WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>President Obama Farewell Speech

President Obama Farewell Speech

Jan 11, 2017|

On January 10, President Barack Obama held his farewell address in his hometown of Chicago.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Okay. Okay. OK. Okay. I okay. Okay. Okay. We'll. I. President Obama tries to quiet the crowd in Chicago. That will not let me begin his farewell address to the nation you're listening to my coverage through an ABC news. You can tell all. You can you can tell. Yeah. It does not lose following instructions. Yeah. Okay. It's. And. And I have been so touched. All the well wishes that we've received over the past few weeks. But. It. Tonight it's my turn things. The. Or what has good reason at all. My conversations where you the American people. The schools. Arms. On factory floors. The islanders. On distant military outposts. Those conversations or why but it kept me honest. And can inspire. That goal. And every day I ever learn from here. Maybe a better price cut. And made about a man. So I first came to Chicago when I was in mind that one. And I was still trying to figure out who I was. Still searching for purpose in my life. It was the neighborhood. Not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of close steel mills. It was on the streets where I witnessed. The power play. And the quiet dignity of working people on the basis trouble. And wall. And then do. I. And. This is where are the chain is only half. Ordinary people get the ball and getting cage. And they come together to demand. After eight years as your president I still believe that. Just my boy. It's the harder. All our American idea. Are bold experiment in self government. The conviction that we are all created. In doubt by our creator was certain unalienable rights. Among them life. Liberty. And the pursuit of that. It's the insistence that these rights. While self evident. I've never been so that's cute. That we. The people. Through the instrument up our democracy. Can form a more perfect June. A radical idea. The great gift. And our founders gave to us. The freedom to chase our individual graves to a sweat and oil. Imagination. Today the imperative to us laugh together as well. To achieve a common good or greater good. For 240 years. Our nation's call to citizenship. Giving more. And purpose to each new generation. That's what like patriots to choose public over to Europe. Pioneers to track where. It's a brave bad makeshift road to read here. What pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans but the real were there but what bush when. Yeah. How it's. Organized. Like GI's gave their lives of Omaha being. We're Jim. Iraq. And Afghanistan. And why men and women from Selma. To Stonewall work to get yours as well. That's what we need what we say Americans suffer. Our nation's them call us from the start but what we have shown the capacity to change. And make life better. For those who fall. Yes our progress has been. I eat. The word democracy has always been hard it's always been contentious. Sometimes it's been blooded. Religions such forward. And often fields. We take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion. Constantly widening of I found in three. To embrace all but not just. I told you wait years ago. That America will worsen the recession. Reboot our auto industry. And unleash the longest stretch of job creation and this. And open up the new chapter with the Cuban team. Shut down Iran's nuclear weapons program up. The mastermind. It. It's. Mirrored that it won't let me. OK okay. Another ten million home. Okay. Do. You. Minus the as sleds were said Lowell who want. That's what we did it. It's good. You would change. Answer people's hopes. And because of you. Almost every measure. America is a better stronger place. That was when we aren't. In ten what is. The world will witness a hallmark of our democracy. But peaceful transfer of power. From one freely elected president to the next. I committed. The president elect from my administration would insure the smoothest possible transition. Just as President Bush. Implement. Because. It's up to all of us. To make sure our government. Can help us meet the many challenges we still thinks. We have what we need to do so. We have everything we can meet those challenges after all we remain well it's most powerful. The most respected nation. Our youth. Our drive. Our diversity and ultimate. Are boundless capacity. Wreaths and invention. He means that the future should be our. But that potential won't only be realized. If our democracy works. Only if our politics. Better reflects the decency. Of our people. Okay. Regardless of party affiliation or particular interests. Help restore the sense of common purpose. We Obey me right now. That's why don't focus on tonight. The state of our democracy. Understand. Democracy does not require uniform time. At founders argue this world. Eventually they compromise. Lets us do so. But they've room. At the mosque has. Look and. A basic sense of solidarity and the idea that all our outward differences. We're all in this together. Yeah that we rise or fall as one. There have been moments throughout our history. That threatens. All of in the beginning of this century has been one of those times. The shrinking world's. Growing inequality. Demographic change and the Specter of terrorism these horses haven't just test of our security. And prosperity here. But are testing our democracy as well. How we meet. These challenges toward democracy. Will determine our ability to educate our kids. And create good jobs and protect our homeland. In other words it will determine our future. To begin what our democracy won't work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. And the good news is that today the economy's growing again. Wages in comes home values. And retirement accounts are all rising debt. Poverty is falling again. The wealthier then the finish. Share of taxes. And the stock market shattered records. Unemployment is near its annual. The uninsured rate has never ever been blown. Okay. Do. You. Arriving at the slowest rate in fifty years. And I mean if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better. And improvements we've made our healthcare system that covers as many. People have less cost. Public. Okay. To score points and take credit. But to make people's lives better. For all the real progress we've made. We know it's not enough. Our economy doesn't work as well or role as I ask one if you prosper at the expense of the growing middle class. And letters for folks wanna get in the middle class. That's an economic argument but stark and equality is also local roll into our democratic. Idea. All the top 1% has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income. Too many of our friends. In inner city and in rural counties. Have been left behind. The lid off back to work. The waitress or health care worker who's barely getting by and struggling to pay the bills. Convinced that the game six against. The government only serves the interests of the powerful that's a Russ you for more cynicism. And polarization are Paul's. They are no quick fixes to this long term trend. I agree art trade should be an error and not just for it. But the next wave of economic dislocations won't come from overseas. It won't come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle class jobs obsolete. And so we're gonna have to forge a new social compact. To guarantee all our kids education and to give workers. How did unionize for better way. Update this post conflict and. And make more reforms of the tax codes or corporations and individuals who read the most from this new economy don't. Aboard their obligations to the country that's made their very success possible. We can argue. About how to best achieve these goals. But we can't be complacent. About the goals themselves. If we don't create opportunity for all the right. The disaffection and division that all of our progress will only sharper. In years ago. There's a second threat to our democracy. And this one is as old as our nation itself. In my election there was talk of a post racial America. And such a vision. However well intended. Was never realistic. Race remains a potent. And often do this of course in our society. I've lived long enough to know it race relations are better than the work ten or twenty or thirty years ago no matter what some folks I. You'd consider. It in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum. Work out where we need to be. And all of us have more work today. Every. Economic issues this claim they struggle between. Hardworking white middle class and an undeserving. Minority. Then. Workers of all shaves. Are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy would drop further into the private on. And you. Nothing to invest in the children of immigrants just because they don't look like guns. We will diminished the prospects. Of our own children because both brown kids will look at the larger and larger share of our economy doesn't have to you zero sum game. Last incomes rose for all races. All age groups. For men and or when it. Wimbledon there is about race going forward. We need to uphold laws against discrimination in hiring. And then have. But laws alone won't be enough. Parts must change. It won't change overnight and social attitudes. Oftentimes to generations to change but it's our democracy is to work. The wage should in this increasingly diverse nation. Each one of us. To try to be advised. A break character in American fiction Atticus Finch. Who. I understand the person until you consider things from his point of I tell you climb into his skin and walk around them. The blacks and other minority groups that means time all of them very real struggles for justice. The challenges of a lot of people in this country that is. Not only the refugee. With the immigrant or the rule the world or the transgender Americans but also the middle aged white guy. Whom from the outside. May seem like he's got advantages but. In his world up ended by economic and cultural and technological change. We have to pay attention. And let's. A white Americans that means acknowledging bad. The effects of slavery and Jim Crow and only managed in the this content and not just engaging in reverse racism car. Practicing political correctness. When they waved peaceful protest the man in special treatment but equal treatment that are bound hum. More Americans and reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today. We're at almost word for word about the Irish. Italians. And poles. Who had worked go to Florida. Fundamental character of America. Turned American wasn't weakened by the presence of these newcomers. These newcomers embrace this nation's reach. And this nation was born. So. Regardless. Of the station that we occupy. We all have to try harder. We all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens. Loves this country just as much as we do. That they value hardworking family just like we do. That their children are just curious and hopeful and worthy of love it. As our own. And that's not easy to do. Too many of us. It's become safer to retreat into our own bubbles. Whether in our neighborhoods. Or on college campuses. Or places of worship. Or specially our social media please. Surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. In the was of Macon partisanship. Increasing economic and regional its reputation. Women are more media into a channel for every taste. All of us. Make this great sorting seem natural. Even inevitable. And increasingly we become so secure in our bubbles. It started acting on information whether it's true or not that bits are and instead of basing our opinions. On the evidence that thought that. It's supposed threat to our markers. But politics is a battle of my views. That's our democracy was designed. In the course of a healthy debate we prioritize different goals and the different means of reaching. Without some common base line of facts. Without a willingness to admit new information. And can mean that your opponent. Might be making a fair point. And the science and reason matter. Then work. And isn't that part of what. Often makes. Politics dispiriting. How could elected officials raves about deficits when we proposed to spend money on. Preschool for kids but not what we're cutting taxes for corporations. It's been at the lapses in home party accounts when the other party does things. Not just dishonest. Elective sort of defense. Off to think. Because it is my mom used to tell me. Reality hasn't we're catching up with. The challenge of climate change. In just eight years we have our dependence on foreign oil. We've doubled our renewable energy we've led the world to an agreement that the promises. I. Without bolder action. Our children won't have time to debate the existence of climate change and help me busy dealing with the effects. More environmental disasters more economic disruptions waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary. We we can't ensure that argue about the best approach to solve the problem. Let's just simply deny the problem. Not only the traders future generations. It betrays the essential spirit. Of this company the essential spirit of innovation. And practical problems solving that guided our founder. The spirit born of the enlightenment. That made us economic powerhouse. They're the top flight at kitty hawk and kick him out. Yours disease. And put a computer in every pot. It's that you're. A faith in reason. And enterprise. And the primacy of right over my. That allowed us to resist the lure of bashes. And cheer. During the Great Depression. That allowed us to build a post World War II order with other democracies. In order based not just on military power or. National affiliations but built on principles. Of the rule of ball. Human rights. Freedom of religion and speech and assembly an independent press. That order is now being challenged. First by violent fanatics. Who claim to speak for as long. More recently by autocrat and foreign capitals. Who seek free markets and open democracies and civil society itself. As a threat to their problem. Apparel each poses to our democracy. As more far reaching. A car bomb or missile. Present but your change. The fear people. Who look speaker pray differently. The contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable. And intolerance of dissent. And recall. Believes that groups or or god or the bomb. Or the propaganda machine as the ultimate arbiter of what's true and what's right. Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform. Because of our intelligence officers and law enforcement and diplomats who support our troops. Successfully planned and executed. In the attack on our homeland these past eight years. Boston. Orlando. And amber are being. And Fort Hood. Remind us how dangerous radicalization can be. Our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant about. We have taken out tens of thousands of terrorists including a lot. Global coalition created against arsenal is taken out releases. Take it away about half their territory. Neitzel will be destroyed and no one who threatens America will ever be. And all this soon. Or have served as has been the honor of my liked them to be your commander in chief we all and. Protecting our way of life that's not just the job of our military. Democracy can bottle. When he gives industry. So just as we seen as the must remain vigilant against external aggression. We must guard against a weakening of the values that make whom we are. That's why for the past six years. I've worked to put the fight against terrorism. On a former legal put it that's why we ended sort of worked a close gitmo. Reformed our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That's why I reject. Discrimination against Muslim Americans. I. I. That's why we cannot withdraw chrome. Big global likes. To expand democracy and human rights and women's rights and LG BTV rights. No matter how imperfect. No matter how all expedient. Ignoring. Such values may seen. That's part of defending America. For the fight against extremism. And intolerance. And sectarianism. And chauvinism. Arba. The nationalist Gresham. If this goal our freedom and respect. For the rule of law ranks around the world. The likelihood of war within and between nations increases. And our own freedoms will eventually be threatened. So let's be vigilant but not afraid. High school we'll try to kill. In the simply. But they cannot defeat America unless we go to our constitution and our principles and fight. Rivals like Russia or China cannot match or influence around the world. On last. We give up what we stand for. And turn ourselves. In the just another big country the bully smaller neighbors. Which brings me to my final point. Our democracy. Our democracy is threatened. Whenever we take a program. All of it. Regardless of party. Should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When boating race. In America some of the lowest among advanced democracies we should be making it easier not harder to vote. I. We should reduce the growth of the influence of money in our politics. And insist on the front of them. Transparency. And ethics in public. When congress is dysfunctional. We draw our congressional districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid. None of this happens on its own. All of this depends. On our participation. On each must accepting. The responsibility. Of citizenship. Regardless of which way. The pendulum of power happens to this when. Our constitution. Is a remarkable. Beautiful gift. But it's finally. Just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We the people. That power. We have our participation. And with the forces of and the alliances. Whether or not stand up broccoli. Whether or not we respect him and forced the rule of law. Until just. Americans know fragile thing but big gains on our long journey to freedom. Not a short. In his own farewell address. George Washington wrote that self government is the underpinning of our safety. Prosperity and liberty. From different causes. And from different quarters. Much pains will be take get to weaken in your minds the conviction of this true. And all. We have to reserve troops with jealous anxiety. That we should reject the first dawning up every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest. Ports and people this sacred tie. That make up one. What we weaken those times. When we allow our political dialogue to become so corals. The people of good character. In the white matter in the public service. So course with rank. The Americans with whom we disagree. We're seen not just as misguided effort as malevolent. We we can those times when we define some of us as more American than others. When we write off the whole system. And when we. Sit back. And blame the leaders realize. Without examining our own role in electing a Alston each of us to be. Those anxious. Jealous guardians. Of our democracy. Embraced the joy this task we didn't get. To continually. I improved this great nation of ours. Because for all of our outward differences. We in fact. All share the same problem. The most important. Officers democracy. That is. So you say. That's. What our democracy demands. In the June. Not just when there's little action. Not just when your own narrow interests is at stake. But over the full span of a lifetime. If you're tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet. Try talking would one of them in real life. It's opened its excellent. Always look your shoes and organized. And Palin and Biden you're elected officials. Rabbits clip board gets some signatures and run for office yourself. I've been. Bad. Sometimes you'll win. Sometimes you'll loose. Presuming. A reservoir goodness and other people back in your risks. And there'll be times when the process will disappoint. But for most of us fortunate enough to have been part of this war and it up close let me tell you. And energized and inspired. And more often than not were based in America. And in Americans will be confirmed. Mike sure has been. Over the course of will be very yeah. I think in the hopeful faces are young graduates. And our newest military officers. I am born and where. Grieving families. Searching for answers. And found rates. In Charleston church. I've seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch. I've seen wounded warriors. Move. At points were given up for dead walk again. In our doctors and volunteers rebuild after reports and stop pandemic in their tracks. I've seen the youngest of children. Remind us through their actions and through their generosity. Of our obligations to care for refugees. Or work for peace. And above all to look out. For each other. That faith that I placed all those years ago not far from here. In the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change. I think there's been rewarded in ways I could not possibly match. And I hope your faith has to. Some are here tonight or watching at home. There are rules in 2004. And 2008. But you still can't believe we pulled this whole thing off. And it's up you're not the only. Only ones. This loan. We're. I. We'll bond Robinson. Moral of the sales and for the fans for the past 45 years you have not only been. My wife and mother of my children who have been my best friend. You took on a roll you've been asked for. And you made it bureau. Would grace and with grit. What's the and they. Okay. Okay. Amid the white house of players who belongs to everybody. Generations sets his sights higher because it has view as they role model. Look they. And you'll live the country club. Malia. And Sasha. Under the strangest of circumstances. You have you come to amazing young women. You're Smart and you are beautiful but more importantly you are kinda looked thoughtful and you are full of passion. More of the burden. Of years in the spotlight. So easily. Of all that I've done in my life. I'm most proud to be your day. Yeah. We'll. Decision I've made as a nominee and one of the best. And. Great fight broke. We'll because of the bargain I gave him rather. We love you and Jill like family and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our lives. In my. Remarkable thing. For eight years and through some of you a whole lot more. I've drawn from your energy. And every day try to reflect back what huge display. Part. And character. And idealism. I'm watching brought. Get married have kids. Start incredible. Journey as it is your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating you never let Washington. Get the better. You've guarded against citizens. The only thing that makes me prouder that all the good that we've done. Is the thought all the amazing things that you're gonna cheat from here. And hey look you. Every organizer who moved to him unfamiliar town. Every family who welcomed them in. Every volunteer who knocked on doors every young person. You can ask. Bullock for the first time. A hard worker. The best supporters and organizers anybody could ever hope for. More optimistic about. This country them. And we started. Because I'm all our work not only helped. So many Americans to have inspired. So many Americans especially so many young people out there. To believe that you can make a dent. Can hitch her wagon to something bigger than yourself. This generation coming up on all this altruistic created. Patriotic. I've seen. In every corner of the country. You believe in a fair and just an inclusive America. My fellow Americans. It has been the honor of my life to serve. I won't stop. And that's okay. As they. All. Among many good. Hello whether you are young. Or whether you're young at heart. I do have one file ask you as a present. The same thing I ask you when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change but in yours. I'm asking you hold fast to that they've written into our founding documents. And I do list. Slaves and abolitionist. As spirit song by immigrants and homesteaders and those who march for justice. The cream. Reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon. A created the core of every American whose story is not yet written. We. It's.