President Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, delivered his seventh and final State of the Union address before the nation, trying to sell optimism to a nervous and fractured nation that seems unsure of its footing as it approaches another chapter in its history.
Legendary Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) commented on the president’s speech. Take a look at what he had to say:
“Tonight President Obama appealed to the very best in the American people. He suggested we all have a responsibility, as members of Congress and as participants in our democracy, to come together to serve the greatest and highest good. He encouraged us to us to lay aside whatever divides us and find ways to move forward on common ground , knowing that doing so benefits all of us, including those who depend on our leadership around the world.
“He spoke with great faith about the dignity of the countless and nameless Americans who are the lifeblood of our democracy. It is those ordinary men, women and children who are the true keepers of the American flame. He reminded us that our vision of a fair and just society can only be realized when we participate as citizens. He charged us to vote, to speak out and speak up as we face the challenges that lay ahead.
“He appealed to us to open up the political process and let everyone come in. We cannot fear a change that is inevitable. We must embrace the calling of the 21st century. He encouraged us to take the money out of politics so that the people select us through their votes as their representatives, not party politics, gerrymandering or, big money interests. As a nation and as a people, we must find a better way.
“Most importantly, I think President Obama made it crystal clear that the union is strong. Some politicians who are running for president make it appear that the country is weak, in service to their own ambitions. They want us to believe that the American dream is no more. But President Obama said tonight, that even though our nation is challenged by change, it is still strong. It is still vibrant, and it is still the most powerful nation on earth. And I believe the history books will show, that President Barack Obama left this nation much better shape than he found it.”