President Obama didn’t disappoint in delivering yet another great speech in a long line of great speeches. His farewell address in Chicago was unsurprisingly powerful, patriotic, and heartfelt. While short on the barnburner bombast that fueled his rise, it did not fail to satiate those who’ve been salivating these past two months from both a shortage of Barry Bams soliloquies and an overdose of Trump Twitter tirades.
“I am asking you to believe—not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can. Yes, we did.”
Disagree with him all you want on policy; Obama is one eloquent motherfucker. And wise, to boot.
Between challenging whites to acknowledge that “slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ’60s” (he of course meant the Eighteen-sixties for slavery) and conflating modern Middle Eastern and Mexican immigration with the rush of Western European immigration in the 1800s (but whatever; #same), the president managed to impart upon us an overflowing circular file of just plain, good ol’ advice:
- “Hearts must change.”
- “We have to pay attention.
- “And listen.”
- “Politics is a battle of ideas.”
- “We can and should argue about the best approach to solve the problem.”
- “We must guard against a weakening of values that make us who we are.”
- And the jaw-droopingly inspirational, “Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose.”
He reminded us of the importance of “basing our opinions on the evidence” rather than isolating ourselves in social media “bubbles” and absorbing only information that reinforces the views we want or wish to be true. And he’s right about that.
He thanked and congratulated Handsome Joe Biden, to resounding applause, for being so unwaveringly handsome these last eight years. He’s right about that, too.
And, ever the romantic, he gave a shout-out to Mrs. Obama, stating, “You made the White House a place that belongs to everyone.” And by “everyone” he meant President-Elect Donald Trump.
It was all very neat. I enjoyed myself, and I hope you did too.
Now, back to @DonaldTrump