An Open Letter to President Obama
First, I want you to note that I address you as President. It disturbs me the number of news pundits and other politicians who refer to you or address you as Mr. Obama. I know they may defend themselves by saying, "well I didn't vote for him, he's not my President." That's incorrect.
They may not have voted for you, but they accepted your leadership, I believe by remaining in the United States after your inauguration. Also, I certainly didn't ever vote for President George W. Bush, but I recognized, with embarrassment, that he was President.
I did vote for you in 2008. This was after long hard thinking. I remember being so very very frustrated with what my country had turned into. I was disgusted by the scardey-cat antics of the Democrats and terrifically frightened by the rise of this new party that seems to have more in common with the Decembrists revolutionaries of 19th century Russia than the silent individuals who tipped off carton loads of tea into the harbour one night. I was torn between really wanting, finally, a female president, Hillary Clinton. She seems to produce extreme reactions in people. Either they are fiercely defensive of her and believe she is justified in her cut throat ways (maybe even noble) or completely revolted by her doing what any ambitious man would be praised for doing.
Honestly, it was more important to pick someone who could win. If I had my druthers, I'd have voted for Howard Dean, the poor guy who self-imploded the election before yours with an awkward scream of enthusiasm that "only" television audiences could hear. We Liberals loved him. I still love him. He seemed so genuine and seemed to understand what we wanted and needed.
Mr. President, we Liberals and Democrats are hungry and thirsty and cold. Our party seems to have no passion, and no rhetoric; just a paralysing fear of being seen as the pushy totalitarian Socialists and Communists that they're painted as (Tea Partiers and Republicans, who the fuck are you kidding?). You know what? If Democrats were the same thing as Communists, they'd at least be driven by a cause or an ideal. Right now the only thing they're driven by is the urge to get reelected so they can sit on their butt worrying frantically about being fair for another 6 years.
Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008, feeling like I was making a statement in a referendum. I felt like I was participating in a revolution. After 8 (eight) long years of our status as Americans being stripped away with all the delicacy of ripping off a body-coating of duct tape, I was so very angry that people like John McCain and Sarah Palin would have the audacity to think that what America needed was more of the same if not worse. When the tallies came in I heard people cheering in the streets; cars honking in celebration. I would not go so far as to say we had been under an oppressive totalitarian police state for the past 8 (eight) years, but when those results came in, my right hand to God, it felt like we were free.
I know that you are first and foremost a politician interested in winning an election. You won this one with a lot of lofty promises and we all knew, even back then, that it would be incredible if you could make good on even a few of them.
Still, you had capitilised on our desire to leave a shameful past behind and renew our identity as hard working people, capable of doing great, and noble things with the sweat off our brow. It's a romantic notion, harking backs to literary greats like John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. And it neatly coincided with a growing interest in taking back control of things like our food and home furnishings, even our shampoo.
People wanted, and still want, organic produce, grass-fed meats from local butchers, to make their own pastas and jams and breads, even make their own beer and wine. Then they wanted, and still want, to make their own quilts and lampshades. Then some people dipped a toe in re-upholstering their own furniture, and then to make their own tables instead of paying through the nose.
You seemed to be speaking our language. So we voted for you, listened to your great and inspiring Inaugural Address. We believed you when you said things would be different. "No more silly games," you said. "There's going to be a few changes made around here."
We smiled at one another and sat back and waited for the changes to come.
And you know what? We're still waiting.
Now, I know you are not superman. You are, after all, only a politician. And you were trying to be fair in the beginning and recognize that this country can't be run by you alone, that you're going to have to get along and play nicely with others, and I know you hoped that we Dems would do the same. And we tried, in the beginning. But your opposition heard this offer and said, "hmmm, stupid bastard."
They didn't give you an inch. You proposed a health care plan that was almost verbatim to the one they presented back in the 90's as an alternative to First Lady Hilary Clinton's Plan, and they said it had death panels, among other outright lies and what we finally got was a far far cry from what we set out to do. It was disappointing to say the least.
Then there was the birth certificate fiasco when our political process appeared to be hijacked by a sun-burned man suffering from indigestion and the worst toupee imaginable. Who cared that people all over was losing their homes, or that oil was washing up on our beaches, or that polar ice caps are melting? Donald Trump's main concern is that our, yes, our BLACK president was fathered by a Kenyan and given a weird sounding name so let's see his birth certificate to make sure he's actually eligible to be our president.
And you gave into it. I know it was to move things along, but did you really think they would be satisfied by a legitimate birth certificate? Did you not consider that Trump could spin this issue out for years to come?
Then there was the debacle with the debt ceiling and hardcore Republican representatives feeling beholden to their Tea Party constituents to... you know, in fact I have no idea what their goal was with that performance. But the most frustrating part was that you and the Democrats, despite having plenty of opportunity to head them off well before the pass, chose to "work it out together." And the rest of us poor voting schlubbs knew that Tea Partiers had absolutely no interest in working it out with you. The only thing they are interested in, and I am not being hyperbolic here, is lynching you.
There was no point in being mad at the Tea Party, just as there's no point in being mad at my dog for eating the steak that was defrosting on the kitchen counter: he's a dog, it's his nature. It's up to me to learn from that and maybe put the steak to defrost in the oven next time. The Tea Party, crazy as they are, was just doing what they said they would do. Did you not hear them, these past three years?
I do not believe Republicans are inherently bad. I've voted for Republicans a few times in the past because I thought they would actually do a better job than the Democrat running against them. My neighbours are Republicans; they are my family, and my in-laws and some of my best friends. They've been good to me in bad times and have invited me to dinner and vacations with them. I have pleasant times with Republicans because they are not idiots who shut down the minute someone has a differing opinion. I don't like that behaviour in anybody. I used to be a fan of Joel Tyner in Rhinebeck, who's Liberal until I discovered that he's actually a Liberal fanatic who cannot tolerate any debate that opens up a whole new view of the issue that he never considered.
I'll not beat around the bush any longer, Mr. President. You have really disappointed me. You didn't fight when you said you would; you didn't publicise any of the good stuff your administration managed to do, and then, you had that small moment of glory, you know; when Osama Bin Laden finally got the violent death many people feel he deserved? The only reason it was small is because you let it be!
Then you pushed off air pollution standards. Then you chose to let the Keystone XL Pipeline decision to be made in the next presidential term, which almost seemed to me a concession that you might be a one-term wonder.
Meanwhile I'm getting e-mails and postcards saying "stand behind Obama! Show him you've got his back!" And I think to myself, I don't know that I really do have your back. Should I have your back because you're not Newt Gingrich? One e-mail said, "Anything is better than President Bachman" and I responded, "You know, President Obama isn't actually far off." Why don't you do something to show that you're not just the lesser of two evils, the presidential candidate that I don't feel slimy voting for? Why don't you run a campaign that we can actually get behind, and support, and that we can expect to be fulfilled and not just unrealistic promises (seriously? They sounded, in retrospect, like the promises an abusive spouse makes to his/her victim: "I swear I Love you, I swear I'll never hit you again!").
Your rejection of the Keystone Pipeline, your protection of birth control coverage for women… I'm sorry, dude; it's all coming too little, too late. You should have been coming down hard and standing by us these past four years. I'm still not convinced you are:
"My message is simple. It's time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I'll sign them right away."
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71920.html#ixzz1ka8vSV3y
I'm sorry? No, no no no no! I am done rewarding companies for anything. Moving companies overseas, moving them back to the U.S. should not mean that they get the same tax rate regardless! They will continue to make record profits no matter what! Because they know how to screw everyone, and I mean everyone, over! From unions, to consumers to the IRS, we're all screwed up the ass with no lube (excuse me for this vivid description).
You sign those tax reforms and it shows me that you support business as usual. Oh, except for one thing: I won't be voting for you.