October 24, 2011

An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama:

I am not disappointed in your presidency. 

I am disappointed in myself for not helping you get even more done.  During your campaign, we were inspired, we stood up, we made our voices heard, and we proved that we could create change... we elected you, and we knew if we kept this momentum going, it wouldn't be politics as usual.

You did not disappoint.  I know how bills get passed, how policies change, and while my friends and acquaintances, the media and the recreational pundits complained that you weren't more aggressive, that you weren't getting enough done fast enough, I know it's because you are working with a Congress that has openly admitted to try and make you fail at every turn.  They decided the day you were elected that they way they would "handle you" is to just act like you weren't the president, and they've succeeded in their bad behavior.  Never have I seen such disrespect for a president, the elected leader of our country, elected by the people of this country.  The same people that Congress is supposed to represent and make decision for the greater good.  And I'm appalled at both sides.  But you, President Obama, have never disappointed me.

I'm disappointed in the elected leaders who have somehow rallied the poor to stand for the rich, somehow rallied to rich to stand for irresponsibility, and somehow rallied themselves around the idea that their re-election is more critical than the well-being of their fellow citizens.

But more than any elected official, I'm disappointed in myself.  I and so many others worked so hard to get you into office, and you said just before election day, "Together, you and I will make a difference…" We cried when you were elected, caring more than we had ever cared before… it was supposed to be a new day for government, the changing of the generational guard.  I was so happy to have you be my voice. I trusted (and still do trust) you to make the right moves not for political purposes, but for the greater good.  And so I sat down. I was relieved that you were at the helm, so I didn't help steer the ship. I didn't call my elected officials anymore. I didn't try and build momentum behind your good ideas.  Soon after you were elected, many of my peers began complaining that you weren't doing enough fast enough, and I defended you.  I saw how you were being treated, and thought it was unfair and wrong, but I assured myself that you would figure it out.  So I stayed seated. I did not hold up my end of the bargain.

Mr. President, I want to apologize, because I left you to the wolves - wolves who have turned a crisis into their own personal theater, spewing lies and misinformation to confuse the masses and entertain the media. Wolves who decided that what made them more electable was to see how far they could divide this country rather than trying to build a nation back to where it should be… a nation confident in a common motto, "United we stand. Divided we fall."

I will not see us fall, and I will not leave you to the wolves any longer.  We have seen the effects of people standing up for themselves en masse.  We can change as much as we choose to.  I choose to stand up with you and fight the good fight for the greater good because I believe not only in you and your leadership, but I believe in us, this country of people, who deserve more.  I believe we are a nation of inherently good people, and deep down care about our communities, our neighbors, those in need… and now is the time to stop playing games, stop waiting for someone else to save us, and start standing up for what we know is right. 

I stand with you, Mr. President, and I'll have your back now and in the next election…


Jessie Burke