An open letter to President Obama
Congratulations on getting out the door quickly in your bid to be re-elected in 2012. Earning the job of President of the United States is an expensive purchase in this day and age, and I commend you for starting early. The competition is still trying to decide if it wants to put up a real candidate against you or send in a throw-away. Nevertheless, you’re smart to start the fundraising now. You never know how tough the Bachman-Gingrich ticket will be.
Also, I should tell you I appreciate your early-morning text message today. The frequent updates you’ve sent my cell phone since I first started supporting you have been enlightening. On lonely days, that message from 62262 makes me feel like I have a friend in Washington. Today you told me we had more work to do and asked me to pledge that “I’m in.” There was the reflexive, hopeful part of me that jumped to my checkbook to write a big check like we did last time. I nearly yelled for my wife to dig out her Obama Mama t-shirt. I pulled up all the posts–thousands of words–I wrote in support of candidate and President Obama.
Before I could send off a donation or take to the internet to tell people you were going to change Washington and the world, I made myself pause and consider the facts. I know you’re a busy man–those campaign funds won’t raise themselves, now will they?–so I’ll make this fast. I stopped believing in Washington D.C. and its ability to change my life before I could vote. Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Bush did nothing to inspire me further. You however, made me believe there was someone who I could count on to be, for once, different. You made promises and I gave you all I had. I gave you money, I gave you my vote, and I told everyone I knew that I believed in you. They fought me tooth and nail, but I stood my ground and believed harder than I’ve ever believed. And we won! You probably remember most of that, or at least the ledger in your campaign fundraising logs. What you might not remember is this: I sort of expected you to keep those promises. It’s a rule we have around our house. If we say we’re going to so do something, we do it. It’s a fun little rule that keeps us from saying things just to pacify each other.
I understand, it takes time to keep promises sometimes. I was patient and defended you with almost as much dedication as I supported your candidacy. I told your detractors, “He will get around to closing Gitmo. He’ll bring home our troops from Iraq. Those no-bid contracts’ days are numbered. I’m going to have $2,500 cut off my health insurance premium and be able to import my prescription drugs. Those big corporations with the bailouts won’t be able to give ridiculous bonuses to their executives!” I mean, there’s enough egg on my face to support the Omelet Bar at Golden Corral, Mr. President.
It’s hard for we people who fuel the campaigns to understand how difficult your job must be. We probably should’ve recognized that you were naive and didn’t fully understand that changing Washington D.C. is an impossible proposition. That is, we have to accept that you can’t do what you believed what you could do. Or we have to accept that you have chosen not to do what you said you would. It would be helpful for me if you could explain which is the truth. Why? Well, here’s the thing Mr. President. I sort of feel used right now. I now have to accept that you planned this all along, or that there is no one who can change Washington. And I’ll be frank, it’s easier to lean toward the latter, because the former means I’m a naive guy who allowed himself to be used by a political candidate (see, Corral, Golden; Omelet Bar).
There are certainly problems that are beyond my simple mind’s ability to measure. You’re privy to that stuff, I’m sure. There are probably a lot of national security issues surrounding oil producing countries, and I know we can’t get decent men to go out and fight for oil. We have to talk about democracy, human rights, and the stability of our nation. We need a flag issue. I get that part. It would be really helpful for me as a voter, however, if your Pentagon could do a better job of covering up stuff like the Kill Team. And when it’s time to bomb folks, I’d sort of like for you to have a plan and/or reason–even if it’s just another big lie or promise. I know war is a big moneymaker for defense contractors and campaign managers, but come on…Libya is so played, Mr. President. Eventually even the bumpkins are eventually going to figure out the American enterprise of arming rebels to overthrow governments that we will eventually invade and destroy. The perpetual motion machine of war will run forever, but you have fewer than 20 months to convince people like me that you aren’t just George Bush with more promises and better jump shot.
There was a time it seemed impossible you could get elected. There was a time when everyone who had lost hope rose up one last time to stand in defense of change. We opened ourselves up to you, opened our wallets, and gave ourselves one last chance to believe our government could work. Frankly, Mr. President, we thought we changed the world, and so far the only thing that’s changed is my belief in you.
Still, I want to believe. I want to be a guy who can vote with confidence in a man who will keep his promises. In lieu of that, I want to hear why you told me you could and would do so many things that you haven’t done. Unlike many of my contemporaries who will stick by their team no matter what, I’m the type of guy who simply won’t be used twice. I believe that you and I are still aligned philosophically, but I simply can’t and won’t support a man who tells me he will do something and then doesn’t do it.
And so you asked me this morning, “Are you in?”
Am I in? Here’s the simplest way I can put it, Mr. President:
You might get my vote. You will not get my money or my heart again.
One of the people who believed enough to get you elected