After countless international visits and speeches, the 44th president's final foreign trip is underway in Greece — the birthplace of democracy. There, during a speech, he put the results of the 2016 election into perspective and stressed that the best way to achieve progress was to look forward instead of backwards.
"As you may have noticed, the next American president and I could not be more different," he told the audience in Greece. "We have very different points of view, but American democracy is bigger than any one person."
Obama reiterated that the new presidential administration would honor all of America's international treaties and obligations. But he also acknowledged the rise in nationalistic policies that were a response to globalization and more cultural diversity.
"Democracy is simplest where everybody thinks alike, looks alike, eats the same food, worships the same god," the president said. "Democracy becomes more difficult when there are people coming from a variety of backgrounds and trying to live together."
Obama noted that despite democracy's challenges, its positives still outweigh its negatives.
"In a multi-ethnic, multiracial, multicultural society, like the United States, democracy can be especially complicated," he said. "But it is better than the alternatives because it allows us to peacefully work through our differences and move closer to our ideals."
That is why Obama remained optimistic that the potential mistakes of any future presidents could be easily fixed through the democratic process.
"Any action by a president or any result of an election or any legislation that has proven flawed can be corrected through the process of democracy," he said.
Cover image via Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com