Obama: ‘You get the politicians you deserve’

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Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday repeated calls for increased engagement in the democratic process during an appearance in Italy, saying that “you get the politicians you deserve.”

“People have a tendency to blame politicians when things don’t work,” Obama said during a Q-and-A session at the Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan.

“But as I always tell people, you get the politicians you deserve. And if you don’t vote and if you don’t participate and if you don’t pay attention, then you’ll get policies that don’t reflect your interests.”


The comment echoes Obama’s calls in several post-White House appearances for renewed civic engagement in the U.S. and abroad.

Last month, in his first public speech since leaving office in January, Obama said he wanted to help develop the next generation of leaders and encouraged active participation in politics.

“The one thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that, yes we confront a whole range of challenges,” he said to a crowd of students at the University of Chicago.

“All those issues are serious and daunting, but they are not insoluble. What is preventing us from tackling them and making more progress really has to do with our politics and our civil life.”

Obama has refrained from mentioning President Trump in public appearances since leaving the White House. Obama criticized Trump sharply during the 2016 presidential campaign, but has remained relatively quiet during his predecessor’s first months in office.

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