Dear Mr. President,
Since taking office, I've noticed a decided turn in your use of language, shifting from the more aspirational, unifying, and visionary language of the campaign to the more nuts-and-bolts language of policies and interests.
I think that shift has been a mistake, for it undermines what I believe is your single most important role for the American people.
Seen from the broadest possible view, the health and success of America depends on our evolution - our growth in goodness, the actualization of our highest potential, the lifting of both average citizens and exceptional leaders to new heights of wisdom, innovation, and integrity. The deepest function of a President is to quicken and accelerate that evolution through word and deed.
Traditional Democrats are urging you to just talk about the economy and getting people jobs. I agree that the first outer task is taking on Wall Street corruption and major economic reforms. However, the economy is but one aspect of our growth in consciousness as a nation. A narrow-minded focus on just the economy tends to reinforce our sense of separation and selfishness rather than our noblest purpose. Something deeper drives our ultimate success and that has to do with a dream that we have all quite literally incarnated to work on together.
I believe in that beautiful dream of leading the way in building a peaceful, sustainable, healthy and prosperous society, not just for us but for all nations. America's greatest gift is to help humanity dream our boldest dreams and fulfill our greatest potential. We are builders of a societal template that reflects our highest human aspirations and empowers our greatest freedoms. And we are all on the same team when it comes to building that template.
That is why we cannot settle for economic piracy, the purchasing of elections, and political nastiness. All of those things betray our highest purpose as a country.
With your position, you can be a clear, potent, and unflinching reminder for all Americans to reach for our highest potential and for us not to settle for the pettiness, selfishness, and self-absorption that has come to characterize our politics. We are called to something far greater and you are uniquely positioned to be a constant reminder of that.
To do so, though, you have to speak directly to the American soul with sincerity and power. Whether someone is a Republican, Independent or Democrat, they can feel when words are coming from a higher level. They may not agree. But they will listen. And they will move towards that level themselves since it naturally lifts people beyond polarizations and pettiness.
While you do not have the dictatorial power to impose legislative changes unilaterally, you do have a unique position from which to raise the spirits, vision, and confidence of our country. That is what you did so masterfully in your campaign. That function is not listed on your official list of presidential duties, but it is even more important now than during the campaign.
Politics is often the last place where we think to use soul-infused language. The separation of church and state should lead us to talk only about more practical matters such as costs and benefits, risks and rewards. But politics is where we express our societal goals. If those goals aim too low and reflect our baser nature, our nation enters a fog of forgetting and a deeper malaise sets in. Forgetting who we truly are is the most damaging thing that can happen - more so than terrorist attacks, economic crises, or partisan warfare.
Ultimately, nothing is more practical than the state of consciousness of the country. Our collective state of being determines everything else, from Wall Street reforms to education innovation to our entrepreneurial confidence.
I know that you are a deep believer in America's promise. And I know that you have shouldered an extraordinary task in turning around our government, one that has dampened some of your sparkle.
But I urge you now to remember in your State of the Union address to lift America's spirits and raise our aspirations. Speak from your highest knowing about who we are and what our mission is as a country. Help us to remember the best in our character and the nobility in our service. Dare to speak again to the soul of America and I believe our path forward will be cleared of many obstacles.
Follow Stephen H. Dinan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stephendinan