This is the legacy the first African-American president leaves to his country and to the world, regardless of the judgment he has received for his actions.
By listening to Barack Obama's 50-minute farewell speech, seeing him dry his tears as he thanked Michelle for accompanying him on the impossible journey from Chicago's black ghettos to the White House, a word already rife with regret turned in my throat: dignity.
We can offer all the opinions we want on the presidency of the first man of mixed race in the history of the United States, criticizing the choices, the results, uncertainties, errors, especially on the international front. However, we cannot forget that his eight years were a paradigm of dignity, of civilization, of fairness which few of his predecessors ever achieved.
The lesson that Obama leaves for his country and to those who followed him with interest or dislike is much nobler than the predictable words spoken during his farewell speech in Chicago, where he grew up, entered politics and met the woman who would become his wife.
When asking with constitutional elegance for us to accept, but not submit to the transition of power under those who “won the election” outright, the lesson Obama demonstrated was that of Martin Luther King’s celebrated rhetoric, when he asked us not to judge people by the color of their skin, but for the quality of their character. That was not just rhetoric.
This is Barack Hussein Obama's legacy: It is more than health care reform, more than the economic resurrection of a nation which was in pieces when he entered the White House and which in his eight years has produced more jobs than had ever been created in any other eight-year presidency, more than the execution of Osama bin Laden, more than the confusion that leaves troops on the front lines of ongoing wars. He made good-willed men and women forget the color of his skin. The man who wiped his eyes, saying goodbye to an America he loved as well as hated, was no longer the "black president," but a man with the color of his own certainty and meaning of his impeccable dignity.
And as the news broke of possible revelations of "compromising" information held by Russians on Donald Trump's past, Obama tried to end the story on a positive note. "I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than when we started," he said, ending the farewell speech.
I wish I could be too.