COLUMBUS, Ohio - President Barack Obama is telling college graduates that only their generation can break the cycle of a political system consumed by "small things" that works for the benefit of a few.
Obama gave his first commencement address of the year at Ohio State University on Sunday.
The president told students that if they engage in democracy, they can make sure they inherit a country that has lived up to its potential.
Obama mentioned that young people in earlier generations helped secure equal rights for women, workers and gays.
He asked them to reject cynics who say government is the root of all problems.
Obama is to give two other commencement speeches later this month -- at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and Morehouse College in Atlanta.