For the last couple years, I’ve been a fan of Richard Harwood, who was on the streets researching the meaning of civic “hope” in American cities and communities back when Barack Obama was working on his law degree. On the 100th day of the Obama administration, Harwood isn’t looking at Obama, he’s looking at us. As the citizens in this new era, he asks, “How are we doing?”
Harwood’s 100 Days Citizen Test asks us as citizens to reflect upon and discuss five questions:
1. Do you believe the nation is moving in the right direction and, if so [or if not], what do you point to?
2. To what extent do you feel the first 100 days is generating “authentic hope,” and to what extent do you see “false hope?”
3. Is your confidence in the ability of government to act effectively [and appropriately] growing or not — and why?
4. How do you feel about those who have different views from the president: are they providing an effective opposing voice — and, if not, what would make them more effective in terms of a healthy public debate?
5. Do you feel there is emerging common ground among people about how the country needs to move forward?
The reason why I believe questions like these are important is because when change occurs, it is often hard to see, confusing to interpret, and for every couple of steps forward there are steps backward. So, on balance, what do you make of what’s happening? How does this current period feel for you?
Head on over to Harwood’s blog to post your answers, or feel free to chime in right here! And if you think (as I do) that he might be on to something, go get yourself a free copy of his most recent book, Make Hope Real