Chicago: In his parting message to the nation, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his faith in the ability of all Americans to bring about national change, despite the trials that so often stood between him and his goals during his time in office.
With just ten days left in second term as president, Obama returned to Chicago to reflect on his unlikely path to the Oval Office and share his gratitude with the nation in front of a crowd of approximately 18,000 people.
In an emotional speech in which he thanked his family and declared his time as president the honour of his life, Mr Obama gently prodded the public to embrace his vision of progress while repudiating some of the policies that Trump promoted during his campaign for the White House.
“My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks,” he began. “But tonight, it’s my turn to say thanks.”
“Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back,” Obama said. “But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.”
In a concession that, for now, his brand of progressive politics is stalled in Washington, Obama admitted “for every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back.”
He implored his backers to be vigilant in protecting basic American values he warned could come under siege.
“Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear,” he said. “So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.”
And he warned against turning inward, telling Democrats that only by involving themselves in a real political discourse could they hope to renew the hopeful vision he brought to the White House eight years ago.