President Barack Obama addressed the nation in front of his political hometown Chicago on Tuesday night—the same place he recorded history in 2008 and 2012. In front of a packed audience and with millions watching across the nation, Obama offered encouragement to the U.S. to reclaim its most important part of our democracy: the role of the citizen.
“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,” Obama said.
In a call to fellow Americans who didn’t cast a vote this past election, the president reminded everyone that our country was founded on the principles of the Constitution. We the people, he reminded everyone, the people who live in this country has the right to voice their opinion, no matter what, not when it's time for an election but every day. Every day there is a fight that we as citizens must stand for whether it is equality of marriage, racism, LGBT rights, narrow interest, healthcare, and elected officials.
We the people must do something about it. Not just sit back and let others take our freedom.
“If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself,” Obama said.
Obama offered hope and optimism as well as a sly warning for the next four years or so. We may not know exactly what the upcoming President-elect is going to offer to the table but to have an open mind when it comes to our democracy. But if the citizens disagree, there are alternate ways to fight this injustice, not just tweet about it: by standing up and being more proactive, voicing your opinion. Obama also announced he will still be around in Washington to voice his opinions towards Congress.
He went on to relate to both parties and every citizen of the nation that we are not so different. We all have the most important role of a democracy as citizens.
“Because for all our outward differences," he said, "we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen. Citizen.”
Regardless of race, religion or your beliefs, Obama reminded everyone we are all equal. He offered hope in his speech and touched on the topics of race in America, the banning of Muslims, and giving acknowledgment to Republicans who are trying to undermine his legacy with Obamacare.
Obama said, “If anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system — that covers as many people at less cost — I will publicly support it.”
He acknowledged America hasn't changed from the America it once was. White Americans who don't acknowledge the effects of slavery and how Jim Crow laws didn't just vanish but how minority groups voice their discontent. when they protest and fight for something they are not demanding special treatment but the equal treatment that our founding fathers promised in the constitution, the law of the people. Something a citizen has the right to do.
Everybody should be on an equal playing field; not one party that is superior to the other, democratic or republican, that's how the foundation of this country was established on. Equal playing field and it's up to its citizens to decide how this country should be run. No matter the race or the nationality America is great because of all the individuals in it, and not only the ones who try to frame it and make it their America. The founding fathers made it the land of opportunity, for anybody immigrant, native born or born on foreign but American soil. They made it the land of opportunity for a reason.
“For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, and Italians, and Poles, who it was said were going to destroy the fundamental character of America," Obama stated. "And as it turned out, America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; these newcomers embraced this nation’s creed, and this nation was strengthened."
To every citizen who has lost hope in our democracy, Obama offered the perfect example of being a part of something more and setting out what it feels like to accomplish the American dream. “And there will be times when the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire," he said. "And more often than not, your faith in America and in Americans will be confirmed. Mine sure has been.”
“My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won't stop. In fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days," he added. "But for now, whether you are young or whether you're young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.”
The slogan was “yes we can” when he was elected. Now, with him walking out of the White House eight years later, it is “yes we did.” Obama out.