When President Obama spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative this past week (see RebootTheMedia: Huge Conversations Happening Today), he commended CGI’s achievements, which include nearly 2,000 commitments which have improved the lives of nearly 300 million people in more than 180 countries.
What struck us most about President Obama’s remarks, however, was when he said he envied Clinton. He pointed out that here, at CGI, leaders work together to solve the world’s problems — unlike Washington, where winning and losing along political party lines seems to be more important than getting things done.
President Clinton summed up that sentiment in his closing address to the conference:
“When you leave here, I think you should feel good about being part of the non government movement, but I do not think you should be anti-government. …and I think that we should all know that nobody can be a responsible citizen of his or her own community or country without being a citizen of the world. There are challenges we all face, and we have to face them together…
“I keep reading these surveys that show that young people…are getting increasingly discouraged, and I understand that at one level because, what the heck, everything was pretty good for a long time and now it’s not. But what I would say to them is, it’s okay to be realistic, but to be discouraged about your future is to make a decision in advance to be disappointed, and it is a cop-out.
“Nobody has a right to permanent prosperity–nobody has a right to a life free of challenges. Everybody is called upon at some time or another to re-imagine all the premises of their lives and the lives of their family and the lives of their nation, and to create a whole different future.
“You should be grateful that you’re living in a time when you’re being given a chance to build a new world.”