Former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle discuss why young people take politics for granted in the first episode of ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’

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Michelle and Barack Obama

Michelle Obama, the former first lady, has started a new podcast. The first episode debuted on July 29, and featured her husband and former US president, Barack Obama.

The couple discussed the death of George Floyd, the COVID-19 pandemic, and why young people take politics for granted. 
“The average young person knows far more about the cereal they’re eating and the car they’re driving than they do about what the government actually does for them,” Michelle Obama said.

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New podcasts sometimes struggle to secure big-name guests. Michelle Obama, with her contact book full of world leaders, will face no such struggles with “The Michelle Obama Podcast,” which debuted July 29.

The former first lady will interview celebrities and business leaders — in an upcoming episode, she will talk to comedian and writer Conan O’Brien about relationships, for example. But there was always a clear and obvious choice for who would be her first guest: her husband and former US president, Barack Obama. The couple discussed the death of George Floyd, the COVID-19 pandemic, and why young people take politics for granted. 

They appeared hopeful for the future: Young people are raising concerns about racism, sexism, and homophobia in an inclusive, productive way, they said. “Everybody benefits from their ability to advocate,” Barack Obama said.

But he warned that their advocacy would not necessarily cause lasting change. Young people have been out in the streets protesting after the killing of George Floyd, but “it’s not uniform … and it could still go both ways,” he warned.

‘They have been told that the government doesn’t work’

The couple’s main fear was over young people’s political apathy. “They have been told, the message is sent every day, that the government doesn’t work,” Barack Obama said. Young people take for granted that they’re benefiting from the investments of previous governments, he said — for example, the money that came after the Great Depression, and after World War II. 

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And because the government doesn’t have a marketing budget, “the average young person knows far more about the cereal they’re eating and the car they’re driving than they do about what the government actually does for them,” Michelle Obama said.

Barack Obama added that “the only time when they know what the government is doing, it’s when it is not doing.”

There’s therefore a danger that young people become “deeply cynical,” about politics, he said. He urged young people to recognize that the government is “us collectively, making decisions together.”

“There are just certain things that you have to do collectively because they’re too big,” he said.

Channeling ideals into government

Young people are more idealistic now than ever before, he said — but “they feel as if they can channel it outside of governmental structures and outside of politics.” Michelle Obama argued, as she made the case for young people to get involved in politics, that it is “much more hopeful, it is much more gratifying, much more effective to live this life as a we.”

She also urged young people to “think …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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