It's been a while since I've watched Obama deliver a speech.
I didn't see his speech at the Democrats' convention last summer. I stopped watching his State of the Union addresses years ago. I didn't see his second inaugural address. I tuned out.
But, I decided to watch his farewell address.
Here's video of the full speech:
That echo was annoying. Strange that the sound was so weird.
In terms of content, naturally, supporters and fans consider the address to be Obama at his best, a soaring triumph.
I consider it to be Obama as usual, making some true and some false claims delivered as truth, both cloaked in flowery phrasing meant to impress. Sure, some of the things he said sounded nice, but there was a disconnect between his words and the truth. Of course, the Leftist utopian rhetoric was out in full force, as were the crowd-pleasing applause triggers that peppered the speech. And, of course, there were those thinly-veiled shots aimed at Trump and Republicans, as well as the statement that prompted the crowd to boo loudly, "In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy."
I didn't like the lecturing, especially given the hypocritical nature of his remarks. He can't talk unity when you look at his 8-year record of divisiveness and partisanship. The last time I heard such a load Meryl Streep was lecturing the country during the Golden Globes just a couple of days ago, singling out the rubes, the football and MMA fans.
Obama's yapping about the "retreat into our own bubbles" and complaining about the "selective sorting of the facts" was so disingenuous.
Obama was doing a lot of finger-pointing when he should have been looking in the mirror, and at least acknowledging that he was certainly a major player in stoking the problem.
He complained about "corrosive" political dialogue.
In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken... to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth.”
And so we have to preserve this truth with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.
America, we weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character aren’t even willing to enter into public service. So course with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are seen, not just as misguided, but as malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others.
Obama has been so corrosive. The things he said while campaigning for Hillary were beyond the pale. Was he admitting that he engaged in weakening those "sacred ties"? No, but he did.
I didn't like Obama's claim that "no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years." That statement rests on the definition of "foreign terrorist organization."
While he did go on to acknowledge "Boston and Orlando and San Bernardino and Fort Hood," he diminished the significance of those terrorist attacks by attributing that violence to "dangerous radicalization," as if killing in the name of an ideology requires a "foreign terrorist organization" to order the bloodshed to consider it a successful attack.
Either Obama genuinely doesn't understand terrorism or he is intentionally defining it in a manner that allows him to claim there have been no attacks "on our homeland these past eight years."
Whatever. Why bother picking apart his words? At 11:00 AM CT on January 20, the Obama era ends. It's history. The possibilities for the future, for change and improvement, for better days ahead, excite me.
It was very touching when Obama thanked Michelle and his daughters (Malia was there, but Sasha was not), expressing his pride and appreciation and love. I believed it. He was being sincere. I could relate to him in that moment.
I was reminded that what we share as Americans and human beings is much greater than any of the things that divide us.