Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dear President Barack Obama

Wow, those words still sound beautiful: President Barack Obama. Over the past eight years calling myself an American has been becoming increasingly more difficult. I really hope all this change you talk about makes me more proud of that red, white and blue piece of cloth I see flapping in the wind everywhere.

I am young, and probably as much of an idealist as you can find. Sometimes I get called a pessimist, but only because I can usually see how situations could be better. Right now, President Obama, I am pleased with calling you my president.

You do not know me, nor do I think you should. I sent you letters via your Web site, I hope you read them. But you probably didn't. Okay, that is pessimism. Well, at least Americans now have the illusion they are a voice influencing your policies, if nothing else.

I am sorry. These past eight years have me cowering in distrust like an abused puppy. And you have us eating right out of your hand, Mr. President. I am convinced if you tried to lead us off a cliff, a frighteningly high percentage of people would follow.

Eight years of lies and half truths from George, Dick and company do not exactly cultivate trust in someone like me.

I want to believe in all those romanticized conceptions of you. I want to believe that you, Barack Obama, are going to "save" America.

Even seems willing to go to war for you. And they have been very critical of the current Iraq war and the Afghanistan conflict. All I want is for you to bring every troop home.

No one is even acknowledging the facts that: a) your "withdrawal" plan means leaving a residual force in Iraq for an indefinite amount of time, and b) you just want to shift the focus of this war from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Maybe you know something I do not about Afghanistan, and Iraq, and this whole mess we got tangled in years ago in the Middle East. I hope you do, because it doesn't sound like success will be possible in Afghanistan, either.

You would be disenchanted with national politics if you shared my experiences. Well, your political experiences were probably similar and quite possibly worse than mine, but you are a politician. I've been conditioned to be wary of politicians.

My years as a politically aware citizen date back to the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. Yes, my first exposure to national politics was tabloid-worthy.

Finding out what oral sex is in a conversation about the president of your country is not exactly a good first impression of American politics.

I remember watching the 2000 presidential election coverage. I also remember wondering if there was a connection between George Bush winning the highly disputed state of Florida and his brother Jeb being the governor. I still wonder about that.

Four years later I turned 18 on November 3, 2004. In the years prior to this I was excited that my first ever chance to vote would be this presidential election.

I registered to vote by mail in September and was denied. I was 17 years and 364 days old on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. I was born one day too late to vote in the 2004 election.

So I voted for my first time ever in 2006. You can partially thank me for your position as a senator of Illinois.

Then, on November 4, 2008, I became a part of history when I voted for you, the first ever African American president of the United States of America. I am proud of this, but wary. You haven't proven anything yet. Consider what I have been through before you judge.

I just saw your book in the check out line at Walgreens next to a romance novel. Your celebrity status scares me.

I hope you will be a great president and actually do lead us into a new era in America. Listening to your speech last Tuesday morning, I started thinking about how far we have come as a nation and a lump formed in my throat-it was not an extra large bite of food, either.

Please, President Obama, be the change you talk so much about. I cannot take much more of these lies and empty promises. Prove this isn't too good to be true. Please.

originally published in the Daily Vidette on Monday January 26


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