I have been sending a lot of snail mail recently, and I decided this morning that I was long overdue in sending a letter to the President. After all, he has been sending so much mail – both snail mail and e-mail – to me. It seems almost rude not to write him back. Especially as he keeps asking me questions like, “Do you still have my back?”
It is not like me to not respond to a direct question from a correspondent – even a correspondent who did not actually write, read, or sign the letter that is purportedly from themselves to me (and a few hundred thousand of their other close friends.)
When I write to a politician, I write by hand. I want them (or their intern) to know that, even if they aren’t really taking time for me or most of their other constituents, they are important enough to me to take time over. What follows is a transcript of the handwritten letter that is in this morning’s outgoing mail.
Dear Mr. President:
I wanted you to know why I have been deleting the many e-mails “from” you and your staff asking me questions like, “Do you still have my back?” The answer is, “No, I do not.” In fact, it seems rather cheeky to ask for continued support from people like me who supported you from the beginning because of what appeared to be principled stands on everything from torture to net neutrality to the broad war-making powers claimed for the presidency by G.W. Bush. Even your stands against big money in politics and the over-reach of NSA information gathering have apparently been abandoned. And you have the gall to ask me not to abandon you? Honestly?
Your presidency has been a profound disappointment to me. I understand that you have been hampered by whiny extremists, calling themselves Republicans, who have refused to play ball. I grieve that too many Americans are still too racist to accept anything that you might propose. I celebrate the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and even applaud so-called “Obama-care,” which, while not nearly comprehensive, is still making healthcare affordable for thousands more Americans than before you took office.
But could we stop bombing so many foreign civilians, please? (I say “we” because, as a taxpayer, I am helping to pay to kill people I have no argument with.) Could we stop letting the NSA collect enough material to blackmail every American? (I say “we” because, as a taxpayer, I am paying the NSA to record my e-mails and phone calls and internet searches. What purpose could it serve to spy on someone who mostly makes her living writing Sunday school curriculum and sometimes assisting seminary professors in grading papers? What a waste of my money – especially at a time when school teachers are abandoning my state because they can’t afford to teach here anymore.)
So. Congress has tied your hands. That is indeed a problem. But I can’t say that I am convinced that you would achieve even half of your ambitious 2008 agenda with a solidly liberal Congress. I am not convinced because of the many things you have failed to do that you do have control over – and the many things you have done that you ought not to have done. Like arguing that the powers that Congress gave the President after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 authorized you to go after ISIS as you saw fit without further Congressional approval. This set a precedent for all who will follow you in this job, as I’m sure you are aware.
From our founding, this country has had its way determined far too often by violence and greed. I had ~HOPE~ that you understood this, and were committed to fighting against it. Now I see that we have sown the wind, and will reap the whirlwind. I will continue to vote, but I will no longer look to politicians for ~CHANGE~ This country set its course by genocide, guns, and slavery. As far as I can see, very little has “changed.”
I will continue to pray for you, that the power you have attained will not permanently blind you to what most has power over you. President or no, you are a cog in history’s machinery. As Bob Dylan once observed: “It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” I hope that you will pray for yourself, that you might discern in your every decision who it is that you serve.
Your sister in Christ,