Watching the State of the Union Address last night, we didn’t hear too much about young people, but what we heard was good: more assistance with college tuition, and an endorsement of a path to citizenship for young people who want to "staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country." Much of the speech focused on the economy and how to create jobs and ease the burden of unemployment and income inequity, while the President also touched on energy reform and the his achievements while in office. Here’s a roundup of reactions to the speech from media and the blogosphere:
State of the Union: Obama appeals — again — for unity (Washington Post)
In this election year, it might be too much to hope that the spirit Obama invoked in the House chamber tonight will stay. But the nation depends on it happening. The 535 members of the House and Senate were sent to Washington to get things done on the voters’ behalf. It’s about time they got to work.
President Obama spoke with a level confidence and command I haven’t seen in a long while. It seems that this speech marks the official start to his 2012 re-election campaign.
Obama To Congress: Make College Affordable, Invest in Worker Training (Campus Progress)
During the address, Obama called on members of Congress to prioritize the middle class, including by making college more affordable and investing in worker training. And he put colleges and universities “on notice” to ensure Americans can afford degrees.
Obama grabbed hold of the debate over taxes and reframed it as a debate over opportunity and fairness. That’ll be a welcome change for the broad swath of communities from which Democrats are seeking support, not just for Obama, but for congressional races as well.
There were appeals to what unites Americans, and even to what may unite the warring parties in Washington. But the spirit and bite of the address were not found in these moments, but in the throwing down of the gauntlet.
A slide show of interesting visuals from the broadcast.
If you’re interested in reading ongoing commentary about the speech, its impact, and what it means for the 2012 election, check out Slate, Salon, and DailyKos. And share your own thoughts about what it means for youth activism and reproductive and sexual health and rights, right here!