President Obama Explains “What I Worry About”

President Obama Explains “What I Worry About”


what do I worry about? I — I obviously spent
a lot of time on this, April, at my farewell address on Tuesday. So I won’t go through
the whole list. I worry about inequality because I think that
if we are not investing in making sure everybody plays a role in this economy, the economy
will not grow as fast and I think it will also lead to further and further separation
between us as Americans — not just along racial lines. I mean, there are a whole bunch
of folks who voted for the president-elect because they feel forgotten and disenfranchised. They feel as if they’re being looked down
on. They feel as if their kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities as they did. And you don’t want to — you don’t want
to have an America in which a very small sliver of people are doing really well, and everybody
else is fighting for scraps, as I said last week. Because that’s oftentimes when racial
divisions get magnified, because people think, well, the only way I’m going to get ahead
is if I make sure somebody else gets less; somebody who doesn’t look like me or doesn’t
worship the same place I do. That’s not a good recipe for our democracy.
I worry about, as I said in response to a previous question, making sure that the basic
machinery of our democracy works better. We are the only country in the advanced world
that makes it harder to vote rather than easier. And that dates back. There’s an ugly history
to that that we should not be shy about talking about. QUESTION: Voting rights? OBAMA: Yes, I’m talking about voting rights. The reason that we are the only country among
advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote is — it traces directly back to
Jim Crow and the legacy of slavery and it became sort of acceptable to restrict the
franchise (ph). And that’s not who we are. That shouldn’t be who we are. That’s not
when America works best. So I hope that people pay a lot of attention to making sure that
everybody has a chance to vote. Make it easier, not harder. This whole notion of election — voting fraud,
this is something that has constantly been disproved, this — this is fake news. The
notion that there are a whole bunch of people out there who are going out there and are
not eligible to vote and want to vote. We have the opposite problem. We have a whole
bunch of people who are eligible to vote who don’t vote. And so the idea that we put
in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn’t make sense. And then the
— you know, as I said before, political gerrymandering that makes your vote matter
less because politicians have decided you live in a district where everybody votes the
same way you do so that these aren’t competitive races and we get 90 percent Democratic districts,
90 percent Republican districts, that’s bad for our democracy too. I worry about that. I think it is very important for us to make
sure that our criminal justice system is fair and just, but I also think it’s also very
important to make sure that it is not politicized, that it maintains an integrity that is outside
of partisan politics at every level. I think at some point, we’re going to have to spend
— and this will require some action by the Supreme Court, we have to re- examine just
the flood of endless money that goes into our politics, which I think is very unhealthy. So there are a whole bunch of things I worry
about there. And as I said in my speech on Tuesday, we’ve got more work to do on race.
It is not — it is simply not true that things have gotten worse. They haven’t. Things
are getting better and I have more confidence on racial issues in the next generation than
I do in our generation or the previous generation. I think kids are smarter about it. They’re
more tolerant. They are more inclusive by instinct than we are, and hopefully, my presidency
maybe helped that along a little bit. But you know, we — when we feel stress,
when we feel pressure, when we’re just fed information that encourages some of our worst
instincts, we tend to fall back into some of the old racial fears and racial divisions
and racial stereotypes, and it’s very hard for us to break out of those and to listen
and to think about people as people and to imagine being in that person’s shoes. And by the way, it’s no longer a black and
white issue alone. You got Hispanic folks and you got Asian folks, this is not just
the same old battles that — we’ve got this stew that’s bubbling up from people
everywhere and we’re going to have to make sure that we in our own lives and our own
families and work places do a better job of treating everybody with basic respect and
understanding that not everybody starts off in the same situation and imaging what would
it be like if you were born in an inner city and had no job prospects anywhere within a
20 mile radius or how does it feel being born in some rural county where there’s no job
opportunities within in a 20 mile radius and seeing those two things as connected as opposed
to separate. So, you know, we got work to do.

11 comments

  1. I totally agree with equality and the spread of money among people for lack of a better term, but on the larger scale of things and I know Trump wont deal with this but, what do we do when another type of energy source comes out other than oil? How will the Economy cope? I'm sure it will I just hope no one on the lower income or middle class income suffers. I think the larger companies could do with a little more sharing instead of thinking they haven't worked like me, thought like me or invested like me so they shouldn't get as much as me. People are different but often work just as hard as others. For instance a person builds a house for a family in Nigeria and a person is told to invest in a company so he puts millions he already had into it and it took him a quick decision but had to front capital and could lose it. Both worked hard but both arnt equal. I don't know how to fix this, but maybe we could collaborate some ideas on here.

    What do you guys think could be done?

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