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Obama pushes values in farewell (thehindu)

“Let’s be vigilant, but not afraid,” President Barack Obama told fellow Americans in an emotional farewell speech in Chicago, reflecting on the state of democracy in the country, 10 days before handing over the baton to Donald Trump.

Striking an optimistic note for the U.S., still reeling from a divisive election campaign, the 44th President — the first African American in the country’s 240-year-old dem- ocracy — said: “The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody… But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion.”

He identified four areas to watch out for the preservation of democracy — ensuring economic opportunity for everyone when technology destroys jobs faster than trade did, guarding against prejudices, keeping faith in reason and maintaining “some common baseline of facts” and not taking democracy for granted.

Mr. Obama returned to the city of Chicago where he cut his teeth as a community volunteer in the early 1990s, before cruising on an inspirational political journey. His farewell speech combined humility and confidence, and showed his defining ability to carry both. For a leader who has never bothered to hide his sensitivity, this evening was no different, as he took out his handkerchief to wipe his moist eyes, while thanking his wife, Michelle.


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