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On Wednesday morning, Manila time, US President Barack Obama delivered his farewell address at the McCormick Place in Chicago. It was sincere, it was inspiring, and at times, it felt like he was speaking to/about us here in the Philippines.

In this day and age of divisiveness, hearing Obama talk about unity and respect for all is so refreshing. Below are lines from his speech that we Filipinos should also take to heart.


1. “Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.

2. “It’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.”

3. “Our youth, our drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention means that the future should be ours. But that potential will only be realized if our democracy works. Only if our politics better reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of party affiliation or particular interests help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

4. “Understand democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued, they quarreled, and eventually they compromised. They expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity. The idea that, for all our outward differences, we’re all in this together, that we rise or fall as one.”

5. “We can argue about how to best achieve these goals. But we can’t be complacent about the goals themselves.”

6. “Laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change.”

7. “Regardless of the station we occupy; we all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do.”

8. “For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods, or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions.”

9. “How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing? It’s not just dishonest, it’s selective sorting of the facts. It’s self-defeating because, as my mom used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.”

10. “Just as we as citizens must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.”

11. “Let’s be vigilant, but not afraid.”

12. “Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted.”

13. “When congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.”

14. “None of this happens on its own. All of this depends on our participation, on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power happens to be swinging.”

15. “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life.”

16. “If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing.”

17. “Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose.”

18. “I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.”

Header: Madel Crudo; Original photo:


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