Sunday, May 17, 2009

What He Should Say the Morning After

(originally published on 4/30/09)

I woke up this morning wondering if he remembers what he said to me last night...and more importantly, if he meant it.

Don’t worry - I’m not talking about some inappropriate, personal encounter. I’m talking about President Obama. I went to bed last night with his press conference on my mind and woke up to the fact that today is the first day after the first 100 days.

Now that the arbitrary time marker has passed, what is it that we want President Obama to whisper in the American ear to  give us confidence that the path he has set us on will be filled with the effective follow through and implementation of the foundation that he has been laying since January 20th?  What can he say to us now?

1. “I won’t back down.”
With the House and Senate both having passed the President’s unprecedented, budget just yesterday, many of the fights around the most important issues within it (i.e. a public option universal health care system and a Pell grant entitlement program) will continue into the summer. As the President’s proposals become increasingly bogged down between partisan bickering in Congress, those of us that support the most progressive aspects of his agenda, must be assured that he will not allow the spirit of compromise and pragmatism to water down his most ambitious goals  in the months ahead.

2.  “I’m not afraid. “
We have watched President Obama play the game like a pro – saying what he needed to say when he needed to say it and never going too far. But now we’re looking for him to say a little bit more. When is he going to stop talking about the middle class and start actually talking about poverty? When does he plan on touching the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? And need I ask again about crack/powder cocaine? How about looking big industry in the face and attacking the myth of clean coal? It’s time for him tell us firmly that he’s not afraid to take it there. 

3. “I still need you.” 
The President must continually remind the country of its own role in the process of turning our country around. Progressives – especially new young voters – are actively engaging in the civic and legislative processes and will continue to – especially if we feel as if our voices are valued and are being heard. We need the President to create an echo chamber between us and Congress that amplifies our effort and our stories. He must always remember that to get the work done, he need us just as much as we need him. 

This is what I need to hear on day 101. What about you?

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