taking the president seriously about citizenship

My new Huffington Post piece is entitled Taking the President Seriously About Citizenship. In it, I cite our recent work on the economic benefits of civic engagement and connect that to the President’s speech about citizenship in Charlotte. An excerpt:

Mr. Obama’s talk of citizenship usually draws applause and cheers, as it did when he accepted the Democratic nomination in Charlotte. But pundits and policymakers never pay attention to it. They regard talk of citizenship as a politician’s cliché — like saying you are delighted to be in New Hampshire in January. The only question reporters asked about the Charlotte speech was whether it had fallen flat or done the job. Nobody wrote about the substance of the citizenship idea.

I see two reasons for their lack of interest: pundits doubt that active citizenship has important consequences, and they don’t see its relevance to policy.

Scholars who empirically study the consequences of civic engagement can demonstrate that it has important consequence …

After summarizing some of those consequences, I argue that we need a concrete policy agenda for citizenship.

(I am obsessive about blogging here every day, and this was supposed to be yesterday’s post; but the Huffington Post can take more than 24 hours to approve submissions–hence the delay.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.