Editor's Note: President Obama says he wants normal citizens to give him ideas about how to run the government. As a result, I am writing a letter every day with my suggestions. Some of us take our civic responsibility seriously.
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/28/art.obama02.gi.jpg caption="Obama lifts a cold one during the campaign season."]
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I think you’ll agree that my letters thus far have been largely positive. I have tried to be encouraging, supportive, and optimistic about your ideas. But today I have a bone to pick with you.
Where are all those normal Americans you claimed such close kinship with during the election? It occurred to me as I saw you in yet another photo op surrounded by hot shot power players, that since inauguration day I have not seen you hoist a beer, sit down in a diner, or go bowling even once. (O.K, the bowling part, I understand, although the argument could be made for practice. Remember, there will be re-election to consider.) Still, it seems like back during the campaign you couldn’t make it four hours without basking in the wisdom of normal folks. Now, as the actual business is being conducted, they are nowhere to be seen.
I’m not Johnny-Come-Populist saying you should waste time posing with Andy and Aunt Bea just so it looks like you’re in touch with common Americans. What I’m saying is that one of the principle appeals of your candidacy was that people felt you understood them; their worries, their hardships, their hopes. And they believed you when you said Washington gets too wrapped up in itself and forgets what it is like to pay a power bill, sweat out a layoff, or be ignored by the people in charge.
My suggestion: invite a few regular Americans into some of these high-powered meetings. They don’t have to talk, but like election watchers, they can observe. Score some economists from state universities, and some mayors from medium size towns, and a half-dozen small business owners. Get a teacher, an engineer, the guy who runs the Dairy Queen. Get all different political views, ages, races, religious beliefs. Let them be in the picture when all these big decisions are being made about how to fix our economy and green up industry and so on. Then encourage them to come out and talk freely about what they hear.
If nothing else it will force your experts to explain in plain language how all these far-reaching plans will work, and that could do an awful lot to raise hopes and confidence in the face of this landslide of layoffs we’re seeing. Otherwise, what are we left with? A picture of you and the big shots saying “Trust me.” That’s how we got into this mess, and that’s the very kind of government you ran against.
Not trying to wreck on you. I’m just saying. Call when you get a minute.
Find more of the Foreman letters here.
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