Former president Barack Obama made fun of his big ears and pointed some sly jabs at Donald Trump (without mentioning his name) as he called on teens to change the world in an online commencement speech for high schoolers across the nation.
Obama was the featured speaker Saturday night in the nationally televised event “Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020.”
He assured his audience that after this, they wouldn’t miss having a live graduation, warning that speakers like him can talk “way too long.” Besides, the caps don’t look that great, “especially if you have big ears like me,” he quipped.
But he also made an inspiring appeal to grads to make the world a better place, and base their lives on “honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others.”
Do the right thing, he advised.
“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy, that’s how little kids think,” he said, before adding what seemed like a reference to Trump. “Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups — including some with fancy titles and important jobs — still think that way. Which is why things are so screwed up.”
He called on young people to take action to address “deep-seated” problems in America, from “massive economic inequality to ongoing racial disparities to a lack of basic health care” that have been “laid bare” by COVID-19.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick,” he said. “Our society and our democracy only work if we think not just about ourselves, but about each other.”
A big problem is “all those adults that you used to think were in charge and thought they knew what they were doing don’t have all the answers,” he said. “A lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions.”
This year’s graduating class will have to grow up fast because of the pandemic, Obama warned.
“Don’t be afraid,” he urged. “But if we’re going to get through these difficult times, if we’re going to create a world where everyone has opportunities ... If we’re going to save the environment and defeat future pandemics, then we’re going to have to do it together.”
Check out the entire speech in the video up top.