"I Will Not Be Ignored, Barack"
No, this is not The Onion:
Making friends is crucial. I'm only being partly facetious when I suggest that there should be some sort of in-house list where members of the administration (any administration!) are designated to go out a certain amount, in exactly the same way they make the rounds on Sunday talk shows.
This includes the president! Even senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said this week that Obama "likes the rigor of having a conversation with someone who's going to push him." She told The Post, "There's really no point in him wasting time with people who simply agree with him all the time because it's not going to refine his position, it's not going to enlighten his position." In other words, he'll certainly accomplish some of that once he gets around town.
Indulge me for a moment on the topic of our cultural bellwether, "Avatar." In the film, the Pandora natives worship the goddess Eywa, who is the spirit that connects them to their planet. If there is such a goddess in Washington, I believe, it is the spirit of community. Those who live here want to welcome new friends. Washingtonians are open and willing to invite newcomers and make them part of their lives. If they can't do that, there is automatically a distance that is created so that if -- no, make that when -- the administration gets into trouble, there is too little sympathy or support.
When an administration begins to express hostility to those in the community, the Na'vi pull out their arrows with the poison tips and begin taking aim. The rougher things get, the more members of the administration need to reach out, not withdraw. Nobody has ever been able to master this yet. Consequently everyone suffers -- needlessly.
It would be inspiring to see a new administration understand the simple secret of how to belong to the community. Then, they would never have to hear, as the heroine of Avatar, Neytiri, says to the would-be hero, Jake Sully: "You will never be one of the people."
Hide the bunny, Mr President.