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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Jennifer Holliday joins list of Trump inauguration performers (UPDATE: Holliday cancels Trump inauguration performance)

buzzz worthy. . .






Next week at this time in Washington, Donald Trump will be celebrating his inauguration. A day ahead of the inauguration a celebration will be held at the Lincoln Memorial to include various forms of entertainment. The names of confirmed performers are trickling in and will include Paul Anca, Toby Keith, and 3 Doors Down and among others. Perhaps as a surprise to many Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday will also perform according to ABC News.


Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration will be held on

Thursday, January 19, 2017. Tickets to the event are not required for the general public.

UPDATE, 1/17/17: After hearing from a gay fan objecting to her peformance in a letter and the flood of opposition on social media, Tony Award winner Jenifer Holliday decided not to perfrom at the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. She said she had a lapse in judgment and cancelled the performance. On The View Tuesday morning the "Dream Girl" singer further explained she initally did not see the harm in perfroming at an evet for a man who has loing been identifueld as homophobic, racist and sexist, despite the fact that she is black, a woman and a gay magnet, Telling Whoopi Goldberg, "It was my honest desire that my voice could be used as an instrument of healing and unity."


Watch the clip from The View
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TV ONE'S TRUE CRIME MONDAYS CONTINUES WITH NEW FATAL ATTRACTION AND FOR MY MAN EPISODES

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SILVER SPRING, MD. - Jan. 13, 2016 - TV One's True Crime programming block continues with new episodes of the network's hit crime and justice series Fatal Attraction and For My Man every Monday night.    

Beginning at 9 p.m. ET, Fatal Attraction delves into real-life stories of criminal acts committed under the guise of love and the tragic consequences that turn deadly. Recounting stories of love-gone-wrong, each episode consists of first-person interviews from loved ones, accounts from investigating officials, interrogation footage, recreations of pivotal moments and haunting cinematography. Immediately following at 10 p.m. ET, For My Man is jam-packed with new incredible stories of the lengths some women will go to keep the love of their man. Shedding light on the outrageous and shocking stories of women who have been arrested for a crime they committed in the name of love, each episode includes interviews of those closest to the events - family members, friends, witnesses, investigators and journalists - as well as psychologists, lawyers and when possible, the subjects themselves. For more information about True Crime Mondays visit www.tvone.tv and check out TV One's  YouTube Channel. Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TwitterInstagram and Facebook(@tvonetv) using #FatalAttraction and #JusticeByAnyMeans. An overview of new episodes for the next two weeks is below.

 MONDAY, JANUARY 16 Fatal Attraction (Episode 604): Louis Saint-FleurPremiere: Monday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. ET         Louis Saint-Fleur met Natasha Martin at an Atlanta nightclub, and they instantly hit it off. But the romance comes to an abrupt end when Saint-Fleur is found shot outside his apartment complex. As police start investigating, they learn Martin isn't the single woman she pretended to be. She lives with her high school sweetheart, Dennis Simmons, and their infant son. As the investigation continues, detectives find out Martin was planning to leave Simmons for Saint-Fleur.  After Simmons' story doesn't add up, he's arrested. A jury convicts him of first-degree murder and he's sentenced to life in prison. For My Man (Episode 303): Rembert/MartinezPremiere: 


Monday, Jan. 16 at 10 p.m. ET       When Virginia college student Candice Martinez meets fellow student Dave Williams, she can tell he's not like anyone she's ever met before and their attraction is instant. When they both fall on tough times; the two come up with a dangerous plan to improve their financial situation. Together, they decide to commit a series of crimes that will turn Martinez from an innocent college freshman - to one of the nation's best known fugitives. After going through a turbulent childhood in Florida, teenager Genet Rembertworks the streets to get by. But when she meets an attractive pimp namedMackenley Desir, she can't help but be swept up by his charms.  After he offers her a place to stay, she becomes his devoted slave. So when he gives her a job as his right hand woman, she doesn't hesitate to do what he asks of her, even if it means holding multiple victims captive. 

MONDAY, JANUARY 23 Fatal Attraction (Episode 605): Anna ListPremiere: Monday, Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. ET         Anna List was a beautifully gifted high school student with a bright future. The only passion that rivaled her love of academics was for her boyfriend, Dominic Oyerinde. But their dreams are put on ice, when List is found unconscious with deadly blow to the head. The evidence in the investigation leads them back to Oyerinde. He is convicted of first-degree felony murder and sentenced to life in prison. For My Man (Episode 304): Annishia Smith/Tina YoungPremiere: Monday, Jan. 23 at 10 p.m. ET       Annishia Smith is not the typical girl next door. She is the girl every man wants and her boyfriend, David Bell, knows just how to make that benefit him. With Bell's approval, Smith hatches a plan to get him everything he wants and more. Later, bored housewife, Tina Young, is unhappy with her tedious life until she meets Larry TooleyTooley and Young share a euphoric connection that unfortunately alters the life of an unsuspecting family. 

MONDAY, JANUARY 30 Fatal Attraction (Episode 606): Michael GilesPremiere: Monday, Jan. 30 at 9 p.m. ET         Michael Giles flew helicopters in the Air Force for 20 years, which is where he metKwaneta Harris. For the next decade, Giles and Harris had an on-again, off-again relationship. But by the fall of 2007, Giles' family hadn't seen him in more than a year. They grew suspicious, especially with his vague emails, and filed a missing persons report. Throughout the investigation, Harris tries many tricks to throw them off-course. But the evidence eventually leads back to her. She pleads guilty and is sentenced to 50 years in prison. For My Man (Episode 305):  Cortnee Brantley/Regina MillerPremiere: Monday, Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. ET       Raised by her grandmother and the harsh streets of East Tampa, Cortnee Brantley has struggled through much of her adolescence. After dropping out of high school she meets street hustler Dontae Morris who is the drug kingpin in town. Morris is in-and-out of prison for much of their relationship and soon ushers Brantley to the center of a terrifying evening that will put her loyalty to the test. A lonely heart and multiple mouths to feed prompt Regina Miller to pack up her life and start fresh in Muncie, Indiana. There she meets silver-tongued, ruggedTerry Rutledge who helps her mend the pieces of her broken heart. But just when it seems she'll be able to start a new life with her new man, Miller's beau sweet-talks her into cleaning up his dirtiest mess.

Fatal Attraction is produced for TV One by Jupiter Entertainment with Todd Moss as co-executive producer and Robert Twilley and Harrison Land as executives in charge of production. For TV One, Lamar Chase serves as Producer and Director of Programming; Tia A. Smith is Executive in Charge of Production and Sr. Director of Original Programming and Production; Robyn Greene Arrington is Vice President, Original Programming and Production; and D'Angela Proctor is Head of Original Programming and Production.
Justice By Any Means is produced for TV One by Jupiter Entertainment for Todd Moss and Allison Wallach serve as Executive Producers. Executives in Charge of Production are Robert Twilley and Harrison Land. For TV One, Lamar Chase is Producer; Tia Smith is Executive in Charge of Production and Sr. Director of Original Programming; Robyn Greene Arrington is Vice President, Original Programming and Production; and Production; and D'Angela Proctor is Head of Original Programming and Production.





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IS THE BOXING MATCH BEWTWEEN SOULJA BOY AND CHRIS BROWN ON OR OFF?

buzzz worthy. . .


The fight between Souljah Boy and Chris Brown may be up in the air.

The two entertainers decided to take their internet beef over a woman (Brown's ex, actress Karrueche Tran) to the ring and were to be coached by Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson. The feud started when Soulja, 26 liked a photo Tran posted on Instagram. Soulja claims Brown called him threatening bodily harms. In a series of tweets the "Crank That" artist invited Brown to settle his issues in a fist fight. As the beef got more intense, Brown, 27 challenged Soulja to a 3-round boxing match. They had been bantering with name calling and threats of violence since, until Soulja apologized for his behavior, saying his mother had an illness that was a wake up call for him.


Mike Tyson dropped a track called "It's Going Down" with a verse that says he is going to teach his trainee Brown how to knock Soulja Boy out.

Mayweather said he got involved to promote the fight as a celeb boxing match for charity. with a message of "gloves over guns." Rapper and businessman 50 Cents is also involved in promoting the match. He released a flyer online with the hash tag #thefightsstillon. Yet, it appears the plans are not confirmed based on various conflicting reports. It's obvious the promoters really want to see their plans come together so the world can watch two grown men try to smack each other down "for a good cause."

All the hype over the match has fizzled a bit because the amateurs are not likely to be able to satisfy Las Vegas regulations to actually box there. One rule is a mandatory drug test, which the two known marijuana lovers would not be expected to pass. SOme outlets are reporting the fight may go in in Dubai. (One would think that Mayweather and Tyson would have known about the regulations with all the experience they have collectively.) Besides if Mayweather does not see dollar signs he is just as good as out of the picture as far as the two would-be boxers are concerend.

That does not mean "Money Mayweather" is not taking advantage of the buzz and already promoting his next potential match with UFC Champ Conor McGregor. Mayweather has offered McGregor $15 million to fight and a cut of the Pay Per View purse. McGregor wants $100 million to participate in the cross over bout.

Let's hope the amateurs leave the fighting to the pros before someone gets seriously hurt.
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President Obama Designates National Monuments Honoring Civil Rights History

buzzz worthy. .

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Obama is designating three new national monuments honoring our country’s civil rights history and taking new steps to promote diversity in our national parks and other public lands. Building on the Administration’s commitment to protecting places that are culturally and historically significant and that reflect the story of all Americans, today’s designations will protect historic sites in Alabama and South Carolina that played an important role in American history stretching from the Civil War to the civil rights movement.
The new monuments are the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Freedom Riders National Monument and Reconstruction Era National Monument.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument: The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument will protect the historic A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, Alabama, which served at one point as the headquarters for the civil rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The monument will also tell the stories associated with other nearby Birmingham historic sites, including the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church– which was the site of a bombing in 1963; and Kelly Ingram Park, where Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor turned hoses and dogs on young civil rights protesters.
  • Freedom Riders National Monument: The Freedom Riders National Monument is located in Anniston, Alabama and contains two sites that help underscore the Freedom Riders’ importance to the civil rights movement.  The monument includes the Greyhound Bus Station where a racially integrated bus of Freedom Riders attempting to test desegregation was attacked in the spring of 1961, and the site where the same bus was firebombed and burned some minutes later.
  • Reconstruction Era National Monument: Located in coastal South Carolina, the new Reconstruction Era National Monument encompasses four sites throughout Beaufort County that tell the vibrant story of the robust community developed by freed former African American slaves in the Reconstruction Era South.  This designation includes the Brick Baptist Church and Darrah Hall at the existing Penn Center on St. Helena Island as well as the Old Firehouse in downtown Beaufort and parts of Camp Saxton in Port Royal where the Emancipation Proclamation was read on New Year’s Day in 1863. These sites establish the first unit of the National Park System focused on telling the story of Reconstruction.
Protection for these sites is strongly supported by the local communities, elected officials, and a wide variety of stakeholders including civil rights organizations, environmental justice groups and historic preservation groups. Each designation was also supported by legislation introduced by members of the Alabama and South Carolina delegations.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

TUNE-IN ALERT: 'Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America”' airs on ABC tonight, Jan. 12

buzzz worthy. . .#TakingtheStage




The National Museum of African American History and Culture takes center stage on ABC Television on Thursday night in a prime time music special. The network will air “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America” on ABC stations nationwide at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT. 

Filmed live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Grand Opening celebration of the Museum, the program features an all-star tribute of music, dance, and spoken word on the African American experience. Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, and Tom Hanks are among the many artists who participated in the program, which includes a special salute to the Tuskegee Airmen. 

Join performers Shirley Caesar, Gladys Knight, Herbie Hancock, Mary Mary, Neyo and mor in celebrating African American music.

Our stories. Our songs. Catch Taking The Stage at 9|8c on your local ABC station. 
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Doubles Teams Set for State Farm CP3 Family Foundation PBA Celebrity Invitational

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LOS ANGELES –Music executive, producer, DJ and radio personality, DJ Khaled and 2016 Professional Bowlers Association World Championship winner EJ Tackett have been announced as doubles partners, filling the field for the State Farm CP3 Family Foundation PBA Celebrity Invitational that will be taped by ESPN Tuesday, Jan. 17 at Lucky Strike LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.

The Khaled/Tackett team will join four other doubles teams that will feature a celebrity paired with a PBA Tour star. The other teams competing will be:

  • *18-time Tour Winner Chris Barnes, who will team up with tournament host and two-time champion Chris Paul
  • *Chris Paul Family Invitational defending champions former NFL star Terrell Owens and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber 
  • *Boston Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts and 18-time PBA Tour winner Tommy Jones
  • *Denver Broncos running back CJ Anderson and 11-time Tour winner Sean Rash
Also, participating in the celebrity shootout portion of the event, will be Miles Brown, star of ABC's hit series Black-ish.

VIP and Premium Seat ticket packages for the ESPN taping of the event are available by visiting  
  • $350 VIP package - Includes meet & greet, dinner, open bar, premium seat and signed pin.
  • $150 Premium Seat ticket - Includes premium seat, two drink tickets and autographed t-shirt.
  • $25 general admission ticket. 
The Celebrity Invitational begins with a red carpet ceremony at 6 p.m. PT at Lucky Strike LA Live (800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles) with the competition beginning at 7 p.m on Jan. 17. The event will be tape-delayed and will air in prime time Friday, Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Celebrity bowlers who have participated in previous events include NBA stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin, Rudy Gay and Kevin Durant; National Football League stars Michael Strahan, Hines Ward, LaMarr Woodley, Reggie Bush, C.J. Anderson and hip-hop stars Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Lil Wayne and Nelly, television personality Chris Hardwick, comedian/motion picture star Kevin Hart and television star Jesse Williams.


CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational past winners:

2016 – Pete Weber/Terrell Owens
2015 – Ronnie Russell/French Montana
2013 – Chris Barnes/Chris Hardwick
2012 – Pete Weber/Jerry Ferrara/Blake Griffin
2011 – Jason Belmonte/Chris Paul
2010 – Jason Belmonte/Chris Paul
2009 – Jason Couch/LeBron James
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sasha Obama's absence from Pres. Obama's farewell speech raises concerns

buzzz worthy. . .

When Air Force One departed Washington today, the Obama's youngest daughter, Sasha did not board the plane. As the camera panned the arrival of family and the Bidens, Sasha was noticeably absent from Pres. Obama's farewell speech.  Immediately, the question arose online, "Where is Sasha?"

It was noted in a press pool report that FLOTUS and Malia followed Pres. Obama onto AF1. There was no mention of Sasha.

Some of the tweets were speculative. . .

Some were out of real concern. . .

Obama praised both of his daughters as his eldest, Malia sat next to her mother in tears, saying "I am most proud to be your dad."

The hashtag #wheresSasha was a trending topic.  America wants an answer.

Sasha's exact whereabouts and who is with her are unknown.  Her grandmother, Marian Robinson, and all the members of her immediate family were in Chicago.

At this hour we do not have a reply to our inquiries to the White House, but The Slice Report wishes baby girl well and will provide and update when more details emerge.

UPDATE 11:45 P.M., Jan. 10, 2017:

A White House official confirmed Sasha Obama stayed in Washington because she has an exam in the morning at Sidwell School, where she is a high school junior.
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FAREWELL: President Barack H. Obama final speech (TRANSCRIPT)

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Farewell Address by the President – As Prepared for Delivery
McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois



It’s good to be home.  My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks.  But tonight it’s my turn to say thanks.  Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going.  Every day, I learned from you.  You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.

I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life.  It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills.  It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss.  This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it. 

After eight years as your President, I still believe that.  And it’s not just my belief.  It’s the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government. 

It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.

This is the great gift our Founders gave us.  The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination – and the imperative to strive together as well, to achieve a greater good.

For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation.  It’s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom.  It’s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande, pushed women to reach for the ballot, powered workers to organize.  It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well. 

So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional.  Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow. 

Yes, our progress has been uneven.  The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody.  For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back.  But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.

If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history…if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11…if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.

But that’s what we did.  That’s what you did.  You were the change.  You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.

In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy:  the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next.  I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.  Because it’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.

We have what we need to do so.  After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on Earth.  Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours.

But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works.  Only if our politics reflects the decency of the our people.  Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now. 

That’s what I want to focus on tonight – the state of our democracy.

Understand, democracy does not require uniformity.  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.

There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity.  The beginning of this century has been one of those times.  A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism – these forces haven’t just tested our security and prosperity, but our democracy as well.  And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland. 

In other words, it will determine our future.

Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity.  Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again.  The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records.  The unemployment rate is near a ten-year low.  The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower.  Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years.  And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it. 

That, after all, is why we serve – to make people’s lives better, not worse. 

But for all the real progress we’ve made, we know it’s not enough.  Our economy doesn’t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class.  But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles.  While the top one percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and health care worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics. 

There are no quick fixes to this long-term trend.  I agree that our trade should be fair and not just free.  But the next wave of economic dislocation won’t come from overseas.  It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete.

And so we must forge a new social compact – to guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and individuals who reap the most from the new economy don’t avoid their obligations to the country that’s made their success possible.  We can argue about how to best achieve these goals.  But we can’t be complacent about the goals themselves.  For if we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.

There’s a second threat to our democracy – one as old as our nation itself.  After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America.  Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic.  For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.  I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.

But we’re not where we need to be.  All of us have more work to do.  After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.  If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children – because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce.  And our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.  Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women. 

Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system.  That’s what our Constitution and highest ideals require.  But laws alone won’t be enough.  Hearts must change.  If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also 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. 

For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised. 

For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles.  America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened. 

So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own. 

None of this is easy.  For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions.  The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable.  And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.

This trend represents a third threat to our democracy.  Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them.  But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible. 

Isn’t that part of what makes politics so dispiriting?  How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations?  How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing?  It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating.  Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you. 

Take the challenge of climate change.  In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.  But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary. 

Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem.  But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.

It’s that spirit, born of the Enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse – the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket. 

It’s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press.

That order is now being challenged – first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power.  The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile.  It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.

Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, and the intelligence officers, law enforcement, and diplomats who support them, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years; and although Boston and Orlando remind us of how dangerous radicalization can be, our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever.  We’ve taken out tens of thousands of terrorists – including Osama bin Laden.  The global coalition we’re leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory.  ISIL will be destroyed, and no one who threatens America will ever be safe.  To all who serve, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your Commander-in-Chief.

But protecting our way of life requires more than our military.  Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear.  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.  That’s why, for the past eight years, I’ve worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firm legal footing.  That’s why we’ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties.  That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans.  That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem.  For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression.  If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.

So let’s be vigilant, but not afraid.  ISIL will try to kill innocent people.  But they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight.  Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world – unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.

Which brings me to my final point – our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted.  All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions.  When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote.  When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service.  When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.

And all of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings. 

Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift.  But it’s really just a piece of parchment.  It has no power on its own.  We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make.  Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms.  Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law.  America is no fragile thing.  But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.

In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken…to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;” that we should preserve it with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.

We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent.  We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.

It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.  Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title:  Citizen.

Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands.  It needs you.  Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.  If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life.  If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing.  If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.  Show up.  Dive in.  Persevere.  Sometimes you’ll win.  Sometimes you’ll lose.  Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you.  But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire.  And more often than not, your faith in America – and in Americans – will be confirmed. 

Mine sure has been.  Over the course of these eight years, I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates and our newest military officers.  I’ve mourned with grieving families searching for answers, and found grace in Charleston church.  I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and our wounded warriors walk again.  I’ve seen our doctors and volunteers rebuild after earthquakes and stop pandemics in their tracks.  I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us of our obligations to care for refugees, to work in peace, and above all to look out for each other.

That faith I placed all those years ago, not far from here, in the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change – that faith has been rewarded in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined.  I hope yours has, too.  Some of you here tonight or watching at home were there with us in 2004, in 2008, in 2012 – and maybe you still can’t believe we pulled this whole thing off. 

You’re not the only ones.  Michelle – for the past twenty-five years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend.  You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor.  You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody.  And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.  You’ve made me proud.  You’ve made the country proud.

Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion.  You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily.  Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad. 

To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son:  you were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best.  Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother.  We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life.

To my remarkable staff:  For eight years – and for some of you, a whole lot more – I’ve drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism.  I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own.  Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you.  The only thing that makes me prouder than all the good we’ve done is the thought of all the remarkable things you’ll achieve from here.

And to all of you out there – every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change – you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful.  Because yes, you changed the world.

That’s why I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than I was when we started.  Because I know our work has not only helped so many Americans; it has inspired so many Americans – especially so many young people out there – to believe you can make a difference; to hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves.  This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country.  You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward.  You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.

My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you.  I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain.  For now, whether you’re young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President – the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.

I am asking you to believe.  Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours. 

I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:

Yes We Can. 

Yes We Did. 

Yes We Can.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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