The East Room was transformed yesterday as three YouTube stars recreated their libraries and living rooms for an interview with the President. Nearly 500,000 viewers tuned in live as YouTube creators Hank Green, GloZell, and Bethany Mota sat down for one-on-one interviews that covered topics from education and gridlock in Washington, to Cuba policy and how to get more young people engaged in politics.
During the event, President Obama signed something special for Hank Green: a picture of him holding a pharmacy receipt. "I have a chronic condition," Hank said, "and it's expensive to manage. But before I had insurance I could not take this medication. It's about $1,100 a month. And that is a receipt showing the $5 a month. So Obamacare has worked for me. So thanks for that."
Bethany Mota, a 19-year-old with a younger online audience, asked the President about why the younger generation should get involved in politics. Here's what he said:
There is no decision in our lives basically that isn’t touched in some way by the laws that we have. And we’re really lucky that we live in a democracy where our voice matters...It’s as simple as this: You decide you guys want to go see a movie and you got a group of friends, and somehow you got to figure out which movie you’re going to go see, because not everybody is going to agree all the time. And you’re going to have to have a debate and you’re going to have to make an argument, and then eventually you’re going to have to compromise -- otherwise you guys aren’t going to be hanging out together too much. Well, the same is true for our country.
We’ve got to make decisions about which direction we’re going to go on in, what we’re going to be doing, how we’re going to spend our money, how we’re going to treat each other. And you don’t want to be the person who just says, okay, whatever you guys want to do, I’ll just do that.
You want to express your voice and your values and what you care about. And that’s what politics is.
It’s not really that complicated, it’s just -- it’s something that people do all the time with their friends and with their family. And they negotiate, they compromise, they try to figure out how do we live together. And this is just done at a national level. And some of the issues get pretty complicated, but usually the values are the same ones that you talk about all the time: how do we treat each other with kindness; how do we look after one another; how are we fair to each other.
I think that young people usually have good instincts, but sometimes they just get turned off by all the noise and yelling on TV, and that’s not how politics has to be.
Watch the full interview here, and stay tuned for videos from Hank, GloZell, and Bethany about their interview with the President and trip to D.C.