Vivian and Lula Taylor are no strangers to the world of politics.
Between the two of them, the Taylors have decades of experience working as elected officials. In 2008, when Barack Obama was elected as the nation's first African-American president, the couple looked at it as the first step towards positive change for the country. On the eve of the 2012 presidential election, they spoke with The Post-Journal about the past four years under the Obama administration and what they hope to see in the future.
"Some African-American leaders, like Tavis Smiley for example, have criticized Obama for not doing enough for the African-American community," Vivian said. "The way that I see it though, every time Obama does something for America as a whole, that's helping the African Americans. The healthcare reform, his stimulus packages, it's all helping. His policies are good." Vivian continued, "The way that I see it, he's very pro-women's rights, it's something that he's really stuck by his guns with. Obama focuses on job creation. When the United States was facing a terrible financial crisis, Obama saved the automotive industry. Even his plans for education are in the right place, I think."
Despite the praises that the Taylors have for President Obama, there are also things that they wish he would have done differently during the four years that he has spent in the White House.
"I really wish that he would've worked harder to enforce immigration policy for illegal aliens in the country," Lula said. "I know it was difficult because he was lacking support, but I would've liked that to have been something that he focused on."
Vivian, on the other hand, felt that Obama could have done more work to get the troops back home.
"I really wanted him to pull our boys out of the Middle East," he said. "We've been there for more than a decade now, I think it's time these soldiers were brought back to their families."
When asked about the current race, the couple had very strong feelings about the way that Obama has been portrayed by the Republican Party, particularly the far right, including the tea party movement.
"I never thought that the Republicans would stoop to using racism to try to elect a president, but that's what it seemed like they're doing," Vivian said. "I thought they were above that, but ads were run that have criticized Obama for being a Muslim, called his citizenship into question, and accuse him of being a terrorist, of hating white people. I'm disgusted at the way that this presidential race went. The Republican party didn't cooperate with Obama at all, and he's had it rough since the beginning. I think that he was the perfect man for the job though, because he represented the regular people, the workers. He wasn't just a president for the African-Americans, either, he was a president for everybody. He gets stereotyped, though. Here he is, making policies and saving us from a financial crisis, but there are people looking at him as the 'food stamp president.'"
What disturbed Lula the most, however, was that four years ago it appeared as though the country was making progress toward a more equal future but today that doesn't seem to be the case.
"It seems like we're going backward now with the separation in this election," she said. "When Obama was elected, I thought that we would be able to be closer to seeing equality for everyone, but it doesn't seem like that's the case anymore. From the very beginning I didn't like the way that he was treated. It seemed like so many people, even politicians, had no respect for him at all. The only thing that we can do is try to be the best that we can be, and I believe that Obama has done that."
All things considered however, the Taylors looked at the last four years as a good starting point, something that has helped to move the country in a positive direction.
"I think that he's done more than a lot of presidents have in their first term," said Vivian. "He's helped to improve our relations with the world, and I think that he's more of a world leader than Mitt Romney would have been. Everywhere that Obama goes, he improves the image of the United States. The main focus for any president should be helping the people of his nation, and that's exactly what Obama has done. When the financial crisis hit, he did everything he could to help the workers. When the hurricane hit New York City, he was there, in the damage to see what could be done. He's acted exactly how a president should."