Barack Obama gave his presidential farewell speech in Chicago tonight, declaring “yes we did” and calling on citizens to become politically engaged and uphold the values the country was founded on, as his eight years as president comes to an end. Here’s a round-up of his address:
- The president called on citizens to maintain faith in democracy by participating in it, such as having an open dialogue with those that disagree and running for office. “Show up. Dive in. Stay at it. Sometimes you will win, sometimes you will lose,” he said.
- He warned against divisiveness between Americans of different backgrounds, including people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims and also white Americans who’ve struggled with economic changes. He quoted Attitcus Finch from Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
- The country’s first black president also called the idea of a post-racial America, due to his election, “never realistic. “For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society,” he said.
- Obama spoke about the crucial issue of climate change, saying that “to simply deny the problem” betrays everyone.
- He noted the achievements of his administration: no foreign terrorist attack on US soil, more Americans with health insurance, the legislation of same-sex marriage, the killing Osama bin Laden.
- Obama only mentioned president-elect Trump by name once, when saying he would ensure a smooth transition of power.
- He thanked wife Michelle, “girl from the south side”, tearing up when paying tribute to the first lady. He thanked his daughters and called being their dad the “role he’s most proud of.
- The speech finished with a reference to Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan: “Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can.”