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Obama to Trump: We're Supposed to Stand up to Discrimination and to Nazi Sympathizers

To voters: You can make sure that white nationalists don't feel empowered to march in Charlottesville in the middle of the day.

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Former President Barack Obama kicked off his campaigning for November's midterms, on Friday afternoon, and took jabs at President Trump and the spineless backbones of his Republican constituents.

Obama spared no expense rebuking the administration's actions that have emboldened racists.


"We're supposed to stand up to discrimination, and clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers," he said at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "How hard can that be saying Nazis are bad?"

He also called out the administration for furthering policies in the criminal justice system that unjustly impact Black men, foster discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, and impede upon people's civil liberties.

You can't say there's racism in America, so you won't vote, Obama said.

"Better is worth fighting for," he commented.

Obama explained that civil rights didn't end racism, but it made things better.

"You can make sure that white nationalists don't feel empowered to march in Charlottesville in the middle of the day," he said.

The division in this country did not start with Trump, but he is capitalizing on years of resentment, Obama said.

"[Trump] is a symptom not the cause."

Regarding Trump's immigration policies not welcoming "strivers and dreamers," he said, "We can't put walls up around America. Walls don't keep threats."Obama talked about policies to push back tyrants in the countries that are causing people to flee.

The Trump era has complicated Obama's post-presidency, but Obama's call to action was that citizens, through their vote, put an end to bad policies and abuse of power.

Obama criticized the Republican Party, once the leaders of abolishing slavery, for making a home for politics of paranoia.

Also, for systemic attacks on voting rights of minorities, not having any checks and balances, and making excuses by saying people on the inside are preventing some of what Trump is doing, but cosigning the majority of it.

He asked: "What happened to the Republican party?"

Obama mentioned that, when you get close to ideals that move a country forward, then sometimes people push back for fear of change. But, he continued, "More often it's manufactured by the powerful and privileged who want to keep us divided and angry and cynical, so they can keep their power and privilege."

Obama went on to say that November elections are more important than any elections in all time, and that just a glance at recent headlines shows us this is different, stakes are higher, consequences of sidelining are more dire.

Last month, he released a first round of endorsements – 81 candidates on the ballot – most of whom were first time politicians and diverse, including a large number of women, and people of color and veterans.

"I'm here today because everyone of us as citizens need to determine who we are and what we stand for," Obama said after receiving the Institute of Government and Public Affairs Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.

"As a fellow citizen, the message is to vote because our democracy depends on it."

Reader Question: What are you concerned about regarding the midterm elections this Fall? Will you vote?

Join The Conversation below.


The Conversation (2)
Veronica Alleyne08 Sep, 2018

as with many things, diversity makes for a stronger product, e pluribus unum

John Hoade08 Sep, 2018

Welcome back Obama! This speech was long overdue!

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Waters urged the association of more than 200 Black-owned community newspapers from around the U.S. to encourage Black people to get out and vote in the midterm elections.

Learn how you can help get others to vote:

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