President Barack Obama wowed a supportive audience with a rousing farewell speech in his hometown of Chicago on Tuesday night. In what was his farewell address, Obama, spoke over the chants of “four more years” by a very enthusiastic crowd of 20,000, according to the Los Angeles Times.
His approval ratings at an all-time high, and days away from transferring the presidency over to the real estate mogul who campaigned largely on dismantling Obama’s legacy, the president opened by reflecting on his past.
Barack Obama related to the cheering crowd how his political career began in Chicago.
“This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it,” Obama said about his roots as a community organizer and later a state representative in the Illinois legislature.
“After eight years as your president, I still believe that,” he went on to say. “And it’s not just my belief, it’s the beating heart of our American idea—our bold experiment in self-government.”
In a sometimes emotional address, Obama called upon Americans to unify to overcome what he related as “challenges to our democracy” in a call to action for Americans to remain an active part of the democratic process.
“Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.”
During an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Air Force One prior to the farewell address, he reflected on his time in the White House and the gratitude he feels toward the Americans who entrusted him with the presidency.
“You know when you reflect back on eight years, for all the highs and the lows, the one thing that is a constant is the incredible dedication of the people who got you there,” Obama said, adding that he meant everyone from his staff to “the people who, you know, would say that the work we did made a difference.”
“I think that that sense of gratitude that I feel for those folks, I just hope I’m able to express that,” Obama reflected.
Obama carried this tone into his farewell speech later that night as he wowed his audience with memorable lines and heartfelt affection, as reported by CNN. He then went on to list what he felt were his major accomplishments of lifting America out a serious recession, the ACA, trying to close Guantanamo Bay, and the legalization of gay marriage.
However, it should be noted that it was an act of the Supreme Court that fully recognized a gay couple’s right to marriage and not actually the Obama administration.
Barack Obama then addressed what could be perceived as his shortcomings and the obstacles and gridlock he often faced from a resolved Republican Congress for most of his term as president.
“For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back,” he said. “But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.”
In a moment that touched his audience and supporters with sincerity, President Barack Obama’s farewell speech ended with an emotional honor his of his wife and first lady, Michelle Obama.
“Michelle Lavaughn Robinson, girl on the south side, for the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and the mother of my children, you have been my best friend,” he lovingly stated during the brief tribute to his wife.
[Featured Image by Darren Hauck/Getty Images]