President Obama’s Farewell Address

Marwa Hameed

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On Tuesday, January 10th, President Obama gave his farewell address to the millions of American people who had watched his presidency unfold for the past eight years. His speech began with a thundering applause from the audience as he thanked the American people for always serving as an inspiration to keep him going. He closed the first part of his speech to the shouts of “four more years!” The President delivered his speech in his hometown of Chicago in the presence of Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Joe Biden, Jill Biden, and most of his staff.

The speech highlighted not only what had been accomplished in the Obama administration (including rebuilding the economy after the great recession, a change in Cuban relations, the Iran nuclear deal, marriage equality, and the health care reform), but the key idea of unity and the power of the people as we move ahead into the new administration. The President talked about the improvement of racial divide in the United States, and he particularly mentioned the advances made in the African-American workforce, how native-born Americans need to see through the fog of stereotypical views of American immigrants, and the importance of not letting terrorism get in the way of the unity of the people. Economical inequality was another key idea of his speech, and he accentuated the fact that a lot had been done to bridge the gap between the working class and the one percent of Americans that have amassed a bigger share of wealth, but there is a lot more to be reformed to make sure all Americans have a shot at a fair living. President Obama stressed the need for Americans to look beyond what is handed to them and to base their opinions on evidence and experience. Most notably, he asked to keep a strong belief in democracy and the “peaceful transfer from one freely elected President to the next.”

Although there was a serious, warning tone to his last words in office, there was also a positivity to it as well. He reiterated his belief in the American people to always have the power to stand up for what is right. Nearing the end of his speech, his emotions gave way as he thanked his family, the Vice President and his family, and his staff. He closed his remarks in the same manner that he had begun his presidency in 2008, by asking the people to “believe not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.”

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