President Barack Obama: Farewell to the Man Who Shattered the Boundaries of America

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Akshita Vora and Taylor Smith

On January 10, 2017, back in Chicago where he started his campaign, our President delivered his farewell address to the nation. A speech, not to mention a presidency, that not a single one of us is soon to forget. A man with great courage and strength who introduced a lot of firsts to the country we call home. From passing healthcare reform, eliminating Bin Laden, and ending the war in Iraq, to legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states and recognizing the impact of climate change and working towards a solution; Obama made every person who has ever been told they were different, feel welcome, safe and confident in their ability to make change.

As he began his farewell address, he conducted himself with the grace and poise that he is known for. Humbling not only the democracy, but the American people as a whole. Immediately giving the people who have supported him the credit for his success, saying “… every day, I have learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.” His speech was heart-wrenching but inspirational and there wasn’t a single member of the audience who wasn’t overcome with emotion. The fear of the future eating at a great number of us, Obama, yet again, was able to provide us with a sense of peace and a guarantee of change to come. Ending the night by giving the most powerful message of “I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.” he reaffirmed that the true power lies within the hands of the people, and that if we want to, we can achieve the impossible.

Our student body, very divided on election day, many of us still mourning and terrified of the future ahead of us, we took to the hallways a week after the speech was delivered. When asked how she would describe his presidency in a word, Cassidy Potts (12) said, “Surreal. His message of tolerance and acceptance was the most powerful thing about him because we are going to need that strength in coming years.” Riley Van Cleve (9) told us what she considered the most powerful part of Obama’s eight year term was, and she answered by saying, “The fact that a minority was put in such a position of power and was able to show so much progress for our country is so amazing.” A student body full of different views and opinions, but also very full of love, would make our President proud in the change we are seeking to make for the coming America.

The 2016 election and the coming inauguration of Donald J. Trump is an emotional and terrifying time for some of us, and with that in mind, always remember what we believe in as a nation and as one, true human heart. We talked to Mr. Jake Harvey, who sponsors We The People at Hamilton and is very passionate about politics, and asked him what he thought the most important part of Obama’s speech was, and after finding the line, Mr. Harvey stated, “People fail to realize we are our government.” Even after the turmoil of this election and all of the emotions it has brought to the surface, we have made immense progress in the past eight years that is only going to keep growing. Remember to get involved everywhere you can. Stand up. Speak out. Protest. Find something you care about and immerse yourself in it. Make everyone feel welcome no matter where you go. As the millennial generation, let’s make the 44th President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, proud.