Tuesday evening, America’s first African-American president, Barack Obama graced the stage at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center to give his farewell speech. It was a tear jerking farewell that reminded the nation of the our progress and accomplishments during his tenure. As he reflected on how far we’ve all come together.
“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.
“But that’s what we did. That’s what you did. You were the change,” he continued. “You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.”
He also warned Americans that laws would not be enough to bridge the divide and resolve differences between Americans.
“Hearts must change,” he said.
He called on African-Americans and minorities to view with empathy “the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.”
President Obama will be missed. His swag, intelligence, and his way with words appealed to Americans. As a gifted orator, his speeches seemed to lift us when we were at our lowest moments. He brought about change to millions who had no healthcare. He brought about change to those who had no hope. He brought about change in the way many young African-Americans now see the future–one in which they can indeed believe that they too can grow up to be President of the United States. For these reasons and far too many more that go unmentioned, we will truly miss you Mr. Obama! Thank you for your service to our nation.