Real Clear Politics has the video and transcript of comment that President Obama made to graduates of Ohio State University yesterday during his commencement address there (full transcript of his speech here).
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. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems. We shouldn’t want to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. And as citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us, it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.
Oh class of 2013, reject President Obama’s advice, don’t reject those voices. Welcome them. Tyranny is always lurking around the corner, and that has been the case since even before the ink was dry on the Constitution. At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall after the final day of deliberation he was asked what kind of government we have.
Franklin said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
If we never had to worry about tyranny why did Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Colonel Charles Yancey dated January 6, 1816 write, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.”
We have a press that has been unwilling to report anything critical of the Obama administration. You have a growing number of high school graduates who have a growing ignorance of the Constitution, our Founders and Civics in general… yes we should be concerned.
Educate yourself, have a healthy amount of skepticism and realize that a growing government with a complacent press IS a threat to freedom.