Obama says what US needs to hear during Farewell Address


Klaire Holmes, Staff writer

President Barack Obama gave his final speech at McCormick Hall in Chicago, Illinois which should serve as a wake up call to every citizen in America. He tackled issues such as immigration, race relations, and the importance of making our democracy stronger.

Obama started by reflecting on all the accomplishments of the country for the last 8 years he’s been in office, from capturing Osama Bin Laden to Obamacare.

‘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… open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, take out the mastermind of 9/11, and win marriage equality.’

Obama’s presidency is a perfect example of what America can do when we all stand together and work towards a common goal, and we have to keep towards those goals to ensure the continued success of America. 20 years ago, marriage equality wouldn’t have been in the question whatsoever, but President Obama If President Trump adopts the same morals and work ethic, he could accomplish many of the same things. It’s important for American citizens to join together instead of focusing on our differences and separating people, a point that Donald Trump needs to understand before January 20th.

Obama put his main focus on the state of the democracy and restrictions that are keeping America from making our democracy better.

‘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 10, or 20, or 30 years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.’

There are several organizations in America today dedicated to making sure that every citizen is given the same equal rights and freedoms as everyone else. Race relations aren’t were they need to be, but they’re definitely getting better which is what we should strive for.

He also stated that equal economic opportunity, or the belief that everyone should be given the same opportunities unhampered by prior prejudices, will further propel America into a better democracy.

‘Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity.  Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again.  The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. While the top 1% has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and healthcare worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics. ‘

When there is bias in the workplace that hinders certain groups from getting jobs even if they have all the requirements, the game is rigged against them.

‘That’s what our democracy demands, it needs you. Not just when there’s an election, or when your narrow interest is at stake. If something needs fixing, get up, lace up your shoes, and do something. Show up. Dive in. Persevere.’

Change doesn’t occur by sitting on the problems, because it only makes those problems worse. When you break a bone, you don’t avoid going to the doctor, you express your discomfort and get a cast to fix the problem which is exactly what we need to do with the problems we face in every day life. Obama gives us specific instructions on how we could make our democracy better, drilling in the point that it takes hard work and effort from everyone to make these issues known.

Obama also justified the entire Black Lives Matter movement, which was created to protest the unfair treatment and need for equal treatment of African Americans amongst their fellow citizens.

‘When they wage in peaceful; protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.’

Obama also tackled the avid nativism, or belief that native born residents are better and deserve more than immigrants, that has been a long time problem for America. We all come from  different walks of life, but when it comes down to it we are all the same.

‘The stereotypes about America about immigrants were said almost word for word about the Irish, Italians, and Poles, and America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nations creed and it was strengthened by their presence.’

Immigrants have been labeled as terrorists, most Americans forgetting the fact that they are humans just like we are. They have jobs and families that they love dearly, just like the rest of us, and deserve the same equal and fair treatment, as Obama pointed out.

‘We have to try harder to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as we do; that they value hard work and family just as we do; that their children and just as curious, hopeful, and deserving of love just as our own.’

Obama ended his speech expressing his gratitude for all American citizens, no matter the background they come from. It was an excellent wake up call that preached acceptance and love.

It’s important for Americans to be cautious but not completely heartless on the immigrant situation. Threats can come from anywhere, not just from outsiders. We should not limit everyone because of the actions of few.