One of our board members who would rather remain anonymous than feel self serving has suggested that the anniversary of George Washington’s birth is a good day for circulating this letter to our 44th president.

Dear President Obama,

I am hoping this message will find its way to you or your staff somehow.  I am hoping also that the concept of the “collective unconscious” is what is prompts me to write it; or perhaps such an unconscious, or consciousness, is its goal.

Its message is actually a simple question:  why haven’t you asked more of us?  Why haven’t you told us specifically what you think we can do to help?   We were galvanized, inspired and electrified by the unselfishness you represented to us, by the sense of one nation and the promise of national goals, separate from individual agendas or selfish concerns.  We need you to give us our chores. AmericaServes is a good start, but not enough: Think of the "victory gardens" during World War II, or even the Underground Railroad.

Can we set up tutoring centers in each town in America, staffing them with townspeople qualified in certain subjects at certain levels?  Should we promise to keep them open from 3 to 10 p.m every weekday and for certain hours of the weekends, in accordance with the good practices you will outline for us on a website?

Should we set about providing services for the elderly, cleaning rain gutters, washing windows, shopping for groceries?

Do we need to be collecting all the nickels in all the houses in America for a specific reason?  And do you need to tell us on what day to deliver them and to where?

Is there a use for all the unused balls of yarn in all the knitters’ yarn baskets?  What about the half-used pads of paper in so many homes?  Stamps that are sitting in boxes?  Muscle power going untapped?

My friends and I talk about how we ache to take part in some national goal—and about how we want you to call upon us to make the effort.  We’re not so naïve as to think you don’t have enough to think about without adding this to the list, but we are so hopeful as to believe that your country wants to serve in its own interest as much as we have tapped you to serve it.

Can we rise to a specific task you assign us?  You’ve said it yourself.  Yes we can.

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  • Debra April 4, 2009 at 12:32 am

    “Yes, we can!” is easy to turn into “Yes, we are!” — the opportunities as you so simply but elegantly describe are endless. Who needs an invitation?

    Reply
  • Judy Orlando February 24, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    A grand idea in expression, vision and inspiration. Thank you and where do I sign on?

    Reply