Former President Barack Obama said Friday that he hopes the election and presidency of President Trump has made people realize that elections do matter, while warning against the biggest threat to our democracy: “indifference.”
“If you thought elections don’t matter, I hope these last two years have corrected that impression,” Obama said in a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “So if you don’t like what’s going on right now – and you shouldn’t – do not complain.”
“Don’t hashtag, don’t get anxious, don’t retreat, don’t binge on whatever it is you’re binging on, don’t lose yourself in ironic detachment, don’t put your head in the sand, don’t boo,” he added. “Vote.”
Obama argued that young voters now have the power to fundamentally change the direction of U.S. politics but warned against “indifference,” noting that fewer than one in five young people voted in 2014.
“The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference,” he said. “The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism. Cynicism led too many people to turn away from politics and stay home on election day.”
OBAMA: “In the end, the threat to our democracy doesn’t just come from Donald Trump or the current batch of Republicans in Congress or too much compromise from Democrats or Russian hacking. The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat is cynicism.” pic.twitter.com/5R5ck7QYpo
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 7, 2018
The Hill added:
Much of Obama’s speech was targeted squarely at Trump, marking the first time since leaving office that the former president has gone after the real estate mogul by name.