ONE OF THE perquisites of a new presidency is a tidal wave of suggestions, proposals, reading materials and other unsolicited advice about what to do for whom over the next four years. It runs the full range, too, from the asinine to the astute. Among the significant proposals -- presented in a most conciliatory tone and worthy of President Reagan's attention -- is an eloquent appeal to him by Vernon Jordan, president of the National Urban League. In a message that seemed to be acknowledged in President Reagan's inaugural address, Mr. Jordan urged the new president to speak out forcefully for racial justice and minority progress.
While noting a prevailing view that black people may be seen as "outsiders" by the Reagan administration, Mr. Jordan said he sees an opportunity for the new president to "earn the gratitude of blacks and whites who look to the president of the United States for moral leadership."
Not surprisingly, Mr. Jordan's appeal includes a defense of social programs. But as excerpts of his speech point out elsewhere on this page ("For the Record"), there also are many "feasible conservative alternatives" to be explored, such as business tax incentives to encourage economic growth in depressed areas and to increase low-income housing development, income maintenance programs that could replace welfare payments and other proposals that would "stress the market system."
The Reagan campaign made much of "putting America back to work," Mr. Jordan notes; the new president recognizes that he "can't just put white people back to work, or people who voted for him. . . . If the overall economy is better, we benefit." Similarly, Mr. Jordan observes that "in defending the needs of the black poor, we are also defending the forgotten white poor."
President Reagan touched on these themes early in his inaugural address, stating that "our objective must be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy that provides equal opportunities for all Americans with no barriers born of bigotry or discrimination. Putting America back to work means putting all Americans back to work." Those are encouraging words -- but they need setting to music. Toward that end, Mr. Reagan has a grand opportunity to seize the invitation and take the lead in fostering a spirit of racial reconciliation along with economic progress.