President Barack Obama offered a very heartfelt speech tonight in his official farewell address. However, his speech was dominated by a conversation on democracy, upholding American values, and coming together. He praised Michelle Obama and Joe Biden, and shared his love for America and his daughters. He reminisced on good times, on inspiration, growth, and accomplishments and yet it still felt shrouded in darkness and concern knowing who will next step into his shoes.
Obama never identified Donald Trump by name in his speech. In a single moment where he directly referred to him, he simply referred to him as the president-elect, and it was only to acknowledge that he has tried to “make the transition as smooth as possible, as George W. Bush did for [him].”
Despite this, some comments were very clearly directed at the incoming administration:
‘But we’re not where we need to be. All of us have more work to do. After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children – because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce. And our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women.’
Donald Trump used the American people’s fear of change, of globalization, of terrorism and turned it into a campaign. He exploited the issues facing the country in an attempt to divide and gain footing to win the seat in the Oval Office, but Obama reminds Americans that no factors should divide the American people. He said:
‘…For all our differences, we rise or we fall as one.’
Workers particularly cannot permit this division because it only works to keep wages low, and required education high.
In case you missed it, WATCH the full speech here:
Feature Image is a screengrab from the video.