Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama delivered his final address to the nation as its leader. Now, I am not here to talk politics. There is plenty of that being done in the media nowadays, anyway. I am not here to argue for or against Obama's presidency either. I simply want to share my thoughts on the topics that he covered in that hour long speech that I watched and admired.
He began by talking about his search for purpose in life, which is something that we can all relate to. He then spoke about America as an experiment. This description is truer now than ever before. So many variables have changed, and so many people believe they have the best theory of how to deal with those changes. Sometimes those ideas work, and sometimes they don't. But it is the effort and actions taken by ordinary people who are trying to be the good that they want to see in the world that gives us a fighting chance even in the scariest of situations. President Obama then spoke about the very pressing topic of next week's transfer of power, saying that his administration is doing everything it can to keep it peaceful. No matter your opinion of the current of future president, I admire Obama for attempting to remind the citizens of this country to keep in mind one of it's most special qualities.
Solidarity, the President said, is necessary in a democracy. It calls the people to put some of their individual ideals and desires aside in order to help move things along and fight for a greater good. Reminding the nation of the necessary compromises that need to be made is pivotal, especially in this political climate. Anyone who watched this speech should take this fact to heart. We all take in the information that we have at the time and formulate a response that works best at the given moment, and should not be afraid to adjust that as times change. Most importantly, as President Obama said, "There are no quick fixes."
Of course, a speech on the state of the country would not be complete without addressing the differing views on racial diversity. While he did speak about affects on things such as the economy and education, the part that struck me the most was when he proceeded to quote one of my favorite literary characters, Atticus Finch. Laws will not be enough, as we have known for a long time. As Atticus said, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." Most importantly, our nation is made stronger by diversity, as I have come to know in the past few months. Having different perspectives and different beliefs surrounding you is so interesting because you learn to accept and empathize with other's positions and struggles, something I believe can make the world a better place.
The President ended his speech on a very optimistic note, something that has been uncommon in the world for a while. He spoke about the people that he has encountered who are unselfish. This was my favorite part because he was recognizing the good that is still in the world during a time in which most of the news that you see is so vicious and pessimistic. I hope that those who have seen this speech (if you haven't, seriously, it's worth watching just for when he talks about the Michelle) will take a moment to put political views aside and think about the openness and diversity that has always strengthened not only our characters, but our countries as well.