Published on January 11th, 2017
The US President Barack Obama delivers a final address to the American people sharing both his reflections on his time in office and his outlook for the future of the United States.Obama used his farewell speech in his home town on Tuesday to defend his legacy and to press a broad, optimistic vision for the country that seems more divided than ever.
In that speech, Mr Obama promised a cheering crowd of supporters that “the best is yet to come”.
In giving a final speech, Obama continued in a tradition first started by the President George Washington in 1796 and followed by many outgoing presidents since.
“Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can.”
With these words, President Obama wrapped up the farewell remarks of the presidency with the same soaring rhetoric of hope that he rode into the White House eight years ago.
We’ve curated 16 of the most remarkable quotes from President Obama’s farewell speech:
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1. Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.
2. After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.
3. We, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans. That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem.
4. If we’re unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants…we diminish the prospects of our own children. I’ve seen…children remind us of our obligations to care for refugees, to work in peace, and above all to look out for each other.
5. Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us should give ourselves to the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.
6. For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles…surrounded by people who look like us. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.
7. 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 neighbours.
8. Without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate…climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.
9. Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make.
10. Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity.
11. If you are tired of talking to strangers on the internet, try talking to any one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organising. If you are disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, run for signatures and run for office, yourself.
12. Michelle…for the past twenty-five years, you have been not only my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. You have made me proud, you have made our country proud. A new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. Malia and Sasha…you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad. To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son: you were the first decision I made as a nominee and the best. Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother
13. To my remarkable staff: For eight years – and for some of you, a whole lot more
14. I’ve drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism. I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you.
15. To all of you out there – every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and 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 anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because yes, you changed the world.
16. It has been the honour of my life to support you. I wont stop. I will be there with you as a citizen for my remaindering days, I am asking you to believe in your own ability to bring about change. 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 can.
Watch President Obama’s Farewell Speech Video
Video: YouTube :The New York Times Channel
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Video: YouTube Channel : The White House
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