Three primary developments over the last few years are likely driving the president's assessment that the economics and politics of climate change have evolved sufficiently to create an opening for national action.
When President Obama announced that "the state of our union is stronger," his annual address captured the attention of a powerful but under-appreciated voting bloc -- unmarried women.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined his vision for a growing American economy driven by a rising, thriving middle class. It's a bold plan that builds on the achievements of his first term to promote opportunity for every American.
There is a tradition in the black church named "call and response." It's simply the experience of the preacher "calling" and the congregation "responding." Obama is ready to issue "calls" to the American people, over the heads of the Washington politicians and pundits. It's time for our response.
I was invited to be at the State of the Union with the First Lady, but I was holding the seat for countless military spouses, across all branches of service, and their family members.
That is how the president has changed public discourse. He has changed it at the level that counts, the deepest level, the moral level. What can make that change persist? What will allow such an ideal citizenry to come into existence?
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Obama's vision is broad, challenging the good versus evil, hyper-moralized political scripts which dominate today on both right and left. In contrast, today higher education leaders often contribute to the latter.
An AIDS-free generation is within our reach -- but the choice President Obama makes in the next few weeks on the budget he sends to Congress will be more than a signal.
Despite a nod to trade agreements and foreign aid, the speech pointed to an America that is far more intent on fixing its damaged labor market, revitalizing its middle class, and restoring its frayed social fabric than on projecting its economic vision abroad.
I never, ever thought I would hear a president of the United States, much less a president in the State of the Union address, call for universal preschool. But two nights ago, I listened to President Obama do just this.
Until mainstream Republicans stand up to that radical view, there is little likelihood that the president can craft a bipartisan deal to avert sequestration--or, for that matter, reach any compromise on any of the pressing issues facing the country going forward.
Desiline Victor's story and others like it make a powerful case for congressional action to retain and strengthen the EAC and should drive the work of state legislators and the president's new commission as well.
We've responded to all these events by becoming a generation of pragmatic idealists who believe that we have both the opportunity and the obligation to leave the world in better shape than we found it. So why is there so little Millennial representation in Congress?
Climate change is more difficult. It's a complicated challenge that is global in scale, and it's got a longer time horizon. But like those other issues, it requires -- urgently requires -- a strong commitment to short-term action.
There's a little of Christopher Dorner, without the violence, in all of us. That terrible loss of faith in this country expressed in Dorner's manifesto, and experienced daily by many disgruntled Americans these days, is the true state of our union.