In The Know

Obama discusses why ‘change is hard in this country’

“By design, change is hard in this country,” says former President Obama.
“By design, change is hard in this country,” says former President Obama.

Former President Obama is urging Americans not to get frustrated by the slow pace of progress, while discussing the federal government — and showing off his sandwich-making skills — in a new Netflix show he produced.

“Here’s the thing that we have to remind ourselves: By design, change is hard in this country,” Obama told host Adam Conover in the sixth and final episode of Netflix’s “The G Word.”

The limited series premiered Thursday on the streaming site and “pulls back the curtain on the surprising ways the US government impacts our everyday lives, from the mundane to the life changing,” according to a promotional site. The documentary-style comedy show is produced by the Obamas’ company, Higher Ground Productions, as part of the multiyear Netflix deal the former first family inked in 2018.

“I guarantee you that there’s no president who was ever elected who doesn’t at some point think, ‘Ah, make me king for a day and I can just issue my edicts,’” Obama said during a discussion with Conover about change taking time.

“We don’t want a situation where an all-powerful, all-knowing individual or small set of individuals are able to make decisions for everybody. So we’re going to disperse power, which means things happen slower,” Obama said.

“The only thing we can’t do is lapse into cynicism and say, well, because this hasn’t changed at the pace that it should, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Conover pressed the ex-commander in chief after he said that when a president is elected, there’s a “window of opportunity for us to make some changes.”

“Typically it’s not going to be 100 percent of what you want, but if we make things 10 percent better —” Obama said, before Conover interjected, “Yeah, but 10 percent for climate change isn’t enough.”

“When you ran in ‘08 you were the change guy,” Conover told Obama. “You didn’t run on, ‘Hey, if we made things 10 percent better.'”

“That’s completely fair,” Obama replied.

“It turns out [former Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell [(R-Ky.)] was elected, too. Precisely because the country is a big, diverse, complicated place.”

Obama advised Americans to “find the thing that you’re passionate about, that angers you, that frustrates you, and you try to get some like-minded citizens to start changing.”

“You also have to remind yourself that government isn’t just the federal government — government is state government, government is city government, government is county government. So a whole bunch of decisions that are being made, aren’t being made by the president, they’re being made by somebody who’s probably elected by 1,000 [or] 10,000 voters.”

Obama’s chat with Conover came after the pair crafted a snack suggested by the 44th president: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

“I’m very particular about how you make PB&J,” Obama said during the lighthearted segment. “You have to get every corner,” he advised as he spread the ingredients on the bread.

Tags Adam Conover Barack Obama Higher Ground Higher Ground Productions Hope and change Netflix Systemic change The G Word

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video