Paula Hendricks

Author ~:~ Writer ~:~ Book Designer ~:~ Book Producer

Open letter to Barack Obama

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I am a supporter. I’m going to vote for you. I’ve given, and will give, both money and time. I live in San Francisco and realize this is not one of your battleground states, but I feel so strongly about what we need to change that I need to tell you and I want, badly, more from you, too.

We are falling apart from the inside. These past months with the Mississippi flooding and the bridge in Minneapolis failing – was such a clear metaphor to me. Our infrastructure, and really, the way we manage our society, is falling apart. Lots of reasons why, but we are. And I think this is true of health care (was a misnomer, it should be called a disease care system,) of politics, of our belief in science, in energy, in absolutely every aspect of my American life. The middle class I was raised in is gone. It sickens me.

And on top of that we are not good world citizens. We are not good citizens when it comes to flexing our power, or to building strong alliances, or leading by example. We are morally bankrupt as well as fiscally.

So, it’s obvious, you are my candidate and I will vote for you. So, why am I writing? Because you aren’t going far enough, you aren’t telling us what we need to know, you aren’t wrapping this all up in one package.

I want “The New Frontier” or “The New Deal” – ok, ok, I used to be in advertising. You can come up with some name — You’ve got some god message experts there. I need something to wrap this all up in – because it is everything. You tell me about taxes on the one hand, and Iraq on the other, but like global warming (or the green movement, or sustainability – it’s about everything – it’s about the whole shebang, the whole ecosystem). Our ecosystem is broken and all pieces need to be fixed.

I want you to change the foundations of how we work as a country – we are talking about going back to of the people, by the people, for the people – about doing no harm to us first – whether you are government or business or corporations or utilities or lobbyists. The power structure doesn’t work for me as an individual, a citizen, on any level.

If you took global warming or sustainability or energy independence you could wrap everything up in it – wrap the middle class around it all. Instead of saying you will cut taxes (well yes, for under $250k but no for richer or for companies – all of a sudden it’s too complicated) why not come right out and say you are going to revamp the tax code to remedy the critical inequalities.

You also need to ask more of us. A lot of the applause and cheering is a sign that we want to work, work with you, work to make things better, but no one is actually asking us to anything – like they did with Kennedy and the Peace Corps and Head Start. You know where I’m going here.

We want a BIG Program, a big vision, and a sense of how it will all work together to rebuild American from the inside out – in line with our ideals, in line with the realities of the world, in line with what we can actually do. For many of us who lived through the 60s, you are close to offering us a way to make real what has been tarnished over the past 40 years – and to make it real. If we can get to the moon in 10 years, we can build some foundations for a sustainable America and a sustainable planet.

We could have a 10 year plan for energy and sustainability that could get us excited – and acceptance of higher energy costs (our costs remain low compared to Europe), to move us away from a car economy to a multi-mode one. And for a Californian to suggest giving up her car is fairly extreme.

Create an encompassing vision, name it, tell us the realities, and ask us to help.

Thanks for listening.


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