Reaction to President Obama’s Farewell Address
“The most important office in our democracy is citizen. . . . Each of us must accept the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power happens to be swinging. It needs you–not just when there’s an election. Not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over a full span of a lifetime”
-President Barrack Obama, Farewell Address
President Obama just took the words right out of my mouth. Despite what any conservative reporters may say, President Obama’s farewell address was absolutely inspiring. He brilliantly stayed away from recapping his Administration’s last eight years and instead gave Americans a much needed lecture on civics. He powerfully delivered a message on our duties and responsibilities as American citizens, and hope. Actual real, tangible hope and not a bunch of fluffed up political rhetoric. All of the above are something that both parties, in my opinion, have failed miserably at in recent years. This call to action couldn’t have come at a better time.
He reminded us that no matter our political party, our socioeconomic status, our race, or our religion, each of us has so much more in common than we do otherwise. We all love this great nation and our children just the same and need to “presume a reservoir of good in other people.” He eloquently spoke of our Constitution being meaningless unless “we the people” give it power with our participation and the choices we make. What a great lesson to teach our children–that we are more alike than we are different!
I also loved President Obama’s call to get outside our bubbles. We all know about those bubbles. It’s so easy to stay in them. What a poignant reminder to get outside of those groups that think the exact same way we do, whose way of thinking is challenged so seldom that we only believe what we hear from those like-minded groups, rather than believe the actual evidence. He termed it “selective sorting of the facts.” We all need to see that our opponents might actually have a point sometimes. Amen!
One reason this blog was started was because we were tired of not only hearing people complain about the issues facing our country, but also being willing to do nothing about it but complain. Behind the complaints there was little understanding or desire to stand up and do what needs to be done to elicit positive change. It seems like fewer and fewer people are willing to step up and accept the call to do what Americans are supposed to do. It seems even fewer people are teaching their children about what being an American citizen means. It’s more than just a patriotic feeling, it’s about taking action, just like President Obama stated in his address. So many of us are also tired of people demanding tolerance and respect from one side but refusing to hold themselves to the same standard. We need more voices of reason and optimism amidst the complaints, pandemonium and pessimism. Change begins with us. What we teach our children about this great country matters. If we want a better future for our country, what we teach them matters today and always.
Our goal with this blog is to be a voice of precisely what President Obama suggested: “If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. . . . Show up. Dive in. Stay at it!”
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your service to our country. And thank you for such inspiring words. They came at a time when everyone in our country needed this reminder. We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.
(To read or watch President Obama’s entire farewell speech, go here.)
Former White House and Capitol Hill staffer, wife, and mom.