On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama said goodbye to the nation, continuing his vision of hope through the American people.
Obama’s farewell address closed the door to one of the most historic moments in American history. Now, a new door has opened to a Republican-led government and the presidency of Donald Trump. Last night, Obama offered us a sense of optimism, while also warning us about the future of our democracy. In his emotional speech, he expressed his gratitude for the nation and the honor of serving as our President. With grace and dignity, he noted the difficulties of dealing with people at odds with him, and the progressive achievements he made despite those odds.
The same powerful, hopeful rhetoric that catapulted him into the Oval Office in 2008 and 2012 were present in his speech. At times, he brought people to tears, like when he thanked Joe Biden, or standing ovations for his wife, Michelle. The soon-to-be former president also acknowledged the nation’s sour and palpable division. He suggested that this election not only deepened the division, but also revealed the dangers of taking democracy for granted.
“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions,” the president said. “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.”
Obama warned us that if we remain complacent about government and politics, the division will only deepen. He urged the audience to get out there and participate, because that is the only way to ignite change. He concluded his goodbye and his legacy with the words that began the road to his presidency: “Yes we can. Yes we did.”
You can watch his full farewell speech below.