On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 9:00 P.M. in Chicago, Illinois, Barack Obama gave his final goodbyes to our country as our 44th president. For the past eight years Obama has been in the White House since his win in 2008.
President Obama said that “for 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation.” With this comment Obama gave examples, ranging from the underground railroad to soldiers who died for our country, of times Americans were pushed to achieve a specific purpose, like women’s voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and worker unions.
Obama made remarks on America’s change and progress, saying “not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.” President Obama then stated that, although our progress has been uneven, “the work of democracy has always been hard, it’s always been contentious and it’s sometimes been bloody.”
President Obama then goes on to describe how America has become defined as a forward motion constantly changing to embrace all of her people. Having said this he goes on to list some of the things that have been accomplished during his presidency saying “If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history… that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens… If I had told you all of that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high.”
After listing these things and saying how America has become a better stronger place then it was when he started, Obama brings up that in just over a week on January 20, 2017 there will be a peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next. “I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.”
Obama says that it is up to us as American citizens to make sure the government helps us through many of the challenges that we still face foreign and domestic. He states that we have everything we need to face those challenges, “After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on Earth. Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention means that the future should be ours.”
President Obama goes further on this point by saying that the potential to meet those challenges will only be realized if our democracy works and only if our politics better reflect the decency of the people, and only if all of us regardless of party affiliation or interest help to restore the common sense of purpose that we need so badly right now.
He stays focused on the topic of democracy for a little while saying that our founders argued, quarreled, and eventually compromised expecting for us to do the same. “They knew that democracy requires a basic sense of solidarity-the idea that for all our outward difference, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.”
“There have been moments throughout our history that threatened that solidarity. The beginning of this century has been one of those times… And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs and protect our homeland.” It will determine our future as Obama said on Tuesday.
Obama said that our democracy will not work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. The economy is growing and poverty is falling.
Obama goes on with the topic of economy talking about the growing middle class and education.
Toward the end of his speech Obama begins to talk about the coming generation and how they are unselfish, altruistic, creative, and patriotic. He brings up how they “believe in a fair and just and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward.” Having said this Obama says that he believes Americas future to be in good hands, and that he wont stop servicing us but in fact be right beside us as a fellow citizen for the remainder of his days.
as a final request as the president of the United States of America President Obama asks the same thing he asked eight years ago. he asks for us to believe not just in his ability to bring about change but in ours.
For the full transcript of President Obamas farewell address visit the website below.