Obama's farewell address

Obama's farewell address
Barack Obama gave an emotional farewell speech to the nation, where he discussed 'achievements' made during his eight year tenure and his hopes for the future.
3 min read
11 January, 2017
Barack Obama delivered his final public speech as president [Getty]
Barack Obama delivered his final speech as US president on Tuesday night, speaking to a crowd of supporters in his adopted home Chicago.
The city is where it began for Obama, first as a budding young politician and then when he launched his campaign to become the US' first black president.

During his farewell speech, Obama was met with cheers on when he spoke of some of his achievements over the past eight years: Obamacare, a nuclear deal with Iran "without a shot being fired", re-establishing ties with Cuba, closing Guantanamo Bay, and "taking out Bin Laden".

Ending his speech, Obama echoed his famous cry when he first ran for president telling supporters at the free-ticket event, "Yes we did".

It comes after Obama's tumultuous two-term presidency ended with disappointment with the election of President-elect Donald Trump.

The controversial Republican's name was met with boos from the crowd with many expecting Obama's most progressive policies to be reversed by Trump.

Still, Obama urged supporters to respect the values of "democracy" and give Trump a chance.

But he also urged Americans to hold future US leaders to account particularly if they regrade on human rights or democratic principles.

"If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organising," he said. Obama urged young Americans to get involved in politics themselves, and left the crowd with the impression that he might get involved in activism himself.
If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organising
But ultimately he also stressed that he had done what he could to ensure an orderly transition of power for Trump and the democratic rule of law was being respected.

"Democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity... For all our outward differences, we are all in this together," he said. "We rise or fall as one."

He argued that climate change could be one of the greatest threats for the next generation of Americans, and that people must act in unison to pressure officials to take action and curb its impact.

"We can and should argue about the best approach to solve the problem," he told the crowd.

"But to simply deny the problem, not only betrays future generations, it betrays the essential spirit of this country, the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our founders."

Democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity... For all our outward differences, we are all in this together... We rise or fall as one

He also acknowledged that internal divisions in the US remain strong, particularly race relations.

These have been brought to the surface following comments by Trump and his supporters deemed racist and threatening, along with the emergence of the Black Lives Matter activist group during Obama's final months in power.

Rather than concentrating solely on domestic politics, Obama also said that the US still has a place in the world to spread democracy and human rights.

"That is why we cannot withdraw from big global fights to expand democracy, human rights, women's rights, LGBT rights," he said.

It comes as Donald Trump's term in office fast approaches with a radically different agenda to the Obama administration promised by the businessman.

Among the fears of many of Muslim-Americans are some Islamophobic comments by the president-elect and his pledged policies such as a banning Muslims from entering the US.

With this in mind, Obama paid tribute to Muslim-Americans facing one of the most challenging times yet and urged solidarity from other Americans.

"I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are," he said.

But he left with a message of hope, saying the US is now a "better, stronger place" than it was eight years ago.