Washington: In his final radio and internet address, Barack Obama has thanked his countrymen for making him a better President and a better man and said that during his eight-year tenure he saw the “goodness, resilience and hope” of the American people.
“Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant military outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man,” Obama said.
He said it had been the honour of his life to serve the American people as President.
“Eight years later, I am even more optimistic about our country’s promise. And I look forward to working along your side, as a citizen, for all my days that remain,” he said.
“Over the course of these eight years, I have seen the goodness, the resilience, and the hope of the American people. I’ve seen neighbours looking out for each other as we rescued our economy from the worst crisis of our lifetimes,” he said.
“I’ve hugged cancer survivors who finally know the security of affordable health care. I’ve seen communities like Joplin rebuild from disaster, and cities like Boston show the world that no terrorist will ever break the American spirit,” he added.
Obama in his recent farewell speech in Chicago warned Americans of the threats to democracy from growing racism, inequality and discrimination.
“I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve mourned with grieving families searching for answers, and found grace in a Charleston church. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralysed man regain his sense of touch, and our wounded warriors walk again,” he said.
“That’s what’s possible when we come together in the hard, slow, sometimes frustrating, but always vital work of self-government. But we can’t take our democracy for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the work of citizenship,” Obama said.
“Not just when there’s an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organising. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, then grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself,” he said.
Obama said success depended on people’s participation, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.
“It falls on each of us to be guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen,” Obama said.