Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thoughts on the State of the Union

Last night the President delivered the State of the Union Address, his last in office. It was an admittedly subdued event with most of the media attention focused on the race for his successor (I was a bit surprised this morning to find that even The Washington Post did not publish the text of the speech).

I do believe, however, that we can take several key intergenerational points from the speech last night. The President discussed the need to increase access to childcare and assistance for military families. I commend the president for his proposal to allow spouses and other family members of veterans the ability to use their unused education vouchers. These families, many of them held together by grandparents, need our support while their loved ones serve abroad.

I also commend the President for challenging both young and old to volunteer and serve in AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps. The President also said we need to prepare our kids to read and succeed in school with improved early childhood development programs. We certainly do – that’s why GU’s Seniors4Kids (http://www.seniors4kids.org) is committed to mobilizing older adults in support of universal, high-quality pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds. Education benefits all. What better legacy can older adults provide than offering top-notch education for children, the leaders of tomorrow?

As attention increasingly turns to the upcoming presidential campaign, I encourage all of you to examine what the candidates’ proposals are to unite generations and find solutions that benefit all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Political Myopia

Gene Steuerle writes a great series called The Government We Deserve for the Urban Institute (you can sign up to receive them by e-mail here). His most recent column, Thinking Long Term at the New Year, is a clear-headed look our political myopia. Gene only hints at the potential intergenerational consequences of ignoring the long view, but I'm going to ask your indulgence for a little New Year speculation of my own. I think this year's Presidential election will focus our minds on our core values. I also think that our core values can keep up with our longer lifespans if we hold fast to the ideal that the risks of aging, and indeed of living, should be spread amongst us. Society is a risk-sharing device. Of course there are inherent risks and rewards in this commitment to one another. But the rewards of a little intergenerational cooperation far outweigh the risks.