Dear Mr. President,
There is something terribly wrong with our community.
We wake up each morning and go to bed each night in anticipation—not excitedly awaiting the news of the long-awaited cure for cancer, the latest photos from the Mars Rover or the global end of pesticide use.
Instead, we hold ourselves close, cringing and weeping over what has or may happen to many of our people.
Humans are prone to violently taking their heartbreak, madness, despair, and resentment out on one another. But this past year feels different, as though a mysterious button has been pushed, increasing the velocity of this violence beyond what was once thinkable.
It seems we’ve gone off a cliff, like lemmings without care for the cost of jumping. One after the other, following the bird ahead of us, not looking past their outspread wings to see what is transpiring.
We’re killing ourselves without conscious thought, without awareness of where we go after hitting the ground. The pile of dead increasing, until that will be all there is.
There is something terribly wrong with our country.
We didn’t get to this point with clear-headed thinking, but we didn’t get here by accident either. There are several aspects that have taken us into unconscious, blind violence against one another, but they all come from the same root.
The loss of possibility.
Our constitution is based on a single principle. There are plenty of other words on that paper, but the centerpiece everything is built around is the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness.
The opportunity for the pursuit of happiness.
Opportunity defines who we are as Americans. Children are raised either believing in possibility or that nothing is possible. They go to school and opportunity is taught or it is negated. When a person heads into the workforce they are greeted by possibility or met with hopelessness.
Opportunity also defines us as humans.
When we believe nothing is possible, that we are locked in a horrendous cage without a way out and our misery is endless and unchanging, we are prone to violence and upheaval. This is why our forefathers devised our constitution around opportunity.
Our first leaders may not have been able to foretell the future, but they knew a thing or two about what a cage does to the human condition.
When I read or watch the news, I am mostly told that every problem is impossible to solve. We blame it on the media and their propensity to only report doom and gloom. But it isn’t the media.
The denouement of our centerpiece, the crumbling of that core belief is because the leaders of our flock no longer lead from the principle our constitution is based upon.
When leaders do not lead from a place of good intention, but instead from their own desires and achievement, the outcome is the denigration of a society. Leadership becomes about winning at any cost, even if it takes the hearts and minds of the people off a cliff.
When a populace is led by people who are uninformed, were raised and schooled not believing in opportunity for everyone, or are concerned only with their own possibility, the strength that has carried this country is threatened.
There is something terribly wrong, Mr. President.
We need leadership—good, conscientious leadership—to lift us out of this despair. This takes real talk with real facts. It takes all of those in leadership roles to come to together, to put aside their own agendas and speak and act from their humanity.
If it were me who was in charge, I’d publicly sit down with members of congress, religious and political organizations, community leaders, and the media. I’d talk about the problems we’re facing. I’d talk human to human and ask that they talk human to human.
This isn’t something that can be done behind closed doors. When conscientious families have an issue, they sit around the kitchen table until a solution is reached. Sometimes those talks go late into the evening or are resumed the next day. It isn’t easy to build consensus or think in a solution-based way—especially when dysfunctional problem-based thinking has gone on so long.
So this won’t be easy.
But we elected you to do the hard stuff, to lead us from darkness when times are dark. As you said the other day, no one knows what it’s like behind the desk at the Oval Office. No, we don’t.
We don’t know because we aren’t in the process with you.
We need you to sit at the kitchen table with members of leadership and we need to be a part of the process. These are dark times, Mr. President, and they require our elected leaders to conscientiously speak to each other in public, for the public.
Americans need leadership based on our core principle. We need to see and hear solution-based discussions, so that the mindless plunge we’ve been taking off a cliff is diverted from our own destruction. We need to know you and congress and all our leadership believe in our core founding principle.
There is endless opportunity in possibility, Mr. President.
Be the leader we need at this moment in time. Be relentless, be miraculous, be true and courageous, remind us where we come from and who we are.
We are the People of the United States of America, and we believe in the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness—for one and all.
Author: Deb Lecos
Editors: Emily Bartran; Renée Picard