President Barack Obama is scheduled to give a farewell address to the American people on January 10 from his adopted hometown of Chicago. A farewell address by a sitting president, although not unheard of, is not necessarily a standard outgoing presidential act. We assume what has given rise to this need is the, uh, … shall we say, “unusual” nature of the new president-elect. President Obama himself says his speech is following in the tradition set by George Washington in 1796. That’s a long way to go back for a precedent.
His goal, as he states in the email announcing the address, is ” … a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.”
Later in the same email, President Obama noted that, as a country, we have faced challenges together “… because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better,” he said. “So, I hope you’ll join me one last time. Because, for me, it’s always been about you.”
Some of us have never held the same belief as President Obama of a shared conviction on changing the country. Many, including the Founding Fathers, did not want change and attempted to enshrine the status quo of African enslavement and voting rights for white male property owners. This is echoed still today in Trump’s victory and “Make America Great Again” slogan. Obama has failed to realize that people have different views on what a change for the better means.
Based on what we expect from the farewell address, we thought we would have a little fun and offer a helpful theme for Obama’s speech, one of apologizing to the Black community for a lot of hope but not much substance. The following is our version of Obama’s farewell address:
My fellow Americans, especially the Black ones [long pause],
I apologize for supporting Hillary Clinton. I supported her so blindly that it led to the national disaster that Donald Trump will become. Hillary and her husband’s history of pandering in anti-Black rhetoric and policy, through the 1994 crime bill, should have given me pause before supporting her. The crime bill allocated $10 billion to prison construction and ushered in a new wave of mass incarceration at both a federal and state level that disproportionately impacted Black people because of the changes in drug sentencing. After Bill Clinton left office, the U.S. had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The federal and state prison percentage increased by almost 60 percent while he was president. During that time, Hilary helped sell this law to the public by using racial code words, like calling young black men “super predators.” This was obvious during the 2008 nomination process when Hilary was behind in delegates and began talking about the support she had among “hard-working white Americans.”