What's Your Vision in 100 Words for Obama's First 100 Days?

On Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama will be inaugurated, becoming the forty-fourth president of the United States. Obama has promised to hit the ground running … but in which direction will he be running?


A president's first 100 days in office are often seen as a time that shapes that individual's entire presidency and, therefore, the future of the entire nation for the next four to eight years. What happens between Jan. 20 and May 1 of next year could be the most important hundred days in recent memory.

What would you like Obama's first 100 days in office to look like? We here at AlterNet are starting a new project, a project in which we ask to hear your answer to that question. A chance for you to be heard and get your hopes for Obama's new administration published on AlterNet! 

100 Words for 100 Days. Answer the question, using around 100 words. You can focus on a certain issue, or issues, that is important to you, such as health care, the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gitmo, etc. Or you can take a broader approach, describing the overall direction you'd like Obama to take the nation in in his first hundred days. Your submission can be funny, insightful, wildly out there or based in realistic policy. Whatever your thoughts, we want to hear them, but the challenge is to fit your vision into about 100 words. You can email your submissions to us at 100@AlterNet.org.

Many submissions will be published on the front page here at AlterNet, and every Friday, the best submission will be highlighted in one of our top stories. Below are some example suggestions provided by AlterNet writers and editors to get the 100 Words for 100 Days party started. Once your creative juices are flowing, you can contribute by emailing us at (in case you forgot) 100@AlterNet.org. Please include your full name if you wish to be accredited on the site … or you may submit anonymously. We look forward to hearing from you and hearing your wonderful ideas for the future.

Here's an sample contribution by an author who focused on a small-scale, yet important issue: The Obama team's mastery of technology, in hopes it will mean more government transparency once Obama's in the Oval Office: 

As the first president not baffled by the Internet, Obama should expand e-government initiatives to increase government transparency. While courting Silicon Valley during his campaign, Obama said he would use online technologies to make government more open and accessible. Obama should immediately make good on his promise by expanding the range of government data easily accessible online, posting pending legislation to the White House Web site and creating tools for users to engage with their elected officials more directly.

This should be just the beginning of efforts to try and convince Americans that our government officials don't spend all their time cooking up nefarious plots to screw poor people and get the U.S. embroiled in 100 wars.

Something that many are hoping Obama will move quickly on is health care. Here's one take; what would yours be?

One of Obama's first priorities should be reforming our health care system and making coverage universally available and affordable. This change is crucial not just because our health care system is broken but because fixing it might be the single most effective step toward undermining conservative ideology. It would foster a we're-in-this-together mentality instead of a you're-on-your-own mentality. It would show the good government can do when it's run effectively. It would put an end to the "socialism" heebie-geebies. And it would honor the will of the people, who are more progressive than politicians and pundits would have us believe.

Another important subject that we're sure to hear a lot about is the economy. A stimulus package? Bailouts? What are you hoping to see from Obama in terms of fixing this incredible financial mess we're in? AlterNet editor and staff writer Joshua Holland knows what he'd like:

As a nation, we're so deep in fecal matter that it's hard to choose just one or two priorities. But after a significant stimulus package, I'd choose passing the Employee Free Choice Act -- legislation that would make union-busting by employers far more difficult than it is today. It's not a magic bullet for the labor movement, but it's an important step. And a revitalized labor movement would spill over across all sorts of other issues; 78 percent of white evangelicals went for Bush in 2004, but Kerry won by a slim margin among those who were also union members.

But you don't have to focus on just the issues -- a president's style of governing is just as important:

The most important thing can Obama do when he takes office has little to nothing to do with policy. His biggest task is to offer a new example of what it means to be a man in America. Out with the arrogant, cowboy bravado; in with a cool, collected voice of reason. Obama must shatter stereotypes about what makes a good leader. He must embody a brand of masculinity that is sensitive, collaborative and conscientious. He must imagine himself not as a man but as a conduit for change in world where half the people are women. 

These are just a few examples though. We want to hear from you. 100 Words for 100 Days. Contribute your piece -- approximately 100 words in length -- today for a chance to get published on AlterNet. We look forward to hearing your wonderful plans for the not-so-distant future.

Please send all submissions to 100@AlterNet.org. Remember, please include your full name if you wish to be accredited on the site … or you may submit anonymously. We look forward to hearing from you.

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