WASHINGTON – On Wednesday President Obama presented awards to seventeen honorees of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor, awarded for meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
After introducing sixteen of the honorees, President Obama announced he was awarding the final medal to a recipient who inhabits the White House.
“The final recipient of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom is someone I happen to know pretty well. He’s an inhabitant of this White House and he’s the dedicated and faithful husband of the first lady of the United States. He’s a loving father of two beautiful daughters and the respectful and loving son-in-law to their grandma. A selfless man who always places others before himself, ladies and gentlemen, the final Medal of Freedom recipient of 2013, President Barack Obama!”
The room erupted in deafening applause.
“Thank-you! Please, you’re too kind. Thank-you very much. Thank-you! Please ….”
“Thank-you so much! Please … thank-you. You’re too kind … thank-you!
“My fellow Americans, I am humbled by this award. I’m humbled because it’s an acknowledgment of how hard I’ve worked. An official recognition of my sacrifices, my diligence and my unwavering commitment to be the best that I can be so that others may flourish. In recent months some have said the age of American exceptionalism is over. But I say, look at me, for I am the personification of American exceptionalism.”
The audience roared with approval.
“I am a symbol of strength to all Americans. A man who stands tall in the center of the arena covered in sweat and blood, battling the forces of negativity and cynicism, bigotry and intolerance. Just months before last year’s election I stood up to the haters when I changed my mind and said our gay men and women should be able to marry. I took heat from naysayers when I promised that our transgender folks would one day be on the front lines of our military battles, side by side with our women. I withstood the storm of intolerance when I demanded our 13-year-old daughters have unfettered access to the morning-after pill and late term abortions 24-hours a day without parental consent. And I didn’t hesitate to fight for the right of a nine-year-old boy who believes he’s female to move his bowels in the girls bathroom at school.
“Five years ago the American people discovered that a man had arrived who would bring them the hope and change they hungered for. A man who would tell them what they wanted to hear, whether it was true or not. A man who made elaborate, unattainable promises that brought false comfort to the insecure and illusions of belonging to the intolerable. A man who could read a speech like no other before him. My fellow Americans, five years ago I was the man you’d been waiting for and today this award salutes the awe inspiring leadership that I delivered.
“I’ve stoically stood my ground as the unremitting winds of incompetency, insubordination and ingratitude howl around me. This past year alone my vice president spoke at a mosque dressed in a burqa, my former secretary of state performed an insensitive impersonation of a stroke victim at the U.N. and my wife proposed slaughtering obese children. When I’m not being blamed for the mistakes of my predecessor or the missteps of those in my administration, I’m being held responsible for the indolence of a Republican controlled House.
“But through it all I’ve remained strong. I’ve demonstrated a remarkable ability to weather the storms of adversity by standing tall and refusing to compromise as my presidency implodes around me. As my second term dissolves into a firestorm of racial division, bureaucratic incompetence and a catastrophic national debt, you know that I will walk away unscathed. For I am the hope and the change you demanded. You voted for me. You loved me. The blame for the smoking embers of what’s left of this country when I’m through will fall on the shoulders of the American people.”
The room erupted with wild applause.
“In closing, I want to thank you for sharing this historic moment with me. I accept this Presidential Medal of Freedom and will cherish it well into the next phase of my remarkable life. Thank you! God bless me and God bless America!”