Open Letter to Barrack Obama (2016)

President Obama, sir. I twice voted for you. While I am not one hundred percent satisfied with every aspect of what your administration accomplished in the almost eight years you’ve been in office, I understand that our system of government isn’t an autocracy (it seems to be heading in that direction if this past election is any indication.) I also understand that you were hindered at every turn by a recalcitrant opposition who was, from day one, bent on making you fail, as the former Speaker of the House asserted. What they failed to realize— or did they? — is that, in seeking to hurt the U.S. President and his party, they would be injuring the country also.  

I think you are an honest man, and that you have the best interests of our imperfect union at heart. As I indicated in the section above, talk can be cheap. But I don’t think all talk is cheap. Lincoln’s wasn’t; neither was MLK Junior’s. Talk can have substance; it can move people to meaningful, purposeful, action; action which has the greater good as its end. You’re still our president. You can influence millions with the power of your oratory. You can spur people to action. You can inspire. You’re a wise man, and I think you’re good at heart (Some might say I am being naïve—I don’t care.)

   It is because I think this of you that I have an inkling you might be inclined to exhort those of us who voted for HRC to just be quiet, to “take our losses.” It is honorable that, unlike those in the other party, we Democrats are not so prone to start a civil war over having lost an election—despite our candidate having won the popular vote—even if we thought the system was “rigged” as Mr. Trump suggested (In any case, if it is true that this election was rigged, it was rigged in his favor!)

   Feels like déjà vu. Doesn’t it?

   It wasn’t that long ago that the candidate who won the popular vote didn’t become the president—because of our convoluted election system. All that aside, at least those of us in the Democratic Party understand that war is not always the answer.

   Regardless, I urge you to use a few seconds during your address to the nation this coming January 20th to remind the American people how important it is that we keep our current system of government intact; how important it is that we don’t start chipping away at the civil rights we’ve fought so hard to attain.

   I know that the party whose power will be cemented in every branch of government starting on January 20th will not begin by first taking away, say, women’s right to vote, or their right to control their own body (Texas and Ohio already are taking steps in that direction).

   No. They won’t start there. Likely, they will start with the issues they think Americans don’t care much about.

   The Paris Accord. The TPP. Those sorts of things. They’ll start there because they know that their followers don’t see any fast gains in saving the planet for our future generations; they do not see any tangible benefit in foreign trade either (Of course, history has shown how, for the party bringing the incoming administration to power, anything foreign is bad.)

   After that, they will move swiftly to dismantle Obama Care. Republicans are eager to do this because they do not care about the well-being of the more than twenty-two million people who will lose health insurance when they move to gut the healthcare system; they also want to do it because of a baser motive. You see, Mr. President, our current healthcare policy has your name attached to it, and—believe it or not—some in our country regard your name, your mere existence, and the fact that you moved into the Oval Office eight years ago, as an aberration. They certainly can do without the memento Obama Care has become.

   Sadly, Mr. President, a large segment within our country’s citizenry is bent on living in the past—to our nation’s detriment. They do not realize that this mentality only hinders our progress. 

   Unlike their young daughters and sons, these fellow Americans wish to regress to the 1950s. There’s no other explanation for their having voted in an administration that, after doing away with the Paris Accord, the TPP, Obama Care, and other signature policies of your government, will be certain to set their sights on women’s reproductive rights and on the minimum wage.

   Believe me, Mr. President. Republicans will seek ways to compel the Supreme Court of the United States to abrogate Roe vs Wade, even if such an endeavor means that they would be going against the Court’s on precedent. I fear that they will succeed because they control both houses of Congress; not only that, but they will soon appoint to the SCOTUS judges who espouse their retrograde views.

   Stop for a moment and consider the sort of people who have been in the news as possible candidates for the Supreme Court: Senators Cruz and Sessions. 

   I won’t expound on the former, whose views we were exposed to throughout the presidential campaign. Of the latter, I will only say that I was appalled at racially-charged commentaries he reportedly made back in the 1980s. What do you think will follow? If it doesn’t precede it. They will go after gay marriage. Since the day after the election, I have witnessed firsthand the terror that the student body at the college I’m attending is experiencing. There are countless reports of African-Americans, transsexual, gays, and other minorities, falling victim to harassment at the hand of Trumps supporters—of course, the PEOTUS will take no responsibility for any of it. You have probably heard the reports about how his having won the election emboldened White supremacists from the KKK to rally in North Carolina in the wee hours of November 9th.

   Who would have thought that in 2016, in America of all places, we would have White folks spitting on the face of African-American students? It is too upsetting for me to continue discussing these latter issues. I will, however, say that I fear for African-Americans, and for those in the LGBTQ community. The latter, just as it is the case with undocumented immigrants, stand to suffer the most under the incoming administration. 

   I am not, ethnically, considered an African-American. Or am I? I know I am an American, and I think that when the right of even one of us is violated, the whole country should be concerned.

   I bring this up because, if the prospective Attorney General (Giuliani, it’s being suggested) has his way, this is exactly what he intends to do. How? By bringing back “stop-and-frisk.” He will trample over the rights of millions of Americans; especially those of Blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims. For some reason, I’m not so concerned about my own ethnic group. I’m pleading more for the African-Americans and Muslim among us, for they are the ones who will suffer the brunt of the affront to their dignity when police officers stop them for no other reason than that they were born with the “wrong” amount of melanin in their skin.

   How much longer must Blacks and Muslims continue to be the victims of this xenophobia-driven hate?


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