Arguably one of the most significant events that has taken place in recent United States’ history is the inauguration of our 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama, our nation’s first African American chief of state. Born of a Kenyan father and a Kansan mother in Honolulu, Hawaii, President Obama has dedicated much of his life to the civil rights cause and progressive government reforms, including universal health care and alternative energy. Even though President Obama inherited two overseas crises and a global economic recession after taking office, he made clear his intent on fulfilling two promises he made to the American public during his campaign for the presidency: change and hope—two long-unfulfilled goals we aspired to reach during this turbulent decade.
The above image immortalizes these promises and has indeed become enmeshed in the realm of American icons. This image proves to be iconic because it is not only widely recognized, but also appeals to one’s emotions and signifies a landmark event in American history (Hariman & Lucaites 27). The War on Terror left many families across the nation with faltering confidence in President Obama’s predecessor, along with the economic downturn and shaky foreign policies. It was obvious that the time had come for change. This image’s bold, patriotic design, combined with the message of “hope”, conveys a powerful message to the public: this is the end of an era plagued with uncertainties, and now it is time to work towards a more progressive future. Therefore, this image conducts strong politically-charged emotions because it was born in confusion and conflict (36).
Undeniably, the above image epitomizes a major event in the history of the United States. Despite ongoing civil rights issues, we were still able to warmly and proudly welcome Barack Obama as our 44th president on January 20, 2009. Although this image is not a photograph, it spoke and continues to speak volumes across America. This dynamic image was ubiquitous across the country during the presidential campaigns and underlined Mr. Obama’s optimistic platform. It was created to persuade, and inspired political action within millions of American citizens looking for reform. Because of its influence, this image will remain a symbol of the Obama administration.
The very reproduction of this powerful image proves it to be an icon—one that is sure not to fall into obscurity in the near future. I believe this icon of American politics was able to gain such popularity because of our common desire to create a better nation; one that is more efficient and willing to listen to public needs, regardless of race, age, gender, or social status. As Mr. Obama once said in one of his many speeches in January 2008, “Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have courage to remake the world as it should be” (Notable Quotes).