In the first debate, sir, you blew it. I regret being so direct but where was the fire? The passion? The vision for the future?
Four years ago, I voted for you, as did millions of other hopeful Americans, not because we're devoted to the Democratic party. But I voted for you because I believe in you, your values, as well as your vision for this country.
But where were you, sir, in this first debate?
My daughter, a "20-something" who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., watched, as I did, with mcuh anticipation. Her first text to me by phone, however, went something like this:
"Dad, what's wrong with Obama tonight?"
I could feel the concern in her question. Frankly, I was asking myself the same thing. Just as bewildered as she, I wrote back in a way so as not to let her know, at least at first, of my consternation, too, "Whatever could you mean?"
Immediately, she responded: "He looks tired, even bored, or just disengaged."
And then, her most crushing question, "Does he want to be president anymore? I can't tell!"
I couldn't either. So, do you?
I had flashbacks, and painfully so, to the last days of the Jimmy Carter era. You might just have sacrificed your chances at being re-elected and, as a consequence, will be remembered as just another idealistic, one-term Carter.
I hope not. I believe in you. I believe in your policies and I do believe you need another four years for the difference you wish to make to be more fully realized in the economic, political, civil and social structures of this country. So, yes, I will be voting for you. And, I'm pretty sure my daughter will be, too.
Here's why I will. I suspect some of these are the same reasons many others will, too. What difference it will make now, however, we'll all see soon enough. If it isn't too late, I implore you, sir, as a leadership coach myself, before the next debate, you must look deeply within yourself and find, once again, your voice...
Your voice for a world where the equality of opportunity is available to all. Not just educational equality but equality for all people, regardless of their race, religion or sex. That IS the voice I heard from you four years ago, as did my daughter and millions of others.
Your voice for the diminishing middle class in the United States. Like you, there are many of us who believe it is that group, without which, America increasingly becomes a nation of "haves-and-have-nots."
Your voice for the rebuilding of the infrastructure of this country, not only because it needs it, but because it is one of the roles of government; it is a viable means of rebuilding a strong middle class; and, it is a way to create millions of middle class jobs.
Your voice of peace and justice throughout the world and especially for and between Palestinians and Jews.
Your voice of respect for our brave soldiers, demonstrated by your determination to end the madness of the Bush-era wars and bring our soldiers home.
I could go on. Suffice to say, Mr. President, this I've briefly described IS the president for whom I voted four years ago. This IS the president for whom my daughter voted, as did millions of others.
Will you, sir, be our president again?
After this debate, I'm no longer certain. What I do know is this: You must find your voice. You must rediscover the leader within you.
I know it's there.