Obama’s final words to America
The 44th President of the United States delivers farewell address
January 24, 2017
Filed under Politics
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Former President Barack Obama delivered his final farewell speech on Jan. 10, to thousands of his long-time supporters in his hometown of Chicago where he offered continued optimism and several warnings that threaten our current state of democracy.
In his speech, Obama defended the actions of his eight year administration, which lies on the brink of being dismantled by his successor. He reflected on the best of his achievements including: the death of the one-time world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden; the restored ties of communication with Cuba; the economy’s recovery from the Great Recession and the establishment of the Iran nuclear deal.
His remarks also focused on the challenges facing America. He spoke about the slow progress in addressing growing economic inequality, which he believes will only become worse if no action is taken. “For if we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come,” said Obama.
The second issue discussed was about race relations, specifically how it continues to remain “a potent and a divisive force in our society.” Obama stressed that Americans follow our patriotic values and uphold laws against discrimination. Directly telling white Americans that current protests are not pleas for mere attention and callings for special treatment but calls to action of the original promises established in the Constitution.
“So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own,” he said.
Mr. Obama discouraged Americans from retreating to their “bubbles” to commune exclusively with others who share their similar beliefs. He said the story of America, is the story of the battle between ideas, which has only made this country better. Outgoing President Obama encouraged healthy political dialogue, in the face of facts and reason, to direct America to a better place for future generations. Using climate change as an example, and speaking to critics who deny the issue of climate change even when there is a scientific consensus supporting the argument.
The final threat to democracy, as Obama described it, is, “whenever we take it for granted.” Asking the American people to keep hope alive and to engage more in political activities, whether it be running for office or voting in midterm elections, he said, “Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.”