Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dear Mr. President

Sent this morning to The White House:

Dear Mr. President,

I need some clarity. I think that I deserve it. I voted for you, and I have been a consistent supporter even when my fellow-liberals began to express dismay at some of your actions in office. I continue to believe that you are a thoughtful, far-seeing, reasonable pragmatist, and that you have the interests of all Americans at heart. It heartens me that, unlike your predecessor in office, you have the ability and the will to listen to the people of this country, including the opinions of opponents.

And still I need some clarity. I think I understand the dreadful bind in which you find yourself. Your opponents have refused to act on the renewal of unemployment benefits (not to mention other important measures: the arms treaty, “don’t ask, don’t tell”) unless you capitulate on the perpetuation of tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. They offer no sign of compromise, and have rejected yours. I have no doubt but that you are deeply concerned for those millions of Americans who will suffer desperately if their benefits are cut off, and I share that concern. It's an agonizing predicament.

And still I need some clarity. I want to know where you stand, personally, what you believe. Everywhere there is cynicism and confusion. Those who clamored for deficit reduction are now unwilling to accept what is demonstrably a major step in that direction. They resort to transparently false arguments to validate their efforts to further assure the enrichment of the richest and most powerful of Americans, even if—demonstrably—at the expense of the poorest and least represented. If you are not ready to call the bluff of those who threaten you, I need to better understand the reasons why. You have not yet made this clear to me, nor to millions like me who entrusted you with the future of our country.

Are you not angry with these obstructionists, who make it indisputably clear that they are dedicated to nothing but your personal humiliation and downfall? Should we not be allowed to see that anger, instead of the friendly smiles and handshakes?

I have never before posted a bumper sticker on any car I have ever owned, yet now my car boasts a sticker that reads “I Back Barack.” I do back you. I would willingly support your veto of any tax bill of which you disapprove, including one that allows all tax benefits to expire. Even though I might not agree with it, I would support you in a compromise if I could understand its purpose. I believe in the power of reason and open-mindedness; and, as a Buddhist, I believe in the Middle Way to which you seem determined to adhere. I love the dignity and humanity your family has brought to the White House. And still I need some clarity. I beg you to speak up, and speak your position forthrightly and clearly, so that we can all better understand.

Sadly,

Peter Clothier

12 comments:

robin andrea said...

I started a very similar letter just the other day, but did not complete it. You express exactly what I have been thinking and feeling. Please, we need some clarity. Now.

Romany said...

I sent mine but it lacked what your's wonderfully expresses when you say: "If you are not ready to call the bluff of those who threaten you...," Exactly.

Eva said...

Peter, both Harvey and myself are totally agreeing with the content of your letter and very glad that you did write it. We're very sad with what is happening with my adopted country. With such huge optimism I was looking forward to the change, after those dreadful eight years this country was forced into. And yes i had patience to wait for that promised change, but now I see with hardend hart, that it will not happen.The devils are stronger and people dont understand what is behind thei motives. I still hope that Americans will wake up and can differenciat what is better for this country. I thank you for sending your message which contains the wish of most, honest American's.

TaraDharma said...

Peter, this letter needs to be published in as many places as you can possibly manage. Huff Post, for one. LA Times, NY Times, you name it. I'm so gd bewildered at this point, I don't know my arse from a hole in the ground.

Feel as if we, as a nation, are circling the proverbial drain....

CHI SPHERE said...

I have reasoned and ranted here at times regards the content of your letter. Your letter is by far the most reasonable, decent, insightful and direct appeal to the person who can and will make a difference if only he will show some BACKBONE and not BACKDOWN!

Thank you Peter

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks to all for the support. This was a difficult letter to write, simply because I like the man so much, and want so much for him to succeed. As some of you suggest, I think that it does indeed reflect the thoughts of a huge number of good-hearted Americans, who are in danger of losing that heart. I am doing my best to widen the spread--it will be published on my site at the Huffington Post. But I could also use your help, in forwarding it to others who might want to see it. Best thanks!

NCmountainwoman said...

Your post reflects the feelings of many of us. I've sent a similar letter, although you said it much better than I did. I do not have a bumper sticker because I'm waiting for some clarity. Please, we're going to roll over and allow the very rich to get even richer without giving some of it back to the economy?

mandt said...

Clarity? It couldn't be more clear: Obama is incompetent and if not outright cynical---a corporate tool. All this equivocating among the haute bourgeoisie is equivalent to frogs dying in ever increasing hot waters. Obama has failed on every significant piece of legislation affecting the increasing numbers of poor, hungry Americans, the foreclosed and unemployed. What is it going to take to get people to wake up and create a primary challenge for 2012?

PeterAtLarge said...

We disagree on this, MandT, as we already know. I find your judgment overly harsh. There have been some steps forward in the past two years. Too small, in my view. But to dismiss all achievements is--also in my view--misguided... Peace, P

Daniel said...

Hi Peter,

There's one thing I don't understand in your letter, which is the suggestion that Obama call his opponents' bluff.

Are you suggesting that if he does not capitulate to their demands on taxes, they would eventually agree to extend unemployment benefits anyway?

If so, why is that your belief?

Thanks. Very warmly,

PeterAtLarge said...

Yes, Daniel. I do believe they would be compelled to arrive at a separate resolution of this issue. Even in America, surely, we could not let that many people starve. But these days, who knows? Good to hear from you.

PeterAtLarge said...

I want to change that, Daniel. Let it read: "Even in this country, it would be too politically costly to leave so many people out to dry." A touch more accurate. A touch more cynical.