President Barack Hussein Obama delivered his final State of the Union address Tuesday evening. Using his trademarked style of eloquent speech, the President of the United States focused on national security, the economy and election process as well as encouraging Americans to embrace change. He spoke of the many changes the country has soared through before and reminded citizens that each time, America has overcome those fears and navigated the transition. Change is the doorway to growth.
While addressing a hostile Republican-dominated Congress, during a tumultuous presidential campaign, Obama summoned an affirmative vision of his administration and for the future of this great nation. He rebutted naysayers and critics, but led the way in acknowledging his own failure to unite the nation and transform the country’s bitter politics. Truth is, that strike was against him the day he was elected to lead America. The nation was divided as he made history, instantly becoming a beacon of hope for little dark-skinned children worldwide.
During the nearly 59 minute speech, Obama did not introduce any new policy proposals. Instead, he started a victory lap, in full legacy mode, that will brand his final stretch in office. With Americans on the lookout for his successor, the President cast his time in office as a time of positive change.
Obama described the country’s state as a time of extraordinary change. This change, according to the 44th President of the United States, is reshaping the way Americans live and work. He encouraged citizens to embrace the change because the pace will only accelerate. As the first African-American to hold this prestigious office, he reminded listeners that America has been through big changes before by successfully navigating wars and depression, movements to expand civil right, the influx of new immigrants and workers fighting for fair treatment.
Change is not new to this country. Americans have always found a way to make it work for them. Instead of perceiving it as peril, the victory comes when change is viewed as opportunity. Obama stated:
Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future, who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, who promised to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears. We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the dogmas of the quiet past. Instead we thought anew and acted anew.
Change is an external event that happens while transition is the psychological process that occurs in response to the change. More important than the idea of change, is the transition process. Transition occurs gradually, in phases, allowing its victims to slowly come to terms with a new reality. Instead of becoming angry, change should prompt a reconsideration of concepts, ideas and philosophies as partakers rethink their stance, re-evaluate posture and recommit strengths.
During the final State of the Union address, Obama said he believes in change. He understands that it produces growth and excitement in any organism. The President encouraged Americans to embrace change. It is time to abandon comfort zones and explore a new path. The country has soared through change in times past and what was true then can be true now. According to the leader of the free world, “The unique strength America has as a nation provides everything needed to ensure security and prosperity for nations to come.”
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Inside Gov: President Obama’s Final State of the Union, in Three Charts
NY Times: Transcript of Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address
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