As Barack Obama spoke before a rowdy crowd of supporters, he was interrupted often with screams of “I Love you Obama.” When a protester holding a “Pardon All of Us” sign, chants of “four more years” drowned out the shouts.
The US president sought to corral his crowd, listing the accomplishments of the last eight years ranging from health care to marriage equality, all while insisting that his work isn’t finished.
He recognized his successor Donald Trump, saying he was committed to a peaceful transition of power. But he warned that going forward Democrats shouldn’t fall in line with their commander-in-chief.
Obama, who consistently addressed race with varying degrees of force during his time in office, used his farewell to insist Americans work harder to understand each other’s struggles. After presiding over eight years that saw race relations enter a fraught new era, Obama demanded that differences be identified and reconciled.
“Brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce” in the years ahead, Obama proclaimed, calling for better rules that will help the children of immigrants succeed.
He warned that “laws alone won’t be enough” in resolving persistent differences between Americans.
“Hearts must change,” he said.
He called on African-Americans and minorities to view with empathy “the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.”
And he urged whites to regard the protests of minorities as a fight “not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.”
“Regardless of the station we occupy, we have to try harder,” Obama said. “To start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.”
Credit: CNN. Photo: People, Google