Last night, while Americans were preparing to bid 2016 farewell, Barack Obama issued his final New Year’s Eve message as president. Rather than crow about what he has done for us, he demurely recognized the role regular citizens take helping to shape the country.
“It’s been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. And as I prepare to take on the even more important role of citizen, know that I will be there with you every step of the way to ensure that this country forever strives to live up to the incredible promise of our founding—that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve every chance to live out our dreams. And from the Obama family to yours—have a happy and blessed 2017.”
Notice how he didn’t even vaguely mention his enemies. He focused on hope and assuring us that even as he steps down as president, he will still be with us. That being a citizen is STILL important.
He began his video address by reminding us the condition the country was in before he took office:
“Just eight years ago, as I prepared to take office, our economy teetered on the brink of depression. Nearly 800,000 Americans were losing their jobs each month. In some communities, nearly one in five folks were out of work. Almost 180,000 troops were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden was still at large. And on challenges from health care to climate change, we’d been kicking the can down the road for way too long.”
However, eight years later, we have accomplished so much:
“We’ve turned recession into recovery. Our businesses have created 15.6 million new jobs since early 2010 – and we’ve put more people back to work than all other major advanced economies combined. A resurgent auto industry has added nearly 700,000 jobs, and is producing more cars than ever. Poverty is falling. Incomes are rising. In fact, last year, folks’ typical household income rose by $2,800, that’s the single biggest increase on record, and folks at the bottom and middle saw bigger gains than those at the top.
Twenty million more Americans know the financial security of health insurance. Our kids’ high school graduation rate is at an all-time high. We’ve brought 165,000 troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and took out Osama bin Laden.”
He emphasized that this was not an inevitable outcome but rather the result of “tough choices” and “the hard work and resilience” of Americans. He continued to emphasize the importance of working together in order to work towards goals like “helping more young people afford a higher education, to ending discrimination based on preexisting conditions, to tightening rules on Wall Street, to protecting this planet for our kids.”
Juxtapose that message of hope and accomplishment against the tweet Donald Trump sent on New Year’s Eve.
Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2016
Just putting the word “love” in a tweet doesn’t inherently make it a message of hope and acceptance. The fact that he felt the need to ramble on about his enemies (like media outlets who accurately report his statements) is telling. Keep in mind, Obama didn’t mention Senate Republicans refusing to consider ANY Supreme Court nominee proposed by him or the 60 attempts to repeal Obamacare.Not to mention, he has been threatened more than any president in American history. And this isn’t even including the barrage of racism the Obama’s regularly faced including their daughter, Malia, being called racist insults for deciding to go to Harvard.
If anyone should be complaining about enemies, it should be Obama. And yet, he calmly reassures the American people that he will help us continue to achieve and evolve as a nation. Hopefully, Obama’s message will win out and it will, indeed, be a happy new year for us all.