Let me start off this blog post with this: I love Obama. As a fellow Illinoisian, Barack Obama is, without a doubt, my favorite president. Now, with that in mind, I can say that even if he wasn’t my favorite president, I would have loved Obama’s Farewell Address.
For those of you who are reading this and have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, Barack Obama gave his Farewell Address on January 10th, 2017 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. The speech lasted about 50 minutes, and within that time, there were several memorable moments (at least they were memorable to me)
First moment I found memorable: When President Obama talked about ‘Selective Sorting of Facts’. He basically talked about the blatant uneven-ness (that’s a word, right?) of how people in this country sometimes act towards things. Here’s the actual quote:
“How can elected officcals rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschools for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations? How do we excuse ethical lapses in out own parties but pounce when the other party does the same thing?”
The reason I liked this quote is because it put into words the way I believe people in this country have a tendency to act towards each other and not always intentionally. Sometimes people, and when I say people here I’m mostly talking about the two prominent political parties, are so focused on their party and making sure their party wins or is right that they don’t see the other side of the situation.
Next part I enjoyed: Obama mentioning the troops. Say what you will about Obama (and no this is not an open invitation for you to post political opinions in my comment section) but the man loves the troops.
Case in point about how much he loves them is this quote from about 20 minutes into his speech:
“To all who serve or have served, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your commander-in-chief”
That quote, in my opinion as a girl who has friends currently overseas in the Army, meant a lot because you could tell he meant it. There has never been a moment in Barack Obama’s presidency that I felt like he could care less about our men and women overseas defending our country, and that comment there did a very nice job summing that up, at least to me.
Second the last point (Sorry, I know there are a lot, just bare with me). I’m not even going to explain myself on why I like this one, I think it speaks for itself:
“So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when you own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir in goodness, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America and in Americans will be confirmed. Mine sure has been.”
Wow…. that’s all I can say about that.
Last moment, the moment that made not only myself and everyone watching at home emotional, but Barack Obama even wiped away a tear at the very mention of his wife. Michelle Obama (don’t even get me started about her or we will be here for another 700 words, at MINIMUM) was sitting there watching with one of her daughters, smiling whenever the camera glanced at her. The crowd even gave her a standing ovation!
“Michelle LaVaughn Robinson of the South Side… for the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for. And you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style, and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You have made me proud, and you have made the country proud.”
I mean, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THAT!
Overall, I loved the speech a lot more than I thought I would. As you saw I actually, for the first time I can remember, had favorite sections like this one:
“And to all of you out there — every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town, every kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change — you are the best supporters and organizers anybody could ever hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because you did change the world.”
So, with that, I’m going to leave you with the end of Obama’s speech, because it actually made me cry and I hope it makes you feel all the emotions it made me feel.
“My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.
I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.
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: Yes, we can.
Yes, we did”
Yes, we did Barack.
Yes, we did.