Friday, June 20, 2008

Millennial Vision

As a card-carrying Baby Boomer, who like so many in my generation has made a fetish out of staying young of heart, I admit to having viewed with skepticism claims by my good friend Neil Howe that today's rising generation, the Millennials, is somehow of a different cut. After all, we Boomers in our time redefined youth not just as an age group, but as a fiercely independent attitude informed by distrust of our parents' and grandparents' political agendas. We were determined to imprint our vision of the future on an America that still hadn't gotten it right in so many ways. And in this regard, the Youth Entitlement Summit (YES) was a real eye-opener.

Our ideologically balanced panel of young leaders was asked to take a hard look at some of the most intractable political issues of our time. And they emerged with a remarkable consensus-framework for action. Where I had expected strong disagreement, I found instead the courage to agree. To be sure, Millennials are every bit as independent as we were at a similar age. But if YES was a fair representation of this generation's capacity for constructive leadership, America is in for a very different -- and, I would say, more optimistic -- future than many of us had imagined.

Skeptics and believers alike should visit this link to C-SPAN's coverage of the remarkable discussion that took place in our final meeting.

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