After eight years of holding the most polarizing job in the world, Barack Obama took center stage to address the nation one last time. The speech took place Wednesday, Jan. 10, from his hometown of Chicago.
“It’s good to be home. My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight, it’s my turn to say thanks,” the former president said to start the night.
He went on to discuss the how change can happen, as it can come from ordinary people. He credited the founders of the country for allowing changes and improvements to make the nation a better place.
Looking back at his eight years in office, Obama said he believes that if he had known the outcome ahead of time, he would have been filled with joy. He went on to add, “If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history…”
One of the notable improvements made was the building of bridges with Cuba. As of now the two countries are on the best terms in years.
Another highlight of his presidency was capturing the man he calls “the mastermind of 9/11,” Osama Bin Laden, after the years of anxiety the terrorist caused not only the United States but large parts of the world.
“And secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high,” Obama said when looking back at the success of passing the highly controversial Affordable Care Act.
According to a recent poll from Fox News, 50 percent of the country approves of Obamacare. That same poll approved Donald Trump at seven percent less.
As Obama reminisced over his run as president to a highly emotional Chicago attendance, he assured the country that the transfer between him and Trump would be as smooth as possible.
“I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.” This was done to make sure the country remains as wealthy and powerful as ever.
The former president made it clear he had one focus: “the state of our democracy.” He added, “the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together, that we rise or fall as one.”
Bringing up the point that there have been many scary moments in the history of the country, Obama stated that “There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity.” He said the future of protecting this country is on our children, making it all the more important to give them the opportunity to get educated.
Obama was proud to reveal the unemployment rate is near a 10-year low and the cost of healthcare is rising the slowest it has in a massive 50 years.
Obama went on to express how happy he is with the country’s progress, but that there is still a long way to go. In particular, he still has concerns over “the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and healthcare worker who struggle to pay the bills.”
Transitioning to thanking those he loves, he started off with his wife Michelle. “For the past 25 years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children but my best friend.” He thanked her for taking on the role she did, even though she never asked for it. Obama ended his thoughts on her by saying she didn’t only make him proud but “You’ve made the country proud.”
Next up were his daughters. “Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances you have become two amazing young women.” Obama stated that that of all he has done in his life, the thing he is proudest of is being their dad.
Obama moved on to his vice president, “the scrappy kid from Scranton,” Joe Biden who was the former president’s first and best choice as nominee. Obama said it wasn’t just his success as VP, it was that they became like brothers.
As the speech wound down, Obama stated, “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 days that remain. For now, whether you’re young or 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.”
The 44th President of the United Stated ended his speech, telling all Americans the story is yet to be written. “Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.”