Sunday, August 29, 2010
Day 241- A reflective mood on a cloudy day
Dear Mr. President,
The interview you did with Brian Williams was encouraging. Your calm indifference to the rumors about your birth and religion is pretty much the only respectful way to answer such nonsense. When Mr. Williams asked you what you saw when you looked ahead, you responded "as I look forward, my central focus is going to be be to make sure that I'm constantly communicating with all segments of this country about why I feel optimistic about our future." I think this is an excellent goal and I believe that more effective communication is essential to the success of your administration. Especially given the grim economic circumstances, conveying an optimistic idea of the future will be a full-time challenge.
This hope you have for us was what drove your campaign to be successful. When the markets were crashing and things were getting worse by the day, your campaign continued to calmly promise better days. Even if it is hard for me to feel that hopeful today, I am emboldened to hear you speak of it still. I, like so many Americans, have fallen time and again to the cynicism and the pessimism that do little good. I have despaired that the progress we've made is not enough. That it was too slow, that you and your administration are no different and no better than your predecessors; that your desire to win elections had beaten your desire to do the right thing. I have thought these things, and worse. I have lost my hope that I could do anything to stop what was going wrong. I have been chided by my friends from the left and the right for my naive faith, and I let it get to me.
But I don't think that does any good. I don't think that hope or optimism does any one any harm. I haven't seen enough (or, perhaps, have seen too much) to know for sure that it does any good, but I know for certain it can't hurt. You have had it so much harder than me. You have seen friends turn on you, you have born the weight of every American life and home and job lost these last two years. You haven't lost your faith in us, or in this country. That makes me ashamed for my own capricious optimism. It comes down to this: I want to know that you're working for a better, more peaceful world. In your efforts to constantly communicate to this particular segment of the country (me), I hope that you do a better job explaining to me how you're doing that. Do this, and I promise to try harder to share your optimism for the future.
If any of you reading watched the full interview above, you probably saw the President and Brian Williams express their disbelief that what happened after Katrina could happen in America. I was struck by this, the implication that elsewhere that kind of devastation was to be expected. It is happening right now, and even worse, in Pakistan. I know that money is tight, but if you have anything to give, please donate to Pakistani flood relief. This shouldn't be acceptable anywhere.