President Obama farewell speech was quite a unique one as he delivered it in Chicago, the place he was declared victorious in 2008 and 2012. In his final address as the president, Obama urged Americans and the world at large to stand strong together in defending democracy.
He used the same tone he had used to seek for the presidency in his final address. He continued to advocate for a perfect union among his supporters and all the Americans, reported NBC News.
“For all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen,” 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.”
He called upon the Americans not be drawn into economic, social and racial divisions. “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try to talk with one in real life,” he said.
He added that one cannot approach the economic issue as a struggle between the hardworking white middle class and the undeserving minorities. This would help the “wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.”
Climate change must be fought
He personally took time in his address to talk about climate change, saying it is an issue that cannot be overlooked. He said that we may argue with how the problem is being approached but cannot afford to deny its existence.
His statements can easily be linked to the president-elect’s repeated tweets that climate change is a hoax. Mr. Trump has from time and again denied the prospect of climate change, saying he would withdraw America from all signed climate pacts.
This will be a move that many will closely watch, considering it’s among the promises he used to win the election.
But it wasn’t within Obama’s intentions to directly confront Mr. Trump over his policies. In fact, he only mentioned him once in the entire speech when he insisted on the need for peaceful transfer of power. He said that a smooth transition is the hall mark of democracy.
Crowd interruptions in Obama farewell speech
As he progressed with his speech, Mr. Obama was constantly interrupted by the crowd who openly showed no willingness to say good bye to him.
At one time as he was delivering the speech, his 18,000 audience in Chicago began to chant “four more years!”
“I can’t do that,” Obama said. “In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next.”
Conciliatory tone with Mr. Trump
From the onset, it appeared that Mr. Obama wasn’t ready to start a confrontation with Mr. Trump in his final 9 days in the Oval Office.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters as they headed to the event in Air Force One that the president “not one to be overly sentimental.” However, he cast shadow on the possibility of the speech not drawing parallels with Trump’s policies.
Barack Obama was overly emotional when he talked about his wife and First Lady Michelle Obama. He expressed gratitude for the support accorded to him despite her taking on a job she had not asked for. “You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud,” he said in a shaky voice and tear-welled eyes.
Via NBC News
Mr. Obama did not comment on his future plans as a normal citizen but White House spokesperson said there would be a place and time for that.
He finished off his speech by asking the people to believe not in his ability to bring change but in theirs.