And I asked myself, "Why?" What actual decisions made by a President have an immediate impact on my day-to-day life? In fact, my personal life is more likely to be affected by local politicians making zoning law decisions or decisions about water agreements than anything that happens on the national level. And yet, as I listened to Obama's words of hope for the future and watched his graceful way of being present, I knew that he is the one who will set the bar for America. He is the one who will appeal to our higher angels, who will inspire us to new creativity, who will imbue us with a belief that change is possible and that the world can be saved. He will be an image, an archetype, a single clear note that creates sympathetic vibrations in the souls of citizens.
And I found myself longing for a leader for the theatre. Someone who could do the same thing for a group of theatre artists scattered around the country who might find inspiration, courage, focus, and determination from a figure who could paint a picture of our higher purpose that would lead us creatively forward. The President isn't the only voice heard in America -- our system of checks and balances and our the loyal opposition assures that wisdom will arise through multiple perspectives, a wisdom that is enriched by the diversity of viewpoints. But the President sets an agenda and chooses the key in which many will sing. And I wonder who provides that vision for theatre artists. Who do we look to to sound a call, to set the key, to point the direction? Perhaps the head of TCG, but I am sorry to say that TCG is not filling a leadership role, but rather sees itself as one of the cheerleaders.
I think we in the arts need our own Barack Obama. Not a dictator who squashes creative diversity, but someone with need a powerful vision that we can line ourselves up in relation to, a person whose ideas we can enrich with our own perspectives, a person with a resonant voice that we can harmonize with. Someone who can say "Yes we can" in a way that makes us think maybe we could.
And so I ask you: when you think about leaders in the theatre, who might be such a person? Who might be our Obama?
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