By Linda S. Wallace, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

As President Barack Hussein Obama embraced Hillary Clinton Wednesday night as the political heir to his movement of hope, he built upon his own legacy, which will extend through the centuries and stretch beyond the color lines.

Twelve years to the day when he first addressed a Democratic National Convention, Obama returned to discuss the building blocks already set down, and the hard work and heavy lifting ahead.

The White House termed it the President’s “Last Big Moment.” He used it to define the legacy that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has attempted to whittle away during his “Let’s make America Great Again” speeches.

The building blocks

“After the worst recession in 80 years, we’ve fought our way back. We’ve seen deficits come down, 401(k)s recover, an auto industry set new records, unemployment reach eight-year lows, and our businesses create 15 million new jobs.”
“After a century of trying, we declared that health care in America is not a privilege for a few, it is a right for everybody.”
“After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil, we doubled our production of clean energy.”
“We brought more of our troops home to their families, and we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.”
“Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, we opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our children.”
“We put policies in place to help students with loans, protect consumers from fraud, cut veteran homelessness almost in half. And through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits, and marriage equality is now a reality across the land.”

‘Change is never easy’

Noting the salt-and-pepper hair now covering his head, Obama noted that he, and America, had faced deep challenges and setbacks.

“By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started,” he concluded. “And through every victory and every setback, I’ve insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.”

Yes, “we’ve still got more work to do,” the President said.

“More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven-and-a-half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer; our homeland more secure, and our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation.”

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