In his speech from the White House Wednesday, a somber President Barack Obama attempted to strike a hopeful tone in the wake of the election of Republican Donald Trump, who campaigned on undoing much of what Obama achieved during his presidency. Speaking from the rose garden, Obama said he had spoke with president-elect Trump and congratulated him on his electoral college victory, and said he would meet with Trump later in the week to begin the process of transitioning to the new administration.
While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may have the hardest day, it’s possible that Obama has the more difficult task: presiding over a bitterly divided nation while ensuring the peaceful transition of power that many on the left feared a losing Trump would not respect. In the head-spinning emotional hangover of this election for Democrats, Obama did his best to offer in his remarks a bit of what he promised the country eight years ago when he first campaigned for president: hope. Although much of the nation is licking its wounds (something Obama encouraged), Obama's speech reminded many of how much there is to work for and look forward to and, yes, be proud of in the United States. Here are seven quotes from Obama’s speech that will give you hope.
When Obama Reminded Us That The Job Is Bigger Than Just One Man (Or Woman)
“One thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency and the vice presidency is bigger than any of us.”
When He Reinforced The Historic Nature Of Clinton’s Campaign:
“[Clinton’s] candidacy and nomination was historic, and sends a message to our daughters all across the country that they can achieve at the highest levels of politics.
When Obama Told Us He Was Heartened By Trump’s Better Intentions:
“We all want what’s best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr. Trump’s remarks last night, that’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly, and I was heartened by that. That’s what the country needs.”
When Obama Talked About All The Work His Administration Has Done And The Effect It's Had:
“That remarkable work has left the next president with a stronger better country than the one that existed eight years ago.”
When Obama Reminded Us That This Is Part Of Democracy:
“That’s the nature of democracy. It is hard. And sometimes contentious and noisy. It’s not always inspiring. But to the young people who got into politics for the first time, and may be disappointed by the results I just want you to know you have to stay encouraged. Don’t get cynical. Don’t ever think you can’t make a difference. As Secretary Clinton said this morning, ‘Fighting for what is right is worth it.’”
When He Reminded Us That This Election Is Over, But The Battle Of Ideas Isn’t:
“That’s the way politics works sometimes. We try really hard to persuade people that we’re right. And then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena, and we go at it. We try even harder the next time.”
When Obama Told Us That America Will Continue Forward:
“The point though is that we all go forward with good faith in our fellow citizens. Because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy. That’s how this country has moved forward for 240 years; that’s how we’ve pushed boundaries and promoted freedom around the world. That’s how we’ve expanded the rights of our founding to reach all of our citizens. Its how we have come this far, and that’s why I’m confident that this incredible journey that we’re on as Americans will go on.”
It may not be the news cycle that many of us were hoping for, but I for one am glad that we have President Obama to speak to us during this strange new time.