By Elizabeth Youssef, Submissions Editor
Former President Barack Obama gave his farewell address on January 10, 2017, in his hometown of Chicago. He addressed several things, including major threats to democracy. He called for all Americans to come together and help find solutions.
“So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional,” Obama said. “Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.”
After a very controversial election, he called on everyone to be unified despite their different beliefs.
“But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works,” he said. “Only if our politics reflect the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”
He did not object to the election of Donald Trump and promised that his administration would help make it an easy transition for him.
“In 10 days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next,” he said. “I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me. Because it’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.”
According to Fortune, more than 24 million people across the country watched Obama’s farewell address.
One of those was Todd Echols, a Reynolds sophomore, who shared his favorite quote from the address:
“‘Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity—the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.’ This quote from the speech stood out to me,” Echols said. “As a nation we are divided on many issues but we have to remember we are all still one democracy together.”
In the next four years, Americans hope to see changes in several areas.
“I want to see action on global warming,” Echols said. “Many of our newly elected government officials are skeptical about global warming but we need to look at the evidence then make a plan to prevent any more harm. We have to do something before it’s too late.”
Many people also want our country to be unified once again and stand on the pillar of equality for all.
“If I have to choose one thing to change, I’ll shoot for the stars and say that I am still hoping for equality for all human beings, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual preference or socioeconomic status,” said English teacher Pamela Kirkland. “That should be doable, right?”
Photo from NDTV