President Obama gives farewell address to the American people
Eight years after telling, and first convincing, America, "Yes we can," President Barack Obama bid adieu to the American people from the nation's highest office by telling them, "Yes we did."
The speech was called many things: from nostalgic to optimistic, insightful and cautious. The president touched on everything from his administration's victories like Obamacare, the jobs economy and the legalization of gay marriage to the increasing tribulations of race relations in the last eight years.
"So if we're going to be serious about race going forward, we need to uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, and in housing, and in education, and in the criminal justice system." the president proclaimed, according to the Chicago Tribune. "But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change."
The president also touched on his apprehensions about President-elect Trump, his incoming administration and the Republican-held majority in Congress, although he mentioned Trump only once by name. "But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, then we're going to keep talking past each other, and we'll make common ground and compromise impossible," Obama said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
President Obama also cautioned against those who seek to weaken our democracy — a nod to Russia, who the intelligence community has confirmed was behind the election hackings and dissemination of fake news. "It falls to each of us to be those those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours,” Obama said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen.”
During a few points in his farewell speech, President Obama's voice even broke with emotion — most noticeably when he praised First Lady Michelle Obama. "Michelle Lavaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side — for the past 25 years, you have not only been my wife, the mother of my children, you have been my best friend," Obama said, according to CNN. "You took on a job you didn't ask for, and you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style and good humor."
After touching on other points, like the positive impact he sees millennials having on America, and calling on people to participate and take action in U.S. democracy, the president ended his speech by circling back to his slogan that started it all back in 2008, "I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists, that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written,” Obama said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Yes, we can,” President Obama declared. “Yes, we did. Yes, we can.”