Podcast


Barack and Michelle Obama appeared Sunday on YouTube’s "Dear Class of 2020" special to address high school and college students now graduating into a country “upended” by a deadly pandemic and “swept by protest.”

The former president and first lady had the same message: They, too, have been grappling with anguish and uncertainty and loss.
“But that doesn’t mean we should feel hopeless,” Mrs. Obama said in her commencement address after a joint video message from her and her husband. (Celebrities, athletes and performers also appeared at the special.) 
“As someone once said: Hope is not a lottery ticket. It’s a hammer for us to use in a national emergency — to break the glass, sound the alarm and sprint into action,” President Obama, 58, said in his own speech.

“As scary and uncertain as these times may be, they are also a wake-up call,” he said, “and they are an incredible opportunity for your generation.”

“I hope that what you’re going through right now can be your wake-up call,” the former first lady, 56, also told graduating students.
Both she and President Obama had three lessons to share. Barack and Michelle Obama Address the Class of 2020: Do Not Despair — 'You All Are Exactly What We Need
Both she and President Obama had three lessons to share.
“First,” he told graduates, “do what you think is right, not just what’s convenient or what’s expected or what’s easy.” 
“You don’t have to accept what was considered normal before,” he said. “You don’t have to accept the world as it is. You can make it into the world as it should be and could be.” 
He later continued: “I’ll admit that it’s a little unfair to lay such a heavy burden on you. I wish that my generation had done more to solve some of our country’s big problems, so you didn’t have to. But the good news is that I know you’re up to the challenge. You are the best-educated generation in history.”
In her own remarks, Mrs. Obama said: “The tough part is, nobody has all the answers — if my generation did, trust me we’d have fixed all of this a long time ago.” “Life will always be uncertain,” she said. “It is a lesson that most of us get the chance to learn over the course of years and years — even decades — but one that you’re learning right now.”,
That was her second lesson, while former President Obama said, “Listen to each other, respect each other, and use all that critical thinking you’ve developed from your education to help promote the truth.”
“Finally, even if it all seems broken, have faith in our democracy,” he said. “Participate — and vote.”

In her speech, his wife said: “Anger is a powerful force. It can be a useful force. … But when anger is focused, when it’s channeled into something more — that is the stuff that changes history.”
“Graduates, you all are exactly what we need right now,” Mrs. Obama said, “and for the years and decades to come.”

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