With only ten days remaining in his presidency, Barack Obama will take the stage tonight back home in Chicago and bid farewell to the American people. Among those present for the speech will be Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, two main supporters of Obama’s presidential campaigns and crucial movers in his administrations.
Obama has indicated that the speech will revolve around the theme of “Yes We Can,” which he rode into office in both 2008 and 2012. It will be an affirmation of his statement that “we have never let go of a belief that has guided us since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.”
In the seemingly endless stream of appointments and actions surrounding the formation of the Trump administration (many of which seem less focused on national unity and betterment), it’s understandable why Obama would want to focus on the theme of possibility and hope.
Obama — supported by many Jewish friends and funders, most notably Penny Pritzker, during his time as junior senator — will speak on the very day that Jeff Sessions underwent questioning about allegations of racist affiliations and other things that make him a highly problematic choice for Attorney General.
On a day when President-elect tapped a noted vaccine critic to head up a vaccine safety panel, it is clear that Obama faces a sizeable task to inspire hope that government can, and one day will, work to ensure the best possible future for the American people. Perhaps a return to his roots — geographically, communally, and ideologically — will help.
His first call to hope was audacious and successful, we shall see how this reprise fares.