Weekly Address: The State of American Politics

The President:
Hi, everybody. I’m speaking to you today
from Springfield, Illinois. I spent eight years in
the state senate here. It was a place where, for
all our surface differences in a state as
diverse as Illinois, my colleagues and I actually
shared a lot in common. We fought for
our principles, and voted against
each other, but because we assumed
the best in one another, not the worst, we found
room for progress. We bridged differences
to get things done. In my travels
through this state, I saw most Americans
do the same. Folks know that issues
are complicated, and that people with
different ideas might have a point. It convinced me that if we
just approached our politics the same way we approach
our daily lives, with common sense, a
commitment to fairness, and the belief that we’re
all in this together, there’s nothing we can’t do. That’s why I
announced, right here, in Springfield that I was
running for President. And my faith in the
generosity and fundamental goodness of the American
people is rewarded every day. But I’ll be the first to
admit that the tone of our politics hasn’t gotten
better, but worse. Too many people feel like
the system is rigged, and their voices
don’t matter. And when good people
are pushed away from participating in
our public life, more powerful and extreme
voices will fill the void. They’ll be the ones who gain
control over decisions that could send a young
soldier to war, or allow another
economic crisis, or roll back the rights that
generations of Americans have fought to secure. The good news is there’s
also a lot we can do about this, from reducing the
influence of money in our politics, to changing the
way we draw congressional districts, to simply
changing the way we treat each other. That’s what I came back here
to talk about this week. And I hope you check
out my full speech at WhiteHouse.gov. One thing I focused
on, for example, was how we can make voting
easier, not harder, and modernize it for
the way we live now. Here in Illinois, a new law
allows citizens to register and vote at the polls
on Election Day. It also expands
early voting, which makes it much easier
for working folks and busy parents. We’re also considering
automatic voter registration for every citizen when
they apply for a driver’s license. And I’m calling on more
states to adopt steps like these. Because when
more of us vote, the less captive our
politics will be to narrow interests – and the better
our democracy will be for our children. Nine years after I first
announced for this office, I still believe in
a politics of hope. And for all the challenges
of a changing world; for all the imperfections
of our democracy; choosing a politics of hope
is something that’s entirely up to each of us. Thanks, everybody.

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