Dear President Obama,
…….I am writing to you (and to any other American who wishes to share in this) because I, like many Americans, want to help our country get back on track. Call it a cry for help or a public plea of a distressed citizen, but I digress.
…….My personal situation is hardly the worst it could be: I’m a graduate student living with my parents and partially self-funding my education with my own personal savings (I’m taking out loans for the rest). On the other hand, I graduated in May of 2010 and have worked a total of only five months since then at a variety of jobs, always for $12 an hour or less. Compared to other people my age, I consider myself to be incredibly lucky. Think about that – lucky to have a supportive, loving family that has the means to keep me afloat while I struggle to get out on my own, barely holding down a poverty-wage job. It’s heartbreaking and discouraging to know that so many others my age aren’t so fortunate, and I wonder how their futures will unfold.
…….Mr. President, I donated to your campaign, voted for you, and have defended your actions to the people that I encounter who disagree with or disapprove of them. I, and many others like me, were swept up by your lofty rhetoric and cool demeanor. I genuinely believed that your election would spell slow but steady improvement in our lives. You campaigned on hope, but since your election Americans have only grown more hopeless. Our situations are worse off now than when you took office, and as of now, I will be neither voting for you nor donating to your campaign in the next election because honestly, I and many others in my position – the very same people who put you in the oval office – feel betrayed by you.
…….I am very much aware that you did not create the enormous problems that our country currently faces. You didn’t enact the policies over the past 30 years that triggered an economic collapse that some Cassandras knew was coming. You aren’t responsible for the way wages have stagnated for 30 years while corporate profits have skyrocketed. And of course I cannot blame you for the disgusting gridlock in Congress. But your failure to make any credible attempt to rectify any of our problems has now made you complicit in them.
…….You are now two and a half years into your term and have been nothing but a disappointment. The way you refused to fight for a public option in the health care debate. The way you refused to expend any political capital to punish the people whose recklessness and greed caused the collapse (and how your administration, bafflingly so, is resistant to any attempt at holding those people accountable)! The way you cave to John Boehner and the Tea Party every single time a confrontation arises, be it the debt ceiling or the date of your supposed major address on jobs. The way you allow blatant falsehoods about the economy and policy to circulate like the bubonic plague while refusing to provide your own narrative of what has happened in America. The way you try to negotiate with those who have made clear their only goal is to bring you down.
…….You do not lead, you preside. By the same token, you do not compromise, you capitulate.
…….In fact, your governing style (or lack thereof) is mind-boggling. Mr. President, you refuse to stand up for your supporters while you try to reason with the unreasonable. The opposition party has made it clear that they have absolutely no interest in working with you. Don’t you remember when Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor that his primary political objective was to deny you a second term and to not solve our country’s problems? I understand that good politics is about compromise, but when have any of your priorities not been sacrificed on the altar of bi-partisianship with nothing in return? You just recently gave away the ability to regulate smog and got what in return? That’s not a negotiated compromise, that is a giveaway – a sign not of strength, but of spinelessness. You are actively abdicating your responsibility as President to be a leader.
…….Maybe I should have paid attention to the fact that you voted “present” more times than not in the Illinois legislature – a sign that you were afraid to do anything that might present an ounce of risk. Maybe I should have thought twice when you tossed to the curb the man who married you and your wife, who was your “spiritual mentor” after a smear campaign comparable to John Kerry’s swift-boating.
…….Now, I have noticed how you stubbornly refuse to take positions beyond vague ovations of improving health care and appeals to a supposed American Exceptionalism. At a time when the American people needed someone who would stand up for them, who would lead them and be unafraid to take a controversial position that he truly believes in, they mistakenly voted for someone who flees at the first sign of confrontation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the man who said of the Wall Street banks (your campaign contributors) “I welcome their hatred” is rolling over in his grave. Not only have you been an ineffective President, but also a failed Democrat – a party I was forced to abandon after years of active support when I felt that they turned on me.
…….I say with complete, unshakable honestly that I take absolutely no pleasure in doing this. But with my firsthand experience and things I know about the current state of our economy, the trend is dismal, and reasons to be optimistic are harder and harder to find. Your inability to successfully govern the country coupled with the undeclared war against the average American people by her own elites are causing America to crumble right beneath your feet. I don’t even know for sure who’s side you’re really on anymore, the side of the people or the enemies of the people? Please be the president that I voted for in 2008. Otherwise, get out of the way.
………………………………………………………Sincerely in Frustration,
Photo courtesy of projectcensored.org