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March 03, 2016
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Pretty soon, we aren't going to be able to say "Thanks, Obama!" as an easy joke anymore. Thanks, Obama!

We gather together today to mourn the loss of Thanks Obama. With the results of Super Tuesday come and gone, the fact that Obama will not always be the President of United States is all too real. Sadly, with this realization, Thanks Obama has crossed over into obsolecense. It is time to say goodbye to our old friend, the ability to throw Thanks Obama onto the ends of sentences for a great and low effort joke.

Thanks Obama. What can I say about Thanks Obama that hasn’t already been said? Two seemingly innocuous words of praise. And yet, for the duration of its existence, that phrase has meant so much more to so many people. It’s had an extraordinary life for just a polite phrase. It’s been words of frustration, a meme, a joke, a saving grace. And it was taken from us far too soon.

It was born in late 2009 when conservatives started blaming every single thing that went wrong on Barack Obama. Before long, our little phrase blossomed into a joke. Liberal Americans everywhere started saying it about problems that Obama had no control over, to underscore how ridiculous Republicans were being.

Like many of us, I have my own story about the first time I personally used Thanks Obama. It was an early morning at work in January 2010, and I was fifteen minutes late because I couldn’t find my car keys. I was recounting this to my co-workers in great detail. When I got to the punch line that I had actually left the keys in the ignition, they were all glassed over, not paying any attention. I thought I blew it. But then, I met a friend. The words, “Thanks Obama,” came out of my mouth. Everyone laughed. I was saved.

Thanks Obama didn’t stop there. It was so giving to beginning improvisers, stand up comedians, and sketch writers. I once saw a sketch comedy show where every single sketch ended with every actor in the sketch turning to the audience and sarcastically yelling Thanks Obama. That is the mark of a generous phrase.

I want to tell you a few things I’ve learned from Thanks Obama.

  • Thanks Obama is patient. Thanks Obama is kind.
  • Conservatives and liberals can agree on something. That Thanks Obama is fun to say.
  • Thanks Obama believes in art.
  • Thanks Obama works great as a meme.
  • Thanks Obama never stops learning.
  • Thanks Obama works great as a hashtag.
  • Thanks Obama was willing to be misunderstood.
  • My dad doesn’t like it when I say Thanks Obama.
  • Thanks Obama has an amazing work ethic.
  • Barack Obama has said Thanks Obama.

I’ve been with Thanks Obama from the beginning, and I held its hand all the way through to the end. I know that come January 2017, Thanks Obama will be up in heaven, looking down at us literally thanking Obama for all of the amazing improvements he made to our country. There’s no real way to put into words exactly how great Thanks Obama is. So I’ll leave you with this poem, by the great Walt Whitman.

Stop the presses, turn off Twitter,
Unplug everything and just sit here
Barack is leaving office soon
And for most comedians that spells gloom

There’s a joke on which we’ve come to depend
Without which we could meet our end
Just tack it onto each and every sentence
It’s been getting us many laughs since-

Republicans blamed everything on Barack
So liberals went and turned back the clock
We took their insult and made it funny
An easy joke but at least it’s not punny

Thanks Clinton, Thanks Cruz, Thanks Bernie, Thanks Trump
All of those options leave me down in the dumps
So if this elegy is bad, all I can say is, uh,
I’ll just leave it at “Thanks Obama.”

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