Opinion, Think Pieces
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Thoughts on President Obama’s farewell speech

Written by Carsie Mendoza, Staff Writer

As President Barack Obama gave his final address to the nation as president, one of the major themes was reminding ourselves how far we had come in the past eight years. Not only were there many economic successes, such as unemployment falling to 4.7%, the Dow stock exchange making it past 19,000 points, and over 20 million Americans being covered under the Affordable Healthcare Act, there have been many social-based victories as well.

Some have included the repealing of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ability for the LGBTQ+ community to marry whomever they choose, and the executive orders of DACA and DAPA or the Deferred Action for undocumented immigrants.

The past eight years has seen lots of change for the better yet we are reminded by Barack Obama in this speech that even though we have seen lots of successes, we shouldn’t stand by and pretend all is right with the world.

Race relations continue to be exceedingly tense as many minorities, who are quickly becoming the majority, are facing the ignorance from the majority, who are quickly becoming the minority and are not liking the changes they are seeing in their country.

In addition, Congress continues to try to defund Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare, all the while ignoring other pressing issues like the need for more gun control or anything else for that matter.

The effects of all this? A more divided America.

An America where we refuse to listen to anyone with opposite views than us; something that I’m guilty of myself.

Yet, President Obama reminds us once again in his farewell address of what he said at the 2004 Democratic National Convention: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America.”

President Obama reaffirms that we need to come together to solve the problems America is facing regardless of what party we are a part of or who we surround ourselves with. Just because we may disagree on the ideals we hold to a higher standard than others, it shouldn’t make us enemies but make us want to come together to figure out a solution that works for the whole.

“…Regardless of the station we occupy,” President Obama says passionately during his speech, “We all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just as we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.”

President Obama will step down from power as the president on January 20th and become a regular citizen as the new president takes power. While I do not agree with the president-elect’s ideals and beliefs, I will not stand idly by.

I will be doing just as President Obama instructed us to do in the final few minutes of his remarks: “All of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power happens to be swinging.”

As George Washington once said, “We should reject the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest…”

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