In a speech President Obama gave Friday, following his receipt of the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government from the University of Illinois, the former U.S. leader got political and addressed the Trump Administration.
While President Obama is clearly no stranger to politics, he has spent the last two years mostly flying below the political radar, despite the fact that Donald Trump tweets about him — regularly. With midterms just around the corner, the time was right for Obama to share some words of wisdom, delivered more eloquently than most Americans are used to receiving from the Trump Administration.
The former U.S. leader praised the many accomplishments of America he also pointed out the seedier side of politics and how politicians strategically use fear and mistrust to lead the masses.
Former President Obama, referring to “people who are genuinely… fearful of change” during speech at University of Illinois: “It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.” pic.twitter.com/MjeL7MVv3c
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 7, 2018
‘Progress doesn’t just move in a straight line. There’s a reason why progress hasn’t been easy, why, throughout our history, every two steps forward seems to sometimes produce one step back. Each time we painstakingly pull ourselves closer to our founding ideals, that all of us are created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. The ideals that say every child should have opportunity and every man and woman in this country who is willing to work hard should be able to find a job to support a family and pursue their small piece of the American dream. Our ideals that say we have a collective responsibility to care for the sick and the infirm. We have a responsibility to conserve the amazing bounty, the national resources of this country and of this planet for future generations. Each time we have gotten closer to those ideals somebody somewhere has pushed back. The status quo pushes back. Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, and wrongly, fearful of change. More often it’s manufactured by the powerful and the privileged who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep us cynical because that helps them maintain the status quo, and keep their power and keep their privilege.’
The former president went on to tell the University of Illinois students:
‘And you happen to be coming of age during one of those moments. It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, of fear and anger that’s rooted in our past but also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.’
Twitter users responded to President Obama’s speech. You can see some of the top responses below:
Another particularly hard hitting part of President Obama’s speech called out Trump’s use and abuse of the intelligence community and even his own Administration members.
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) September 7, 2018
The thoughtfulness, intelligence, and eloquence put into the former U.S. leaders words are a far cry from Trump’s word regular word vomit. The familiar feeling of wondering if the president speaking has any idea what he’s talking about or whether or not he’s mispronouncing simple words does not come over one the way it does during a Trump rally. It’s not hard to predict that Donald Trump will likely take to Twitter to rebut Obama’s words. The only question is, how many Tweets will come out of this?
Featured Image via Youtube screen capture