The end of an era.

Farewell, Barack. Mr. President.

Watching you utter your beautiful final speech as our Commander In Chief brought utter sadness to my heart. I like to think that anyone viewing that performance felt the same, but I know it’s not true.

There are too many people in this country who don’t want to see the truth and depth with which your words were spoken. The hateful masses will vilify you with any chance they get, professing just how flawed your time in office has been, how useless of a POTUS you have proven to be. If we citizens make the mistake of asking for examples, we’re likely to get hit with a run-of-the-mill list, of which few, if any, hold any weight. When it comes down to it, you have been the best President that we have had in my lifetime. Granted, I am only 30 years old, so the list isn’t terribly long, but past Presidents have made some REAL messes since the mid-80s. You swept up the mess that W. made, and then some. Anyone in the United States can get married, and most can afford healthcare. I don’t have to pay to prevent pregnancy. This is telling about what you think of women — we shouldn’t have to fork out a bunch of cash each month to make that choice, and you see that. With your help, we scratched our way out of a deep recession. We signed massively important treaties with foreign countries. Of course you made mistakes — everyone does. But you maintained your dignity, at times accepted the blame, and always vowed that we would fight our way out of whatever mess we were in. You addressed race relations, the need for policing of the police, and fought for gender equality, and you always did it with grace and confidence.

Grace. Confidence. Not two words you think of when describing our POTUS-to-be. Maybe we were spoiled by you, Mr. President. Maybe we didn’t deserve your kindness, or the respect you showed to women and non-cisgendered white guys. It sure is hard to come by someone on the street with as much respect for every living thing. Our new Commander-to-be speaks a different language, so loaded with hate and disdain it is almost viscous. We are being doused with vitriol at every turn by this man. It’s already exhausting, nine days before his inauguration.

Mr. President, the moment at which you proclaimed that you were moving onto your final point in last night’s speech, I think every kind and reasonable person experienced the same feeling that my partner and I did, sitting in the room with tears in our eyes: “No. Please don’t go.” Please don’t leave us with this pitiful creature as our next President. Then the questions come: “How could this possibly happen?” and “Could there be a way out of this?” The same things we were asking ourselves in early November 2016, as the red states rolled in on the television screen.

All we can do is take your advice, Barack. Maintain hope. Spread love. Work to be inclusive. DO something. Don’t just be a keyboard warrior.

I hope it works, because hope is all we’ve got.