Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Last Message of Hope

President Obama leaves office far more popular and admired than the asshole who takes power Friday in one of the darkest hours in American political history.  So even at the last moment he knows that people around the world look to him for some guidance.

In his second but really this time last final press conference, he spoke about important policies already getting muddled (sanctions against Russia are specifically for invading Ukraine and should be withdrawn when they withdraw) and a dangerous international situation he hadn't talked about recently, the very volatile Middle East as Israel and Palestinians move away from the only solution, the two state solution.

He also drew some lines in the sand on deporting young people whose parents brought them to the US illegally as children, and on other human and political rights issues.  He spoke forcefully on the continuity from Jim Crow in the South to today's attempts to restrict voting rights.

Asked about his daughter's reactions to the election results, he said how proud he was of them, that they were disappointed but:

"...what we've also tried to teach them is resilience, and we've tried to teach them hope, and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world. And so you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off, and you get back to work. And that tended to be their attitude."

Later:  "And I expect that's what they're going to do. They do not -- they don't mope. And what I really am proud of them -- what makes me proudest about them is that they also don't get cynical about it."

Which led him to again express his own attitude.  So he ended his interaction with the press as President with these words:

I've been asked -- I've had some off-the-record conversations with some journalists where they said, okay, you seem like you're okay, but really, really, what are you thinking? (Laughter.) And I've said, no, what I'm saying really is what I think. I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen, I think there's evil in the world, but I think that at the end of the day, if we work hard, and if we're true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time. That's what this presidency has tried to be about.

 And I see that in the young people I've worked with. I couldn't be prouder of them. And so this is not just a matter of "No Drama Obama" -- this is what I really believe. It is true that behind closed doors I curse more than I do publicly. (Laughter.) And sometimes I get mad and frustrated, like everybody else does. But at my core, I think we're going to be okay. We just have to fight for it. We have to work for it, and not take it for granted. And I know that you will help us do that.

Thank you very much, press corps. Good luck.

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