Chicago: The most dynamic President of the nation, Barack Obama while addressing in his farewell speech on Tuesday emotionally obligated the nation as a whole. His delivery was forceful for most of his speech, but by the end he was wiping away tears as the crowd embraced him one last time.
Obama’s valedictory speech in his hometown of Chicago was a public meditation on the trials and triumphs, promises kept and promises broken that made up his eight years in the White House. Inspired by America’s boundless capacity for reinvention, he declared that ‘The future should be ours.’
During his speech he made no mention of Republican Donald Trump, who will replace him in just 10 days. Earlier, as the crowd of thousands chanted, ‘Four more years’, he simply smiled and said, ‘I can’t do that.’
Even as Obama said farewell to the nation in a televised speech of just under an hour the anxiety felt by many Americans about the future was palpable, and not only in the Chicago convention center where he stood in front of a giant presidential seal.
Steeped in nostalgia, Obama’s return to Chicago was less a triumphant homecoming and more a bittersweet reunion bringing together Obama loyalists and loyal staffers, many of whom have long since left Obama’s service, moved on to new careers and started families. They came from all across the country.
After returning to Washington, Obama will have less than two weeks before he accompanies Trump in the presidential limousine to the Capitol for the new president’s swearing-in. After nearly a decade in the spotlight, Obama will become a private citizen, an elder statesman at 55. He plans to take some time off, write a book and immerse himself in a Democratic redistricting campaign.