January 10th 2017, will be a memorable day in the history books as the United States President Barack Obama gave his farewell speech, the speech which was applauded by millions viewing it both live and on tv. In his speech, Barack Obama mentioned all the highs and lows of his eight-year long tenure, his vision for an optimistic tomorrow and to bring in confidence into Americans for the new chapter in their life as the republican presidency takes over. Here are the top twelve key takeaways from his speech:
1. “It’s the beating heart of our American idea — our bold experiment in self-government.”
Obama started off his speech with his faith in Democracy and the equal rights and liberty that it endows. He assures the people of United States that democracy is the instrument for perfect union of a society that the Founders of America envisioned.
2. “I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition.”
Amidst the chants from the crowd of “four more years”, Obama then addressed the crowd by giving full confidence in Donald Trump, the next President-Elect. He also mentioned that it was equally citizen’s responsibility to support the next government so that democracy meets its full potential.
3. “The unemployment rate is near a 10-year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower.”
Obama became president when the US economy was hit by the recession in 2008, so it was a big challenge to kick-start the economy again. He toiled hard and since then employment rate reduced, health care costs rose at its slowest pace in 50 years, wages, incomes, home values and retirement accounts all rose during his duration.
4. “While the top 1 percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many of our families in inner cities and in rural countries have been left behind.”
Obama also addressed the other vicious side of the economy, where the rich got richer and poor in the rural areas were left behind. To minimize this economic disparity is what lies ahead for the next government to overcome.
5. “There’s a second threat to our democracy… Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.”
Racism has always been pervasive in the American society and Obama acknowledged this as a threat to the democracy. Although it is not as dominant as it was 20-30 years back, but it still exists today. The black, Latin, native-born and other minorities also constitute a significant part of the society and to diminish them of the privileges for the sake of white Americans would hamper the economy itself.
6. “We become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information… that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence.”
Obama highlighted a key point that people try to stay in groups of their own neighbourhood, college campuses, or religion. This leads to difference of opinions based on their own beliefs when different groups interact. This leads to the third threat to democracy – debates between political parties over issues without reaching a consensus.
7. “Now we can and should argue about the best approach to solve the problem (Of Climate Change). But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations.”
Obama brought to people’s attention the adverse effect climate change can make to future generations, and how they will be busy dealing with the environmental disasters, unless if it is acted upon today by today’s generation.
8. “A belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.”
Terrorism and United States have been synonymous and Obama condemned the acts and threats of the rising terrorism that is affecting the world over. A key note is that there has not been a single major terrorist attack during his tenure and appreciated the military for its efforts to curb the same.
9. “I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are.”
One of the major after-effects of terrorism is the discrimination of Muslims in the United States. Obama mentioned the fact that they are as much a part of the country as others.
10. “We cannot withdraw from big global fights to expand democracy and human rights and women’s rights and LGBT rights.”
Obama has always been a firm believer in equal rights to everyone, including LGBT community. He pointed out that people have to take a stand against nationalist aggression, intolerance and chauvinism that threatens the peace and order of the society.
11. “Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world — unless we give up what we stand for… our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted.”
Obama also addressed Russia and China cannot weaken the America’s might and asked the citizens to take a stand for democracy, come forward and keep the torch of democracy running and not take it for granted.
12. “I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.”
Finally, Obama signed off his speech by again asking the citizens to have faith in the history – to abolish slavery, justice to the immigrants, the sacrifices of in the battlefield and being the first to set foot on the moon. A history that proves that America was, is and will always be great.