At small group last night, we had an "icebreaker" question: if you had an hour to spend with the president, what would you ask him and what would you tell him? Hmmm. Tough one.
Tough first of all because I wouldn't expect to get a straight answer. And that's not a slam on Obama -- no politician would give me a straight answer. And that right there makes me very sad. They are not about truth. Period. They are about being to you want you want them to be so you will trust your welfare to them. So very discouraging to me.
That said, I think one of the questions I would ask is, what did you learn when you got into office that changed your beliefs and point of view from before? As I've said earlier, I often wonder if his failure to close Gitmo as he pledged to do is tied to information he is now privy to that he didn't have as Senator Obama. I would respect him highly if that were the case -- if he were willing to break a pledge and anger his supporters for the sake of the safety of the country. That's what we hire a president to do -- put the good of the country before his own good.
Someone last night said they would ask him how he strives to be a spiritual leader in his home and family. That's an interesting one. Because if you just ask him a point blank question about his faith and beliefs, I'm sure he's got the canned, politically-safe response ready. They all do. But to ask a specific question about how his faith and beliefs interact with his daily life would be much more revealing. Many a Christian needs to ask that question of themselves. I think very few of us would be satisfied with the answer we give.
I think, though, that I would primarily want to ask him about himself. How he got to where he is. I mean, here's a black kid from a single parent home who became leader of the free world, not a street punk. What was different about him? What turned him in the right direction? What enabled him to do what so many haven't? Where did these qualities and motivations come from?
And then I would want to have a frank discussion with him about how his policies and vision for America are going to infuse more young black men with those same qualities and motivations. Because I have a hard time seeing that.
I doubt we would agree on much. And I'm sure neither of us would convince the other of anything. But it would be an interesting discussion to have. It's a discussion I wish was happening everywhere.