Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Obamas to break ground Tuesday on presidential center in Chicago A simple fix can bring revolutionary change to health spending MORE said Wednesday he plans to use his new production deal with Netflix to combat political divisiveness.
At an event hosted by software company Okta in Las Vegas, Obama said that the new multiyear deal he and the former first lady announced with Netflix earlier this week will be focused on identifying and promoting stories that create better understanding between people with different views.
"President Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObamas to break ground Tuesday on presidential center in Chicago Michelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies MORE have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series for Netflix, potentially including scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features," the company said on Monday.
Obama said he hoped the stories would help advance past the divisive political discourse that has plagued Washington for decades.
"Everyone has a story that is pretty sacred," Obama said, according to Business Insider. These stories, he continued, lead to relationships that result in people learning to work together.
"We want to tell stories," Obama said. "This [Netflix deal] becomes a platform. We are interested in lifting people up and identifying people doing amazing work."
"We did this in the White House," he continued.
"For instance, the very first time Lin-Manuel Miranda performed the first song in 'Hamilton' was at the White House at a poetry slam we did," he said.
Obama said he wants to tell stories that "are important and lift up and identify talent that can amplify the connections between all of us."
"I continue to believe that if we are hearing each other's stories and recognizing ourselves in each other, then our democracy works," he continued. "We are all human. I know this sounds trite, and yet, right now globally we have competing narratives."
Obama said there's "a clash in the two ways of seeing the world" that can result in partisanship and people feeling threatened.
He said he hopes that instead of divisiveness, people are led by the ideals of freedom and democracy so they “can think and reason and connect and set up institutions based on rule of law and a sense of principals and the dignity and worth of every individual."
"I'm putting my money on the latter way," Obama concluded. "That's what we hope to be a voice to, through Netflix and through my foundation, where we're identifying and training the next generation of leaders here in the United States and around the world. So they can start sharing their stories and cooperating."