By Okeowo Oladapo
President Barack Obama, for the last time as president, stood before Americans and the world to give a speech that was a goodbye, and rousing at the same time.
Given on the backdrop of uncertainty, disillusion and fear that the Trump presidency has engendered, the President gave an account of the achievements of his administration, – the Affordable Care Act, elimination of Osama Bin Laden, rise in income level, fall in unemployment rate- the milestones reached and the lessons learnt.
He told of the journey from that day in 2009 when he accepted the mantle to lead a nation as powerful as America. It was vintage Obama.
The speech was mostly dedicated to rousing the listeners; a call-to-arms.
Obama called on Americans to remember their duty to the nation. The nation he said is nothing without the can-do spirit that defines America. The same spirit which the Constitution guides and engenders.
“For all our outward differences, we are all in this together,” he said warning that citizens should not let bigotry, violent acts of extremists, racism and religion deter them from keeping the American dream alive. “We rise or fall as one.”
“All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions.”
“So regardless of the station we occupy; we all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do.”
The president took time out to thank those around him whose sacrifices defined his presidency.
Starting with his wife to whom he said: “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson of the South Side, for the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend.”, to Joe Biden and who he called the “first decision I made as a nominee, and it was the best” and “a brother”.
His daughters, he thanked for the poise and grace with which they handled growing up in the spotlight as part of the First Family.
Life After January 20, 2017
The president went on to avow his continued participation in the polity. While thanking the people for their mandate, he said: “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 remaining days.”
In an earlier interview with the New Yorker, Obama stated his desire to raise the next generation of leaders and also offer his counsel in the rebuilding process of the DNC.
Here is the full text of the speech.