Barack Obama gave his final speech as the sitting president of the United States Tuesday night, and although over the past eight years I’ve found my personal politics to be at odds with many of his policies, his farewell address served, in my opinion, as a shining example of what American politics should be. Mind you, I am not suggesting that the man effectively embodied all the ideals he presented in his speech throughout his two terms in office—his successes and failures as a politician will stand on their own in that light—but his speech, and the emotion behind it, served as a testament to American optimism and passion: two things I believe in from the bottom of my heart.

Yes, he took the opportunity to pat himself on the back, often under the guise of congratulating those who supported him throughout his climb to the top of the American political machine, but more than that, he gave an eloquent account of his own beliefs, and argued in favor of recognizing each of our involvement in the political, social, and economic ups and downs Americans faced over the better part of the last decade. He walked the line, ensuring he presented the Democratic party in the best possible light and often taking thinly veiled jabs at some of Donald Trump’s platforms, but he also called for people to step out of their confirmation-bias bubbles. He told the American people that those with different points of view shouldn’t be seen as the enemy, and that we should all take the responsibility of being American citizens as seriously as we take the office of the president.

I don’t ask that all politicians share my unique set of beliefs, in fact, it feels like it’s grown increasingly hard to find one that does, but I do expect our politicians to bring their own beliefs to the table, and to argue in their favor with vigor. Last night, Barack Obama did just that.

“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.”

Before you call me naïve and exclaim that this statement, and the sentiment behind it, was intended to push the political agenda that minorities are discriminated against in the United States, let me stop you. Of course it was, but it was also much more than that. Suggesting that both sides, Democrat and Republican, love this nation has somehow become an unusual sentiment in recent years. Both sides work so hard to vilify one another, such a basic common ground has evaporated from the political sphere. Surely the other side hates America, or freedom, or other races. Surely, our side is the only truly American one. Surely the communists on the left and the fascists on the right know only hatred and spite. Republicans can’t clap for a Democrat. Democrats can’t clap for a Republican.

“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.”

Those unalienable rights the president spoke of are the basis of so many of our political disagreements—and that’s by design. We’re supposed to argue, debate, even bicker. Our founding fathers did it before us, and the kids we see “dabbing” in pictures of their fathers being sworn into office will one day grow up to do the same. There’s a poetry to the statement, “while self evident, have never been self-executing” that, again, calls on the American public to start paying attention to the way their corner of the world is being governed. While Obama may have made that statement regarding the continued civil rights effort being advanced by the Left, it’s a message that needs to reverberate in the hearts and minds of all Americans. It is our responsibility to decide what we feel is right, and to work to advance that cause.

“What a radical idea. A great gift that our founders gave to us: the freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat and toil and imagination, and the imperative to strive together, as well, to achieve a common good, a greater good.”