President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday. Last year’s speech focused on economic packages for working class Americans, when the country will still reeling in from the traces of the 2008 financial crisis.
This year’s address focused on some of the issues that have become prominent during the 2016 election campaign, such as terrorism and immigration, due to events like attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, as well as the migrant crisis in Europe.
Below are excerpts of the speech released by the White House:
“We live in a time of extraordinary change—change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet and our place in the world. It’s change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families. It promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists plotting an ocean away. It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality. And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.
America has been through big changes before – wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights. Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears. We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the ‘dogmas of the quiet past.’ Instead we thought anew, and acted anew. We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more and more people. And because we did—because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril—we emerged stronger and better than before.”
“The future we want—opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids—ll that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates.
It will only happen if we fix our politics.
A better politics doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. This is a big country, with different regions and attitudes and interests. That’s one of our strengths, too. Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and imperatives of security.
But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens.”