With heightened national turmoil involving the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after President Donald Trump met privately with Vladimir Putin, many are looking to the man a recent poll cited as the President who has "done the best job" in their lifetime for words of wisdom. And President Barack Obama delivered.
President Obama spoke in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday in a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. While he failed to mention anyone by name, his message seemed pointed and clear.
While much of his speech drew laughter, there were some important messages contained within about facts versus lies and love versus hate.
Video highlights from the nearly 90 minute speech can be viewed within this article.
Obama began his speech by characterizing the world as living in "strange and uncertain times" where "each day’s news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines."
He then spoke of the bigotry that still plagues the world...
...as well as economic inequality.
"Look around," Obama then suggested. "Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning."
The former President also touched on the value of diversity as well as the commonality of shared hopes and dreams.
And in a very pointed segment seemingly aimed at the Trump administration and their supporters, the former President took a jab at those who reject the truth and facts. Obama highlighted the differences between opinions, which can be discussed, and the rejection of truth, which leaves no room for discussion.
If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it’s going to be hard for us to cooperate."
Obama further called out the current presidential administration for lying, then being caught in lies, only to lie more about the lies.
Too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up...we see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they're caught in a lie and they just double down."
The 44th President concluded his remarks with a call to reject hate and embrace love, stating,
Madiba reminds us that no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin...People must learn to hate. And if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love."
Reaction online included many messages with one general message. People miss President Obama.