Despite his insistence that politics have no place in commencement addresses, President Obama again extended his dedication to partisanship when he spoke to the graduating class at Ohio State University about their future, while defending the government’s general role in society and the economy. The president insisted that anti-government statements are nothing more than rhetoric used to “gum up the works” and are intended only to damage community, civic duty, and economic progress.
An audience of over 57,000 almost filled the university’s football stadium for the ceremony, 10,000 of whom were expected to receive their diplomas. While emphasizing the economic peril that has burdened their generation — asserting his age-old “worst since the Great Depression” catchphrase — Obama reminded the class of 2013 of the utmost importance of serving their communities.
Obama’s Sunday excursion to Ohio University was his fifth to the campus in the past year — as he worked tirelessly to court young voters during the 2012 election cycle — but his first visit in his second term, which has been ridden with a number of contentious political issues, including immigration, gun control, and the ongoing woes of the federal deficit. The president heatedly defended his big-government ideology to graduates, advising them to ignore statements that discourage government expansion.
“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems,” Obama said at the commencement ceremony. “They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”
The president also imparted his belief that the economy is continuing its recovery and that hope lingers on the horizon for young working Americans. Contending that employment is on the rise, he insisted that Americans have “a sense of civic duty,” and that newer generations will help thrust the United States deeper into prosperity with individual compassion and an influx of new ideas:
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