Documenting the Presidency, day by day

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President Barack Obama
Barack Obama

Taken office
January 20, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden
Preceded by George W. Bush

me (Mark Fellenz)
Evidence for recent water on Mars
About Me Consultant & Entrepreneur
Location Newton Center, MA
Profiles LinkedIn, Facebook

Be the Citizen Reporter and take ownership of a day of Barack Obama's Presidency. You choose the day and document it entirely yourself -- You're in control, and using wiki technology, you get to share your perspective and observations with the world. Together, we'll collectively become the definitive body of day by day information, viewpoint, and knowledge on Barack Obama's Presidency.

Eight years ago I wanted to start, even if just on a scrap piece of paper, a running list of all the bad things George Bush was going to do as President. I knew he was going to be awful. Maybe it was the energy crisis that was occurring in California at the time he was elected and about to take his Oath. (I was picking out my lunch salad with a flashlight at the grocery store . . not a good sign.) Regardless of how long that list might have become, I kick myself for not starting from Day 1.

That's what this is about. Write down what happened on Day 1. And repeat.

Now, I want whoever is serving as President to succeed, Democrat or Republican, but I want them to do so with the interest of everyday Americans at heart. In the spirit of a hopefully new approach to politics, let's combine our efforts and use this vehicle to 'take back' the work of helping run this Country that we've too long neglected. If we each just document just one day, then together we'll make a huge difference.

Read below to gain a quick feel for how each day will be documented. We've tried to balance both an overall, journalistic approach to what happens over the course of each day interwoven with your own unique perspective. No one person represents everyone, but by each writing our own stories, we'll gather a collective perspective on what makes America so great.

Take part today by entering a bid for a particular day on eBay. Two points on why we're using eBay to auction each day . . .

  • Ownership means taking responsibility. We're huge fans of FREE, but there's something to be said about explicit responsibility, especially when you stand up and take it for yourself. Taking responsibility makes you feel a part of something. It inspires you. It holds you to a higher standard.
  • Much of the funds will go toward charity. We're not a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity (at least not yet), but other than funding costs and operations, we'll look to do something good with money that's raised. Two pledges: The people who own each day will decide on what cause(s) the funds are put toward and, more importantly, we will openly report -- right here on the wiki -- exactly how funds are dispersed.


[edit] In the Moment

Leading off, this is a quick highlight meant to capture the emotion of the day. A quick paragraph or two -- That's it. And, again, it leads off (that is, it's not near the middle like in this example).

Maybe something special happened? Think of the recent miraculous landing of flight #1549 in the Hudson River. Amazing, isn't it. Well, what if that happened on your day? And, if we were doing this for George Bush, what would you want to say about it in relation to his Farwell Address to the Nation (where he didn't even make mention of the event at all)? Whatever the emotion and big happenings of the day, here's the opportunity to capture the day's essence.

[edit] The Day's Journal

This is the true heart of the day . . What happened? What did President Barack Obama do? What did he not do? Where did he go? What bill(s) did he sign? Were there any signing statements (Bush did this tons)? Were there meetings with foreign leaders? Was any foreign or domestic policy articulated?

What happened in Congress? The Supreme Court? They're equal branches of government, and while this site uses the lens of each day of the President for documentary purposes, they're inextricably linked. What did they do? Not do? Were there any noteworthy findings or decisions? How are they serving the American people.

Barack Obama tries bowling. Maybe he should stick to his day job?

Because we've hardly seen more than hours of Barack Obama's Presidency, it's hard to give much example of what this might look like. But let's give it a try. Let's say President Obama went, say . . BOWLING. Now, this isn't a National event in the least, but it is perhaps noteworthy. If we rewrite his past experience, it might look something like this . . .

"President Obama tried connecting with the voters of Altoona, PA by lacing some rented bowling shoes and bowling a few frames. Well, his 37 didn't impress much. Bowling is big business in the Keystone State, with bowlers comprising more than 20% of the state's voting electorate. That's a lot of voters, and while that sets a high expectation for bowling prowess, President Obama's deficiency didn't hurt him in the general election (and he at least gets credit for the effort)."

The above example is as much offered in jest as for the very real and tangible example it offers. What if the day centered on a visit from a foreign dignitary? What if your favorite college basketball team was celebrating their National Championship with the customary visit to the White House?

Whatever it is, this section is meant to be m-u-c-h longer than the above. There's a lot going on everyday -- It's up to you to write about it in your own voice and through your own eyes.

[edit] Your Story

It's important to remind America of the individual stories we're all experiencing and how you see Change through your own daily experience. How are things going for you? Oh, and you get to add as little or as much biographical information (along with a photo) in the upper right! See my photo and profile as an example.

Don't want to talk about yourself? Then write about something in your neck of the woods. We're all generally inundated with superficial news . . What do you see that's newsworthy? Maybe there's a special high school student that won an award. Maybe there's a local story of a certifiable hero. But whatever you write, write it in the context of the Nation, with purpose, and with an eye on why everyone should know what you've written.

[edit] Idea of the Day

Here's another section where you get to voice your opinion, but in this case with a particular voice toward national, international, or regional issues of national importance. But let's take it a step further -- Don't just comment on a national issue, say something useful and constructive.

We're not looking to coordinate or advocate any ideas in particular -- We just want to give them voice. Just because you don't hold public office doesn't mean you don't have good ideas. (Just between you and me, I'm willing to believe you could do a better job than the average politician. But keep that between us.)

This is where the ideas come from. If a guy blogging from his Mother's basement can help guide, even in some small manner, the choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate, then -- seriously -- what idea can you drive on a world stage.

[edit] References

This is just a placeholder section for Reference materials you want to specifically cite. It could be a specific article or blog or perhaps a report that was officially released that day. Think of it as a footnote that gives special recognition or particularly relevant materials.

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