Obama's Beautiful Mandela Day Speech
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Politics and Activism

Obama's Mandela Day Speech Is Just What We need

Former President Barack Obama speaks of humanity, government, education, leadership, and numerous other topics during his Mandela Day speech.

Obama's Mandela Day Speech Is Just What We need

Last week, former president Barack Obama spoke in Johannesburg, South Africa for Mandela Day, the 100th birthday of iconic revolutionary Nelson Mandela. The former US president was asked, no, he was "ordered" by South Africa's president into giving a lecture for Mandela Day. Barack Obama delivered an insightful, heartfelt, hopeful, rousing, and inspiring speech that could serve as a wake-up call to all those who hear it.

In this article, I want to highlight a few key points from former president Obama's lecture that I think people need to revisit. The lecture is almost an hour and a half long, which gives Obama the chance to cover so many amazing tenets.
Humans are a unique species. J.R.R. Tolkien acknowledges this in his creation of Middle Earth lore. We are crafty, we are adaptable, and we are versatile. Obama makes a similar claim by talking about how the world, the human race, has so much potential.

Looking back at our history since Nelson Mandela's birth, the world has made unbelievable and significant progress. It may not feel like it at the moment with all the issues plaguing the world, but history shows that we are capable of advancing. However, all of our advancements have led to new but similar problems. By looking inward to ourselves and backward to our history, we can make educated decisions about how to improve.

One problem that former president Obama spoke about what a debilitating disease I call callousness. Josh Brolin, famous for his depiction of Thanos from "Avengers: Infinity War," Cable in "Deadpool 2," and Bran in "The Goonies;" made an analysis when being interviewed by Stephen Colbert. In the interview, he unpacks people's comparison of president Donald Trump to Thanos and finds the common thread.

Callousness is probably the biggest problem facing the world, especially our country's leadership. They are so out-of-touch with what real people go through that they rarely act in our best interest. Being this out-of-touch is just a few turns away from shattering our beloved democracy, and it is our duty to protest and fight for what will secure our best life.

"Our best life" is governed by unalienable rights gifted to us by our Creator. We are human and share a common humanity, which possesses certain freedoms that cannot be stripped from us. Obama clearly states how shocking it is that we still have to talk about this today, that people still struggle to grasp that everyone is human and everyone deserves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The labels of gender, sexual orientation, and race are all superficial determiners that hold no weight. These labels do not make anyone better or lesser than others because, as Obama revisits, certain truths like the Golden Rule never change. You can be proud of your own heritage and not criticize someone for theirs.

Former President Obama, on Mandela Day in Johannesburg, claimed that the only way to continue progressing is for everyone to accept these universal truths, develop a collective spirit, and actively make the changes that we need to. As humans, if we can unite under the label of human and not titles, sexual orientation, gender, or race, we can learn to love one another.

You may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with Nelson Mandela? All of what former president Obama said is what Mandela stood for. By looking back at human history and finding the iconic people who had the courage and aptitude to stand up for what's right, we can find it within ourselves to make the change.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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