Freedom and respect: Farewell from President Obama
WASHINGTON, January 10, 2017 – Tonight President Barack Obama gave his farewell address to the people of the United States and to the world. Obama displayed his greatest gifts, his ability to relate and connect, and to thank each of us for our small part in this great country. He was sincere, he was kind, he was genuine.
Tonight, when Barack Obama spoke, he spoke as the leader of the free world. The Commander in Chief of the United States of America.
Those who hate Obama will have years to attack him, decades to criticize. But they may not do it today. They may not do it after a speech that beautifully thanked each branch of government, each service member, each intelligence officer who stood tall and served to ensure democracy in this great nation. The speech that brought tears to his eyes for his love of his wife and his family, and for his vice president.
The President spoke of freedom and respect. He talked about the great balance of the two, of the need to preserve our amazing, unique democracy and to fight for it, whatever the cost. He also pointed a finger at each of us, metaphorically asking what have we done, as citizens of this country, to keep it safe. What we have done to participate in our democracy, to ensure the pillars of freedom, justice, and equality, that serve as a base for this democracy we hold dear.
The President did not blame or slander. He spoke of unity, of togetherness, of the common denominator of Americans – of our citizenship. We are all, he reminded us, citizens of these United States, and that commonality outweighs any divisions that cleave us apart.
Tonight, President Obama stood tall and spoke as the leader of the greatest country in the world. He did not denigrate or attack. He did not excuse or explain. Instead, he stood tall and spoke of hope. He spoke of change. He spoke of the power that resides in each of us. He reminded us, once again, that in the United States, power comes not from the elected officials, but from those who elect those representatives. Power is from the people, and politicians wield that power only because of the blessing of the people.
President Obama reminded us tonight of hope. He reminded us of change. He reminded us of the power, the grace, and the glory of each and every American. He reminded us that we, and our country, are truly good.
The best days are ahead of us, and we all have a part to play in that glory.
Tonight, President Obama moved me. Tonight, President Obama spoke from his heart, and millions of Americans heard what he said.
So hate Obama tomorrow, but not today. Crucify him tomorrow, but not today. Sneer at him tomorrow, but not today.
Because today, President Barack Obama spoke as an American. He spoke from his heart and he spoke words of hope and unity. He spoke to each of us, to our power and our promise.
Tonight, President Barack Obama deserves our respect. At least for a day.