Tonight President Obama has the unique opportunity to engage young progressives and all Americans, setting the tone for two years of principled presidential leadership. With this current session of Congress so far marked by an assassination attempt, a Congressional vote to repeal the much needed health care reform, and divisive partisan dialogue dominating the airwaves, young progressives are looking to Obama for leadership, inspiration and the promise that tomorrow will be better than today.
Young progressives, who are part of the "Millennial Generation," are a product of 9/11, the financial collapse and over a decade of wars in the Middle East. Millennials, one of the largest generations, have been most adversely impacted by the Great Recession and yet, are one of the least partisan generations according to the book Generation We written by Eric Greenberg. Greenberg writes in his book that Millennials have the most homogeneous value set of any generation with the majority of young people sharing the same views about sexual equality, ending culture wars, providing a strong social fabric for society, creating a culture of responsibility for the environment, international relations, and the economy. They are thought to be more progressive compared with past generations and they share the independent tactical priorities for those who govern about need to collaborate and compromise for the good of America. According to Greenberg, Millennials believe that public servants should prioritize what is best for America and not what scores the most political points.
As the executive director of a non-profit called New Leaders Council, I meet with young progressives across America, who are a large segment of the Millennial generation, to help them accomplish their personal and professional dreams. I know how important they will be in building a brighter future for America. As part of America's largest potential voting block, young progressives want to see President Obama build on commonalities, not differences of the American people, create bridges instead of blockades within Congress and tone down the political rhetoric that has been a cause of civil angst among Americans.
Tonight, millions of people will be watching the State of the Union and undoubtedly young progressives will be listening intently to the President while tweeting, Facebooking and blogging their thoughts about his speech to their friends and families.
To start that conversation off, I'd like to hear from those within and beyond the NLC community and understand what you think President Obama should say tonight. What should his goals be for the next year? How can he work with Congress to solve America's problems? What do you hope young progressives take away from his speech and how can Millennials contribute to a better, brighter society?