It’s easy to become super nostalgic about the last eight years and the Obama presidency. Like every president before him, Barack Obama was by no means perfect, but you can’t deny that over his time in the White House he’s managed to accomplish a lot.
From the legalization of gay marriage to saving the country from a catastrophic depression, President Obama has led Americans through some of the most important and trying times in our history. He and his family will surely be missed by many Americans.
Of course, Obama isn’t the first US president to win the Nobel Peace Prize, appoint a woman to the Supreme Court, or lead a scandal-free presidency. He’s also not the first president who was charming, funny, and cool. But, his many accomplishments and qualities, when considered as a whole, are absolutely worth celebrating. So, in honor of him turning 55 this year, here are 55 reasons why Barack Obama was one of the best US presidents ever:
1. He accomplished what many people thought impossible when he became America’s first black president.
2. He fought ― and won ― for healthcare reform with the Affordable Care Act.
3. He has been a relentless advocate for women’s rights, including reproductive rights.
4. His personal life has been scandal free.
5. He ordered for the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden.
6. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
7. He has an undying love for his wife Michelle:
8. He signed the little known but hugely impactful Claims Resolution Act, which provided black and Native American farmers with $4.6 billion in government funding after they were previously denied loans and resource royalties owed to them for decades.
9. He launched My Brother’s Keeper, a White House initiative designed to help young men and boys of color achieve their full potential.
10. He nominated Loretta Lynch for Attorney General (the first black woman to hold the position). She later led key national investigations in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore.
11. He sang “Amazing Grace” at Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s funeral:
12. In fact, his entire, moving eulogy to Rev. Pinckney and those slain in the Charleston church attack was perfect.
13. He let a little black boy feel his hair after the boy asked, “I want to know if my hair is just like yours.” He understands that representation matters.
14. He changed US and Cuban relations for the better.
15. He helped lead the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
16. He helped to negotiate the landmark Iran Nuclear Deal.
17. He is unafraid to call out Donald Trump.
18. He said this after the Charleston tragedy: “I refuse to act as if this is the new normal.”
19. He handled the scrutiny over his religion and nationality with grace and humor.
20. He has the best clapback game:
21. He’s “swagalicious.”
23. This moment:
24. He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps combat pay discrimination against women.
25. He issued a memorandum extending benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian federal employees.
26. He invited Kid President to the White House and gave him his own personal tour:
28. He issued an executive order establishing the White House Office Of Urban Affairs, designed to promote new policies to strengthen cities across the country.
29. He signed an executive order that banned torture of prisoners and detainees.
30. He nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, making her the first Hispanic ever to serve as a justice.
31. He never takes himself too seriously:
32. His administration is the most diverse in history.
33. He tried (and failed) to name everyone on “Game of Thrones.”
34. He proclaimed June as African-American Music Appreciation Month!
35. He supported veterans by signing a historic $78 billion tuition assistance GI bill and increased funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
36. He has appointed more openly gay government officials than any president in history.
37. He appointed the first openly transgender woman political appointee of any Presidential administration.
38. His moves:
39. Beyonce sang at his second inauguration. Beyonce!
40. He had the Justice Department investigate Ferguson Police twice for their history of racist behavior.
41. He is unapologetically black.
42. He (and FLOTUS) read aloud Where The Wild Things Are and brought it to life for a few lucky kids:
43. He repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
44. He was unafraid to cry after the Newtown shooting tragedy:
45. He went to Flint, Michigan to see firsthand what the citizens of that city are going through.
47. He commuted the prison sentences of more men and women than the last 9 presidents combined:
49. He sang Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at a fundraising event and slayed:
50. He’s the first president to ever hold an online town hall from the White House, giving the American public the chance to ask him questions via social media.
51. He is the father of two beautiful and successful young black girls:
52. He signed the important Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which makes it a federal crime to assault anyone based on sexual or gender identification.
54. He improved the formerly negative opinion of America in countries across the world.
55. The mic drop:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Amanda Simpson was appointed the first transgender cabinet member. Simpson was actually appointed as Technical Advisor to the Commerce department.