Who's Included In 'Yes We Can'? Writer S. Pearl Sharp shares thoughts about reaching out to the middle class, and asks where the nation's impoverished citizens fit into the Obama administration's plans.
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Who's Included In 'Yes We Can'?

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Who's Included In 'Yes We Can'?

Who's Included In 'Yes We Can'?

Who's Included In 'Yes We Can'?

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Mr. President, can I just tell you that throughout your campaign you only spoke to the needs of the middle class. You never included the nation's impoverished citizens, many of whom work as many hours as you do, with much less to show for it. Each time I heard this I thought about an incident in 1993.

While the government was spending almost $700 million dollars to correct the Hubble telescope anchored in outer space, a homeless woman died on a park bench right across from HUD, the national housing office.Then, and now, we have a national obsession to see ourselves through "black holes" in space, but so easily ignore the mirrors right in front of us. I would ask you to help us get our national priorities back in order — a return to common sense and the logic of human caring. You could start with the space program. Huge funds go sailing into space in missiles, sailing over the heads of citizens who must sleep in their car, mothers rationing food to their children, social workers overburdened with legitimate cases of need. Sailing over soldiers on active duty who don't earn enough to support their families. And there is the deprivation that cannot be mended by food stamps — the slow death of malnourished spirits. Take a chunk of that space money and use it to nourish our humanity.

This next one is a tall order, Mr. President. Change the way the Congress does what we sent them there to do. Specifically, let's end this practice of attaching unrelated items to a bill. If funding an education program is a priority, then that education bill should not have beef subsidies in Wyoming and windmills in Wisconsin stuck into it. That's a sneaky, nasty, unhealthy way to govern. It keeps our representatives negotiating against each other, trading favor for favor, voting tit for tat, rather than focusing on a pure intention.

Tell us the truth about who we are in the world. So many citizens have yet to understand why the bombings on 9/11 happened. They are ignorant of why the United States is so hated, because they don't know about the secret, despicable behavior inflicted on others in our name. I know that healing is one of your priorities, but we can't see others if we cannot see ourselves. Become the nation's embedded reporter. Stamp truth into our passport.

And speaking of healing, I've gotta tell you, sir, we watched you age during the campaign.Yeah. So perhaps good health and election reform should be merged into one committee.

And finally, I ask you to keep your habit of calling your daughters, Sasha and Malia, every evening. By example you are making fatherhood and family a national priority.

Welcome home! You are stepping into a house fraught with conflict, hostility and volatile situations that may not match your intended priorities. But you are not alone. The ancestors — you know who they are — are whispering in your ear.