By: Kendall Shanks
Barack Obama addressed the country on January 10 for his final time as president, reflecting on his eight years in office. The President started by thanking the American people for making him a better president and a better man, citing advancements and accomplishments of his two terms.
Under Obama’s administration the United States cut dependence on foreign oil by over fifty percent, while increasing the usage of renewable energy. Health insurance was expanded to cover 200 million more Americans. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
“If I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high,” the President said of the feats of the past eight years. “But that’s what we did. That’s what you did.”
People across the country that tuned in to watch President Obama’s farewell address shared the same basic sentiment: Obama upheld a peaceful transition of power, focusing on unity rather than party lines.
“Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen,” the President said.
Students on either end of the political spectrum have shared their admiration for Obama’s approach to leaving the White House and inviting in the Trump Administration.
“Obama followed through with his healthcare reform, with his immigration reform, his welfare, Medicaid, Medicare,” said senior Bri Barnett, a self-proclaimed conservative. “All of that. Overall I think he was really successful, really influential as a president.”
For senior Sascha Richey, the President Obama’s final speech gave her a glimmer of hope.
“He reminded me of how far we have come in eight years, and that put everything into perspective for me.”
Celebrities took to Twitter in response to the President’s speech. “Barack Obama simply says “My fellow Americans…’ and the crowd cheers, because those words will mean something different in 9 days…” tweeted documentarian Michael Moore.
Even celebrities that did not fully support the actions of the Obama Administration praised the President’s eloquence and drive.
President Obama wrapped up his final speech by going back to the roots of his second campaign: “Yes, we did. Yes, we can.”