they can look up to. No longer should any of our girls, or boys, believe that the value of a Black woman is inherently less than others, or that they need to live up to any stereotypes or assimilations. Mrs. Obama, you have shown them that they can simply be themselves, and that is enough. You are the finest example of a mother, wife, daughter, and citizen as there will ever be. I appreciate your service to our country, and as a young Black man I appreciate what you mean to our community. If I ever get married, I hope I am as lucky as the President to find someone as intelligent, capable, and amazing as you.


Michael J. Payton 


Michael J. Payton is editor in chief of

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