While Former President Obama has been pretty coy about addressing President Trump since leaving The White House, on Friday (Sep. 7), he made quite the exception.
In order to encourage those to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, Obama took the gloves off and called out Trump by his name, highlighting his unpresidential and repugnant behavior.
“I’m here today because this is one of those pivotal moments when every one of us as citizens of the United States need to determine just who it is that we are, just what it is that we stand for,” Obama said.
In a speech over an hour long, he also made sure to illuminate why fear and hate is unAmerican and that we are teetering on dangerous times.
“Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people in order and security would be restored if it weren’t for those who don’t look like us, or don’t sound like us, or don’t pray like we do – that is an old playbook, as old as time,” Obama said.
Obama also stressed that Trump isn’t the main issue of what’s wrong with America.
“You happen to be coming of age” amid backlash to progress, Obama told the students.
“It did not start with Donald Trump, he is a symptom, not the cause. He is just capitalizing on resentment that politicians have been fanning for years. A fear, an anger that is rooted in our past but is also born in our enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.”
Obama also called out the Republican Party for turning an eye to what’s been happening in the Oval Office for the past two years.
“[The GOP’s] central organizing principles in foreign policy was the fight against communism, and now they’re cozying up to the former head of the KGB? What happened?”
He added: “That’s not how our democracy’s supposed to work. These people aren’t elected. They’re not accountable. They’re not doing us a service by actively promoting 90 percent of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House and then saying, ‘Don’t worry we’re preventing the other 10 percent.’ That’s not how things are supposed to work. This is not normal.”
Most importantly, one the main takeaways from the speech was that voting matters, and that the last election was a strong example of what happens when not enough people get to the ballot box.
In the end, Obama was clear about what we need to do in November if we want to change the course of this country.
“Do not complain. Don’t hashtag. Don’t get anxious. Don’t retreat. Don’t binge on whatever it is you’re binging on. Don’t lose yourself in ironic detachment. Don’t put your head in the sand. Don’t boo. Vote. Vote.”
Now that’s a word. Get out and vote y’all.