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December 4, 2008

the fierce urgency of a transition

(Framingham, MA) I am involved in several networks devoted to public goals, some of whose members have connections to the Obama transition. I'm getting urgent emails and phone calls with tense messages about the need to get our positions right, succinct, forceful, and in the hands of people closer to the President Elect than we are. Meanwhile, some 300,000 people have already submitted their resumes to the transition--compared to 44,000 resumes that were ever submitted to the Bush transition. These people want jobs, of course, but they are also idealists who see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance their causes. If you have worked all your life on community banking, or wind power, or relations with Sierra Leone--to name completely random and hypothetical issues--it suddenly seems as if this is your one best chance to make a big difference at the national scale. So you are pounding out memos for the transition team, uploading your resume, calling people who know people who know Obama team-members.

It's all very important. There really is a window of opportunity that will begin to close in a few months. Those who advocate effectively will make more of a difference than those who do not. But somehow I think we all need to adjust to the reality that there are far more vital causes than there are opportunities to act in the first few months of a new administration; and there are far more talented activists than jobs. We need strategies that go beyond the first 100 days and that involve other branches of government and other institutions. As always, we need cool heads, broad coalitions, and careful deliberation.

And now, back to that urgent draft email to someone who knows someone in Chicago ...

December 4, 2008 11:08 AM | category: none


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