October 4th, 2009
06:10 AM ET

Dear President Obama #258: Jobs amid the passing storm

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama came into office saying he wanted advice from citizens. That seems like a long time ago, but nonetheless, I press on with a letter a day to the White House offering my ideas. I have yet to be restrained by either Secret Service or mental health authorities.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Here’s a travel tip. If you are willing to get up at six o’clock on a weekend morning in New York, you can get any table you want in any restaurant that is open. Morning came earlier than I wanted after working so late, but the reward, as I mentioned yesterday, was a totally excellent breakfast at the MorningStar. I sat by an open window, the only person in the place, and enjoyed a cool breeze blowing in over the damp pavement. It was no longer raining, so the city was waking up in a better mood than it went to sleep, and I had a good time munching bacon and watching people drift past.

Across the street, a little grocery had a great pile of pumpkins stacked up, and they looked particularly nice as the light of dawn slowly crept up. I’ve always enjoyed gray days. Not sure why. I’ve always felt as if they quiet things down, and add a certain closeness to the world that bright sunny days do not.

Anyway, I’m at the airport waiting to burn back to DC as I write this. And I am thinking about those latest unemployment numbers getting so close to 10 percent. Actually, to be more specific, I am thinking about bad news. One of the unfortunate trends of our culture over the past 30 years, (or heck, for all I know, maybe it’s always been this way, but it seems to me that it has been trending up) is that we don’t seem to have much patience for bad news. Whether we are talking about homelessness, or health insurance, or global warming, or a war, or ethics, or….joblessness…our attention span for facing our problems seems to have become tres “pop.” By that, I mean, we try to treat profound issues the same way we treat celebrity scandals; as if we can simply pick them up for our amusement for a few days or weeks, and then just drop them when something else shiny comes our way.

You know, and I know, and I suppose everyone who bothers to think about it knows, that just does not work. Worse, I think that flash and trash approach actually makes some of these things worse. After all, if the foundation of your house is shifting and the walls are cracking as a result, the impulse to simply repaint over the damage is high…but disastrous.

As you can see, I woke up rambling as badly as I did when I went to bed. On the other hand, I feel like I am in a better mood overall and perhaps recovering my pledge to think a bit more positively about things. So in that frame of mind, let me add this: The converse is also true. I’ve always found that when I engage serious issues in my life, and stick with my efforts to solve them, invariably I find solutions. And I suspect if we, as a culture, can engage our problems, keep our hopes up, and continue working, eventually our economic troubles will pass too…like rainclouds in the night.

I suspect I’ll be boarding shortly, so I’ll shut down. The girls have their Homecoming dance this weekend. First time with both of them in high school. Their dresses are so cool! Call if you can and I’ll send a pic message so your girls can see.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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