Editor’s Note: The Millennial Voices series is written by and for Millennials to foster nonpartisan discussion. Karlee Ursta is a junior at American University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
The 2015 State of the Union (SOTU) address had everyone talking, specifically the generation of Americans known as “Millennials.”
Immediately following the speech, MAP’s President Steven Olikara discussed the policy issues mentioned by President Barack Obama and what they mean for Millennials with Global Voice Hall at their State of the Union watch party.
According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are the most educated generation of Americans to date, with roughly eighty percent of us having completed a four-year degree or being currently enrolled in an undergraduate program. Millennials are also the most financially burdened Americans, due in part to the student loans that accompany higher education.
Young Americans in this age group believe that real change can’t come from the traditional government institution, but instead from social entrepreneurship. With this in mind, we reached out to more than a dozen students enrolled at American University in Washington, DC to gauge the reactions of Millennial conservatives, liberals, and independents to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
1. Free community college education: #Winning or #WTH?
President Obama spoke about lowering community college costs to nothing, much like American public high schools.
2. Social dynamics of race and gender: What’s black, white, and trending all over?
The president barely touched on possibly the biggest social cleavage of our time: The fiery events in Ferguson, Missouri that sparked an inferno across the nation. He did, however, speak about LGBTQ equality, becoming the first president to openly broach the topic in a SOTU address.
3. Climate change: 99 problems and all of them are carbon emissions.
President Obama thinks that the most threatening foreign policy issue facing our generation is climate change.
4. The economy: No more wolves on Wall Street?
President Obama touched on the fact that our economy is in recovery from the last recession and is on the verge of a potent new era of strength.
5. Free and open Internet: Our generation’s “final frontier?”
The president vowed to protect free and open internet for every community in America.
In conclusion, we Millennials have one overarching goal that crosses party lines: The restructuring of American politics. To Millennials, “compromise” is not a situation wherein no one gets what they want; instead, Millennials understand that discussion and true post-partisanship, despite differing ideologies, is how we effectuate change.
Millennials are here, they are bold, and they are ready to create a new America.
Karlee Ursta is a MAP Operations Intern and is attending American University where she she majors in International Studies and minors in Biology. She recently spent four months living in Ireland and traveling through Europe. Her career goal is to one day blend her two favorite subjects, science and politics, into something she can make a living off of.
As a tax-exempt nonprofit organization governed by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Millennial Action Project (MAP) is generally prohibited from attempting to influence legislative bodies in regards to policy and legislation. It is important to note guest authors frequently take firm stances on issues and policy matters that are currently being debated by policymakers; when they do, however, they speak for themselves and not for MAP, its board, council or employees.