Faces in the crowd of the Obama farewell
People said their goodbyes to the presidency of Barack Obama
Michelle Obama said it best when describing how she and President Barack Obama responded to the insults and disrespect they encountered over the past eight years.
“When they go low, we go high,” she told graduates at Jackson State University last spring, then later the entire nation at last summer’s Democratic National Convention.
That instinct to take the high road was in full effect during the president’s farewell address to the nation Tuesday night. Faced with the impending presidency of Donald Trump, who spent years fanning ridiculous questions about whether Obama was a natural-born American, and whose angry campaign stood as repudiation to many of Obama’s signature achievements and much of his legacy, the president responded with a gracious history lesson.
“For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. 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,” Obama told a national television audience and the thousands of cheering supporters who packed McCormick Place, a huge convention center in his hometown of Chicago.
When the crowd chanted “four more years,” Obama demurred, choosing to applaud the approaching transfer of presidential power.
“In 10 days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next,” he said. “I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.”
Read more of Michael Fletcher’s ‘Still optimistic, Obama bids farewell in Chicago’
For more of Jon Lowenstein’s work check out his work here.
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