Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Symbolism Is Important
Dear President-Elect Barack Obama: This letter is written and offered as the sage advice of one of your staunchest supporters in getting this country back on track as the beacon of hope for the rest of the world as well as right here in the United States. Many of those who voted for you (including myself) did so because of your recognition of what I will characterize as the politics of inclusion. We recognized that for the past eight years the federal government actually functioned to serve the masters of our country; the drug and insurance companies, the CEOs and financial market whiz kids who structured deal after deal that have led us into our current economic crisis, and other king pins who sought to use the power base of the federal government to line their own nests at the expense of the public.. The voices of little people everywhere in these United States, Michigan and New Orleans, as examples, were rendered mute by both systematic action and incompetency of the current administration in carrying out its ideologic warfare. Your stated approach appeared to offer to us a different kind of approach that make us believe that the needs of those who really need help, would be given a priority consistent with the stated and founding values of our government (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). As you put your cabinet together, I must say that I am a bit concerned that your selection of people, while impressive, creates a sense that we may be headed for just the same old, same old. While I admire the notion that you invite dissenting points of view, my concern is that the persons selected may suffer from the same malady which is thought to inflict the occupant of the White House after being in place for awhile; viz, the isolation and insularity of Washington invites a myopia. Stated another way, it is easy to forget where you came from. I offer a suggestion: create a new cabinet office of a cabinet member-at-large. Select a citizen of the United States without known political experience or ties to the major parties. Allow that at-large member of your cabinet to participate in policy discussions to provide the "view from the street", so to speak. It wouldn't have to cost much. Hell, I'd do it for nothing and I am certain that many well-meaning Americans would too. The inclusion of "us" would be a powerful inclusionary act which would symbolize what your administration is all about. Symbolism is important.