Time: 5:50 a.m. CEST
President Barack Obama offered his last message as a president to the American people in the farewell address from Chicago, full of emotion and gratitude, not only for the people, but for those who served him closely in the both terms of his presidency, starting in 2008.
Obama, who talked about democracy and the way U.S. function as a state, offered his gratitude to “fellow Americans.” “It has been the honor of my life to serve you,” Obama said, promising that even as a citizen, he would be there for others. “For now, whether, you are young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President-the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.” Obama asked of people to believe, not “in my ability to bring about change-but in yours.”
President Obama in his farewell address promised that in 10 days the world would see the peaceful transfer of power. 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. I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.”
Obama looked back of the eight years of his presidency, talking about many goals and results achieved and said that, “we can argue how to best achieve these goals, but we cannot be complacent of the goals themselves.”
“If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history. If I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11. If I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high,” Obama said.
Obama talked about dysfunction American politics and said, “Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted.” The message Obama wanted to pass to all is that, “regardless party, all of you should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. Obama said that when, “when trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service.” Obama mentioned Congress and explained, “When Congress is dysfunctional, and we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.”
In the farewell speech, Obama said the U.S. Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. “
But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make,” Obama said.
As Obama pointed last time as a president, “Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear.” But, he also said the citizens must remain “vigilant against external aggression.” In the past eight years, as Obama pointed out, he worked to end torture, “worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans.”
Obama said that, “we cannot withdraw from global fights-to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights.” According to the president, fight against extremism and intolerance, and sectarianism, are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression.”
“If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened,” Obama said.
Obama called all who share the proud title, citizen to be “jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.”
As Obama pointed out, Islamic State militants will “try to kill innocent people.” But, as Obama pointed out, “they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight.”
Obama talked about Russia or China-that cannot “match our influence around the world – unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.”
At the end of his farewell speech Obama thanked to first lady Michelle Obama, to their daughters Malia and Sasha and to all who served for the president in the past eight years.