US president Barack Obama waved a goodbye to the nation delivering his farewell speech in Chicago on Tuesday.
His address was emotional mirroring his policies and approaches he had adopted during his presidency that began in 2008. He recollected his journey that saw setbacks and successes, his experiences and shared his optimisms as well as anxieties about the future of the country. Obama who led the world’s most powerful nation twice, made many moves that created allies as well as adversaries both inside the country and at the international level. Of the several promises delivered, many were fulfilled while others weren’t. With all said and done, he still feels like standing at the beginning position after analyzing his presidency of eight years. When he won in 2008, Obama had said that his victory was not a change but a path to change. He stepped down in 2017 after being the president twice with almost the same set of experiences. Obama said during his speech, that it wasn’t the government but the citizens who were capable of carrying the democracy forward and bringing about a national change. While he was proud over his achievements and the changes he brought about in the country as president, he shared his regret for failing to touch the ‘rot’ that the country has been traditionally holding on to. He also shared his concern over the future of the country in the hands of the president elect Donald Trump.
Obama’s initial days disappointed the people who voted for change. The economy hit the worst slump in 80 years. But after eight years, when he steps down, 113 lakh employment opportunities were newly created bringing down the rate of unemployment from 10 per cent to 4.7 per cent. His ‘Obama Care’ health insurance scheme gave immense relief to thousands. The present scenario of America going backwards in its democratic and humanitarian values which it proudly boasts of dims the shine of these accomplishments. However, he admits that he was still lagging behind even while he strides forward. When Obama became the first black president of the US in 2008, it was expected to put an end to racism. About hundreds of African Americans including ten prominent persons were killed in the scuffle between the police force and racist fanatics like the activists of Black Lives Matter movement in 2016. The discrimination faced by the blacks is much worse than ever before.
A senator unknown to the administrative and military levels that donned the mask of racism, then assumed office. Obama pointed out that the bigotry of the whites towards the blacks, Muslims and migrants wasn’t seeing an end. In the present circumstance of significant changes in the population ratio, a situation where the apprehensions of the whites are transformed into the miseries of the blacks and racial minorities should be changed. He stressed on the need to uphold laws against discrimination on the basis of colour and race saying that it could be changed not only by laws but by change of hearts. He reminds the Americans that the minorities raise their voice not for special privileges but for equality of opportunities promised by the forefathers. It is the basic lesson America should learn as they have always been vocal about the values of Democracy. A nation that has led its forces to the other countries to ‘implement’ a democratic system there should know that democracy is not arbitrary; it is not one-sided, it’s about being in harmony and unanimity with others.
However, these advices are in fact stinging back at Obama. The countries that were the victims of American offensive were optimistic of Obama, who succeeded George W Bush, the ‘master’ of invasion. He revived people’s hope in him with his initial announcements of closing down Guantanamo Jail, speeding up the process of withdrawal of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and with his visit to Cairo, with a declared slogan of changing the US approach towards the Arab-Muslim countries. But, as per the data, the Obama administration has fired 26,171 bombs in seven countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan in 2016 alone. Although the US gained some internal benefits by putting an end to the enmity with Cuba and Iraq, it has led to the loss of credibility before the rest of the world. Other than becoming a savour of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and abstaining from a UN Security Council resolution that prohibited illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine thereby favouring it, Obama too wasn’t free from the clutches of nation’s ‘traditional maladies’. He just clarified to what extent those afflictions has gripped America. Obama’s words stirs up fear as the mentally deficient imbeciles who accessorize themselves with these maladies get ready to take up power.