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Popular but politically humbled, President Barack Obama said goodbye to the nation Tuesday night, declaring during his farewell address that he hasn't abandoned his vision of progressive change but warning that it now comes with a new set of caveats.
His voice at moments catching with emotion, Obama recounted a presidency that saw setbacks as well as successes. Admitting candidly that political discourse has soured under his watch, Obama demanded that Americans renew efforts at reconciliation.
    "It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy," the President said. "To embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours."
    Obama also stressed solidarity despite a presidency sometimes at odds with Congress.
    "Democracy does not require uniformity," Obama said. "Our founders quarreled and compromised, and 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 are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one."
    In a concession that, for now, his brand of progressive politics is stalled in Washington, Obama admitted "for every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back."
    He implored his backers to be vigilant in protecting basic American values he warned could come under siege.
    "Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear," he said. "So 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."
    And he warned against turning inward, telling Democrats that only by involving themselves in a real political discourse could they hope to renew the hopeful vision he brought to the White House eight years ago.
    "After eight years as your President, I still believe that," he went on. "And it's not just my belief. It's the beating heart of our American idea -- our bold experiment in self-government."

    Capstone

    Obama's speech is the capstone of a months-long farewell tour, manifested in extended magazine interviews, lengthy television sit-downs, and the White House's own efforts to document the President's waning administration. Through it all, Obama has sought to highlight the achievements of his presidency using statistics showing the country better off now than eight years ago.
    As he spoke before a rowdy crowd of supporters, Obama was interrupted often with screams of "I Love you Obama." When a protester holding a "Pardon All of Us" sign, chants of "four more years" drowned out the shouts.
    Obama sought to corral his crowd, listing the accomplishments of the last eight years ranging from health care to marriage equality, all while insisting that his work isn't finished.
    He recognized his successor Donald Trump, saying he was committed to a peaceful transition of power. But he warned that going forward Democrats shouldn't fall in line with their commander-in-chief.
    Obama, who has addressed race with varying degrees of force during his time in office, used his farewell to insist Americans work harder to understand each other's struggles. After presiding over eight years that saw race relations enter a fraught new era, Obama demanded that differences be identified and reconciled.
    "Brown kids will represent a larger share of America's workforce" in the years ahead, Obama proclaimed, calling for better rules that will help the children of immigrants succeed.
    He warned that "laws alone won't be enough" in resolving persistent differences between Americans.
    "Hearts must change," he said.
    He called on African-Americans and minorities to view with empathy "the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he's got all the advantages, but who's seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change."

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