Video: Postcards for the president

updated 8/19/2004 10:52:03 AM ET 2004-08-19T14:52:03

American's voices that might otherwise not be heard are now loud and clear, thanks to a project that’s part-typewriter, part-postcard, and part-people who all stop to answer one question:  “If I were President of the United States, what would you wish to say to me?”

Former journalist and artist Sheryl Oring sets up a portable public office complete with a typewriter in a high-traffic area. She then engages people who stop by in a discussion about politics.

The result of the conversation is a hand-typed postcard addressed to the White House—it's commentary for the Commander in Chief, signed, stamped and ready to be delivered. Each postcard tells President Bush what the people want him to know, whether it is good or bad.

In New York’s Bryant Park, Oring talks to homeless people, executives, teenagers, and then hits the typewriter keys.  But in this age of technology, why not a laptop, or a two-way pager?

“They’re attracted to the typewriter,” says Oring.  “It's the novelty of the typewriter that really draws people in, and then you get into a conversation, and then it goes from there.”

So is this art, politics or something more?

"It ends up being almost like a therapy session for the person involved," says Oring. "One woman ended up telling me about how her son was shot and so she really wants there to be gun control, and at the end of the conversation she really broke down in tears."

“Dozen and dozens of people told me that they thought all Americans thought alike,” Oring says. “So this was really my way of showing to the world how diverse America really is.”

Oring is taking her typewriter to twelve cities across the country, and she’s typed about 550 postcards. 

For more information on Sheryl Oring and "I Wish to Say," go to http://iwishtosay.com

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