The United States President Barack Obama has said goodbye after spending eight years in office. He delivered his farewell speech in his hometown of Chicago on Tuesday, January 10.
In his emotional farewell speech, he talked about his eight years in office, thanked hi family, staff and all those who made his tenure a success.
Below are takeaways from the outgoing president’s his speech.
1. He has been made a better man and a better president
Obama said in his eight years in office, his conversations with the American people has kept him honest and kept him going. He said it was his source of inspiration and motivation over the years.
“And every day, I have learned from you. You made me a better president, and you made me a better man,” he said.
2. Lessons he learnt
The outgoing president said he has learnt that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and come together to demand it. He is convinced we are all created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
3. Extolling the exceptionalism of America
He said America is exceptional, not because it was not flawless from the start but because they have shown the capacity to change and make life better for others.
“Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard. It has been contentious. Sometimes it has been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some,” he said.
4. Stark inequality, a threat to American democracy
He said the progress is not enough if a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class. He decried that while the top 1 percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth, others in inner cities and in rural counties have been left behind. He said this was corrosive to the country’s democratic idea.
5. Race, a threat to American democracy
“There’s a second threat to our democracy. And this one is as old as our nation itself.”
According to him, race has remained a potent and divisive force in the society. He noted that race relations were better than they were years ago and if the people are going to be serious about race going forward, they need to uphold laws against discrimination in hiring, housing, education and in the criminal justice system.
He said that hearts must also change as laws alone will not be enough while adding that it will not change overnight as it often takes time.
6. Tribute to service members
Obama also paid tribute to the nation’s military, diplomats, and law enforcement for saying because of their courage and intelligence no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on US soil in the past eight years.
“The global coalition we’re leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders and taken away about half their territory. ISIL will be destroyed. And no one who threatens America will ever be safe,” he said.
7. America’s influence around the world cannot be matched
He said: “Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world — unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.”
8. Leave the internet sometimes and talk to one another in real life
“If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life,” he said.
The outgoing president advised people to strive to assume the best rather than the worst about the people they disagree with.
9. If you are not happy with those you elected, run for office yourself
“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,” he said.
10. Tribute to his wife, Michelle and daughters, Malia and Sasha
The outgoing president said his daughters have become two amazing young women under the strangest of circumstances.
“You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I have done in my life, I am most proud to be your dad.”
11. Yes we can
With a final shout of his campaign mantra “Yes We Can,” urged Americans to believe in their ability to bring about change and also uphold the US values and reject discrimination.
You can watch Obama’s farewell speech below….