When Barack Obama addresses the nation to present his economic recovery plan, I hope the President will take the opportunity to speak to our heads, our hearts, and our hopes.
Speak to our heads: we can handle the truth. Show us the numbers behind the economic crisis and what they mean to our communities. We've been burned before -- from the WMDs, "mushroom clouds" and purported 9/11 connections in Iraq to the sky-is-falling-over-wall-street-so-give-us-700-billion-or-else TARP threats -- so forgive us our skepticism and walk us through the problem with candor not defensiveness. Show us the federal investment spending -- how it will address our pocketbook concerns and position us to compete in a 21st century economy with modern jobs, healthcare, education, and energy policy. Charts, graphics, and citations always help. Show us the federal tax cut spending -- how your $235 billion in tax cuts in your first three weeks are larger
Speak to our hearts: we can fix this together. You often speak in a three-part arc: first outlining the problems, then addressing the obstacles to progress, then telling us what we can do together to make change. We need that now. Our biggest obstacle to progress is cynicism. Fight it: remind us why we should be our brother and sister's keeper when some of our brothers and sisters were reckless or greedy or not the good citizens we strive to be. We need to know that we are not powerless to change our individual circumstances and that those who benefit from our goodwill will not abuse it (again) without consequence.
Speak to our hopes: frankly, we're angry and scared, but we still believe in a better future. Ours is not an emotional anger or childish fear, but a slow burning fury at the recklessness and greed that contributed to this mess, and a deep anxiety for our families and our future. You tapped into this two years ago when you began your campaign, saying "Americans are in a sober place" looking for serious solutions. In electing you we chose hope over fear. Remind us now that we can do this. When your speech ends and the reporters cross-examine you on every conceivable line in your plan, run through this again -- our heads, our hearts, our hopes -- so we can see how your priorities help us meet ours. We know you didn't create this problem, but we hired you to clean it up. We know you need our help in thanking or urging our leaders to vote with you, so call us to action and we will help you deliver the change we promised each other.