10 things I’ll miss when the Obamas leave the White House

Well, besides the obvious—like having black people and sane people in the White House.

Damon Young, The Root | 8/2/2016, 11:54 a.m.
Well, besides the obvious—like having black people and sane people in the White House.
Michelle Obama, daughters Malia Obama and Sasha Obama, and President Barack Obama leave the White House before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House June 17, 2016. CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Although the Democratic National Convention was intended to be a celebration of Democrats, Democratic values and (in comparison to the Republican National Convention) sanity and science, it was a bittersweet week for much of America, as it also was perhaps the last time we’d see the Obamas on a national stage as president and first lady.

Which, like for much of America, reminded me that I am going to miss the hell out of Barack and Michelle and Sasha and Malia (and even Bo) and I’m not quite prepared to handle a White House without them.

What exactly will I miss? Well, besides the obvious—like having black people in the White House and having sane people in the White House—there are quite a few things, including:

1.) They’re f–king grown-ups. I know that praising a politician for being a “grown-up” is like praising a dad for knowing the names of his kids. It should be a prerequisite, but the Republican Party just nominated an adolescent Cheeto for president, so we know it’s not. Anyway, consider this: The Obamas have been in the White House for eight years now—with an unfathomable level of media scrutiny—and the only scandal that’s occurred during their time in office is the actual show Scandal.

2.) Rappers finding unique ways to rhyme “Obama.” One of the more underrated parts of the Obama era is how rappers have regularly incorporated President Barack Obama’s unique-sounding last name in their rhymes. And can you blame them? Obama rhymes with so many things! Osama. A llama. Yo mama. Botswana. Benihana. Rihanna. No drama. A comma. (OK, maybe these aren’t the best words to put in rap songs. But still.)

3.) Having a president who regularly plays pickup basketball. I know I’m being presumptuous here—perhaps Hillary Clinton has a killer crossover and maybe Donald Trump is great at hedging high ball screens—but I strongly suspect that when President Obama leaves office, the regular pickup games at the White House will too. So prepare for four to eight years of either shots and stories about Hillary Clinton playing Yahtzee or Donald Trump losing at checkers, getting pissed and then officially renaming the game “Trumps” and only playing with miniature replicas of Ivanka’s face.

4.) The Not-Really-All-That-Chocolate-Anymore City will become even more vanilla. During the Obamas’ stay in office, Washington, D.C., unofficially replaced Atlanta and Chicago as the de facto capital of black America. Their mere presence there was so powerful and resonate that D.C. became blacker by osmosis; retaining that status despite the fact that the city is actually hemorrhaging black people at record rates.

Personally, as a Pittsburgher who’s only a four-hour drive away, I’d love to see D.C. keep that title. Mainly because Chicago is too far away to get my weekend fills of blackness when my well has been depleted. And Atlanta is even farther. And it has Stevie J.

5.) The always entertaining act of seeing Michelle, Malia and Sasha in public, seeing Michelle with a not-too-happy look on her face, and theorizing about which one of the girls is most likely to say something “smart” enough to get them both in trouble.