Obama Appeals for Unity, Warns of Threats to Democracy
In his final speech as president, Barack Obama said he is more hopeful now than when he was first elected.
He called for unity and for all Americans to stay involved in the country's democracy.
Obama went home to Chicago, Illinois to give his last speech as president. He leaves office on January 20.
Chicago was where his political career started more than 20 years ago. On Tuesday night, he spoke to thousands of supporters.
"Thank you! It's good to be home! Thank you!"
Obama took a look back on his eight years as president. He said the United States is a "better, stronger place" than when he took office in 2009.
People cheered as he listed some of the things his administration has done.
"If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history...if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran's nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11...if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens ... if I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high..."
Recognizing the current political divide in the country, Obama urged Americans to seek common ground with one another. He said that while "democracy does not require uniformity," it does "require a basic sense of solidarity."
Obama is the first African American to serve as president of the United States. After his election, there was talk of a "post-racial" America — one where race is not important. But Obama said race is a still a "potent and often divisive force" -- meaning that it is still a strong issue, and one that divides people.
The president warned that the nation faces threats to democracy, such as issues of economic and racial inequality.
Obama said the United States has to guard against weakening its values because of fear. One of the loudest cheers he received was when he said he rejects discrimination against Muslim Americans.
The president said he was more hopeful about the country now than when he took office. He called on Americans to stay involved in the democratic process.
"I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, We Can..."
It was a return to his 2008 campaign saying "Yes, we can."
Some observers say the president's comments sounded more like a campaign speech than a traditional farewell address.
Larry Sabato is a political scientist with the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. He told VOA the speech was different from others given by presidents before they left office.
"Certainly, it was untraditional, we've never had a farewell address like this. One can only imagine what George Washington, or for that matter Dwight Eisenhower, who had the most famous farewell address, would have thought of this manner of delivery. It was more like a political rally."
Sabato says Obama leaves office with a mixed record. He thinks the president achieved a fair amount, but he adds, "it's also true that we're more divided than ever." And he notes, most of the speech was about positions and actions that Donald Trump wants to amend or end in the coming years.
"When we think back on this speech, we're going to realize that most of what President Obama talked about is no longer reality..."
In less than two weeks, Trump will be sworn-in as president. And Barack Obama will return to being a private citizen.
Obama says he will stay involved as a citizen. He plans to stay in Washington while his youngest daughter finishes high school.
I'm Anne Ball.
1.think back 回想
When you think back on it, do you think that it was the right thing to do?
2.no longer 不再
After about three months, I was no longer addicted to nicotine.
3.private citizen 普通公民
The president attended the funersal as a private citizen.
4.political rally 政治集会
It's like going to a political rally and have people yell at you.
1.Obama said the United States has to guard against weakening its values because of fear.
guard against 预防；警戒
The armed forces were on high alert to guard against any retaliation.
He is constantly on guard against any threat of humiliation.
2.The president said he was more hopeful about the country now than when he took office.
took office 上台；就任
By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year.
My aim when I took office was to make sure our resources were used responsibly and effectively.
奥巴马回到伊利诺州的芝加哥发表总统告别演说 。奥巴马将于1月20日离任 。
20年多前，奥巴马于芝加哥开启自己的政治生涯 。周二晚间，他向数千名支持者发表了演说 。
奥巴马回顾了自己八年的执政成果 。他认为如今的美国比2009年他刚任职时要“更好更强大” 。
“如果8年前我说美国可以逆转经济大萧条，重振汽车行业，创历史最长就业增长期；如果我说美国能与古巴人民开创友谊新篇章，和平阻止伊朗发展核武器项目，揪出911恐怖袭击背后主谋；如果我说，美国能够迎来婚姻平等， 捍卫2000万民众的医保权利；如果当时我这样许诺，你们或许觉得我好高骛远 。”
鉴于现今美国内部政治分裂的现状，奥巴马呼吁美国人民寻求共同点 。他说，虽然“民主不需要一致”，但需要“最基本的团结” 。
奥巴马是美国历史上首位非裔美籍总统 。他当选后，“后种族”时代的言论开始出现，即在美国，种族并不是很重要 。但奥巴马表示，种族仍然是“强有力的分裂力量”，种族问题依旧是一项重大问题，会导致美国分裂 。
奥巴马表示，美国需要捍卫因恐惧而日渐衰弱的价值观 。当表明自己反对任何歧视美国穆斯林群体时，全场的欢呼声震耳欲聋 。
他表示，与刚刚执政时的美国相比，此时的美国更让他充满希望 。他呼吁美国人民继续参与到民主的进程中来 。
拉瑞·萨巴图（Larry Sabato）是弗吉尼亚大学政治中心的政治研究员 。他对VOA表示称，奥巴马的演讲不同于其他总统的告别演说 。
“很显然，这场演说颠覆传统，我们从未听过这样的告别演说 。回想一下乔治·华盛顿（George Washington）、德怀特·艾森豪威尔（Dwight Eisenhower）发表的最著名的告别演说就知道这场演说的方式是多么与众不同 。它更像是一场政治集会 。”
萨巴图认为，奥巴马的功过难以评说 。奥巴马的确实现了很多目标，然而“美国也确实比以往更加分裂” 。他指出，大部分演讲内容与未来川普想要修正或废止的立场或行动有关 。
离川普宣誓就职只有不到两周的时间 。而奥巴马将回归平民身份 。
但奥巴马表示，即便是一名普通公民，他也会继续参与政治 。他计划在小女儿念完高中后再离开华盛顿 。