In his final State of the Union address, President Obama reminded Americans of his accomplishments, cautioned against the politics of fear, and (almost) sounded like a freshman senator again.
There were the requisite nods to his major victories: Obamacare, the Iran deal, Cuba, and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
But the most memorable moments were those in which the president urged Americans to resist the politics of Donald Trump and others who seek to capitalize on voters' anxiety:
When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.
Toward the end of his speech, Obama revisited some of the themes from the 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention that made him a household name. In that speech, he said, "There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America." In his final State of the Union, Obama said of his inability to bridge the partisan divide, "It is one of the few regrets of my presidency."
But Obama wasn't hopeless. He called on Americans to exercise their right to vote, and on Congress to end the practice of gerrymandering. A year from today, he said, he'll be a citizen too:
A year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I’ll be right there with you as a citizen—inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far. Voices that help us see ourselves not first and foremost as black or white or Asian or Latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born; not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans first, bound by a common creed. Voices Dr. King believed would have the final word—voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love.