This archived article was written by: Alex Morell
At the end of 1796, George Washington, the first president of the United States was expected to run for a third term, however in a surprise move, Washington stepped down from power, and in doing so taught the young American republic a lesson which he laid out in his farewell address.
He warned the nation about infighting and tyranny seeking to destroy the nation and argued that the people should do all that is in their power to maintain both the union and democracy.
The farewell address since has become a presidential tradition in which the President provides advice to the people going into the next administration. President Obama continued this tradition in his hometown of Chicago, Ill., on Jan. 10.
In his address, the president thanked the people who elected him before going on to talk about the values of the founders and how those shaped American history highlighting victories of patriots, slaves, immigrants, women and soldiers.
President Obama summed up the past eight years of his Presidency and its accomplishments before talking about the future and focusing on the peaceful transition of power from him to President-elect Donald Trump.
Keeping on that topic of the future, Obama talked about the state of American democracy and the progress it still needs to make, first mentioning the economy and the struggles of the middle-class against big business and the top one percent and how they have amassed more wealth then ever before. It will be a struggle to find a solution, Obama told the crowd.
He talked about race and how it remains a prominent issue today in American society. He told Americans that we are not where we should be on race equality and that there is much more work to do. He stated we need to uphold laws against discrimination in hiring, housing, education and in the criminal justice system.
Next he said that hearts must change, because laws won’t be enough. The president explained that it would not be easy and it might take generations, but it can be done if we continue trying.
He finished his talk by warning the nation about the battle of politics and tranny, both home and abroad mentioning violent fanatics and autocrats in foreign nations. He applauded the efforts of the military in confronting these threats.
Obama asked the nation to not withdraw from the global fights of expanding democracy, protecting human rights, women’s rights and LGBT rights, stating that doing so is a part of defending America and fighting extremism and intolerance.
He concluded his address thanking Michelle for her service to the nation as first lady, calling her a role model for the nation; his children for their support of him; Vice President Joe Biden for his service and friendship; and finally the American people who helped and served in his presidency.
He departed the stage after telling his fellow American of the honor it has been to serve as president and giving them a creed for them to follow- “Yes, we can”.