A year to the day after kicking off his re-election campaign at Ohio State University, President Barack Obama returned to the college campus and told graduates that only through vigorous participation in their “democracy” can they right an ill-functioning government and break through relentless cynicism about the nation’s future.
“I dare you, Class of 2013, to do better. I dare you to do better,” Obama said.
In a sunbaked stadium filled with more than 57,000 students, friends and relatives, Obama lamented an American political system that gets consumed by “small things” and works for the benefit of society’s elite. He called graduates to duty to “accomplish great things,” like rebuilding a still-feeble economy and fighting poverty and climate change.
“Only you can ultimately break that cycle. Only you can make sure the democracy you inherit is as good as we know it can be,” the president told more than 10,000 cap-and-gown-clad graduates. “But it requires your dedicated, informed and engaged citizenship.”
Obama also urged the students to “reject these voices” that warn of the evils of government, saying:
“Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
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