A Community-Minded Generation

Much has been made of the vitality that President Obama brings to the White House.  To be sure, this is in part the story of his relative youth—only Clinton, Grant, Kennedy, and Theodore Roosevelt were younger when assuming the office—but it’s also a function of his ability to convince the millennial generation (or vocalize the millennial generation’s belief) that their voices matter.  Given the size and scope of the challenges facing our nation, we need young people to see the stake that they have in their communities.    

There is reason, then, to be optimistic about our future.  The dramatic increase in young voter turnout is one positive sign, but perhaps even more encouraging is the number of young people running for, and winning, elected office at the local level.  Last Tuesday’s local elections in Wisconsin, for example, saw the election of a 22 year old mayor, a 24 year old mayor, an 18 year old alderperson, and a 25 year old alderperson.  This was one day, in one state, but it’s reflective of a larger trend of increased involvement by young people in their communities.

Younger voices in local civic affairs will, hopefully, lead to revitalization in the form of new ideas and long-term thinking.  And there's good reason to believe that coming of age in an era of heightened inequality has led them to see the importance of a society that works for all of us.  If they make good on this promise, the "millenial" generation will soon be known as the "opportunity" generation.

Tags: community, Millenials, the opportunity agenda, Values (all tags)


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