"Yes We Can. Yes We Did."
And so it was. With as much class, poise, and eloquence as when he entered the national stage, but with the added benefit of eight years experience in our nation's highest office, President Barack Hussein Obama delivered his farewell address last night in Chicago for a hometown crowd of approximately 18,000, and for the annals of history. Obama's always known how to deliver a speech, and this one was heavy on the feels.
It wasn't pure emotion though. The President indulged in the obligatory tenure recap, working through the highs and lows of his administration, turning his legacy on race and the economy into a closing argument for optimism in the face of adversity, for civic engagement, and for multicultural neoliberalism. Obama ends his tenure with high approval ratings but is politically humbled by this past election, and so he spoke to the leaders of tomorrow, saying the way to progress was through personal participation and suggesting that, instead of arguing with people on the internet, we go and speak with some in real life.
“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or on college campuses or places of worship or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions,” Obama said. “Increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.” After a political season colored by the unprecedented impact of internet echo chambers and "fake news," these words were resonant and timely.
Obama's two terms were a remarkable and groundbreaking time in American political history, so his ability to have raised an exemplary family by any measure is a cause worth celebrating on its own. And last night's speech created space for the nation to admire that familial bond, as the President teared up while directly addressing FLOTUS, and told his daughters "Of all that I have done, I am most proud to be your dad."
And there you have the title of this article.
On January 20, President Obama will cede the office to President-Elect Trump. This gives you nine days to rap "My President Is Black" like you really mean it.