Friday, July 23, 2010

From 'Yes We Can' to 'Maybe Tomorrow'

Dear Mr. President,

I'm a 24 year old Washingtonian of the DC variety, and I'm writing you to address the issues I feel are a threat to our society as we know it. Sounds drastic huh? Well, you know what they say to all writers, "Catch them in the first sentence". But I digress. . .

The memory of Election Day 2008 is still fresh in my mind. My 13 year-old sister and I were walking the streets of Northern Virginia, in the rain, knocking on doors to make sure people were voting. Once I dropped her off, I went downtown to await the results. I will never forget the moment Keith Olbermann, whom we all were watching, declared victory, nor the dancing and celebrating in the streets that followed.

Before that, we spent many a weekend door-knocking and phone-banking trying to get Virginia to turn blue. It wasn't the first time in my life that I felt empowered, but it was the first time that I felt like my actions played a part in national history.

Mr. President, that fire from your campaign is being lost among the youth, myself included. For all the accomplishments you have made, I am incredibly proud of you. You and your administration have made historic leaps into the future with health reform, financial reform, hate crimes, middle-class tax breaks, etc. etc. If you were a CEO of a private firm, your company would be trying to sign you on for a lifetime. The problem is, no one knows about it. There are a few of us who actually read and try to have conversations about the extraordinary start your administration has gotten off to, but it all seems in vain because you aren't talking about it enough. Instead you are letting the outlandish Tea Party and the conservative media make you out to be the worst thing that ever happened to this country. This may sound harsh but I liken it to an abusive relationship. We're all trying to pretend we don't see the bruises thinking they'll go away, meanwhile they're getting darker and more severe and we're too busy focusing on the maybes in the future to challenge the injuries of the present. How do you expect us to fight for you if you won't fight for yourself?

Don't get me wrong, I applaud the democrats for the incredible victories, but while they were in the halls of congress getting stuff done, your administration and the DNC were slacking on getting the right message to the people. You can't expect everyone to scour the earth for the real story or just magically agree with you, you have to meet people where they are. With all due respect Sir, you of all people should know that as a former community organizer. You are doing everything you promised to do in your campaign with expediency and yet your approval ratings are low. We need democratic leadership if we're going to recover from the ridiculousness that was the Bush administration but November is right around the corner and the republicans are up a few points. It's like we're at half-time and the coach is saying, "Uh, you know, do what you can I guess". I realize you can't control everything but that's why you're the head man, so you can delegate to folks who are supposed to handle the rest.

I also realize that some of the responsibility lies with us as citizens, we have become poisoned by complacency and apathy. We have allowed our media to become a cheap sham of real news reporting, we have allowed technology to appropriate the art of conversation, and some of us have forgotten who are allies are. Some of that complacency, though, is because we have had to stand by and watch each one of your agendas come under attack with no rebuttal. What happened to "Fightthesmears.org"? The republicans and the tea baggers destroyed the public option, they destroyed ACORN, and now with this Sherrod situation, it seems like whatever the conservative media says, your administration is going along with just to avoid further conflict. They're the minority for a reason, Americans wanted something different than the status quo. Personally, I think the Tea Party is just a disguised racist/classist supremacist movement but they have every right to say whatever they want, just like the democrats have the right to call them on their lies. Why aren't we countering? Any good businessman knows that making the product is only 20% of the mix, selling it is the other 80%. We're not selling it Mr. President.

With regards to other policies on the agenda that haven't passed yet, specifically Don't Ask Don't Tell, are we not passing this for fear of tackling the taboo? Mr. President, I'm a black, gay, female; my whole life is one big taboo. If I were afraid of not being PC enough I would never leave my house. Now, I'm not for anyone chaining themselves to the White House gates or stopping traffic but you have to admit they have a point. Brave men and women are being kicked out of the military on a daily basis for what? We need all the people we can get and the folks who are being kicked out are serving a country that doesn't even recognize them as equals. What is the reward for their selfless bravery? Dishonorable discharge for being gay? What is wrong with issuing a stop-loss to at least halt the firings until DADT is repealed? I'm trying hard to understand why this has not happened.

We all have work to do; we have made huge strides so far but I strongly feel our progress is in jeopardy if we do not keep the democrats in office. It's clear that the republicans are only interested in being a barrier to your policies; they just voted against a bill for jobs that would help the small businesses they claim to be fighting for. They are dead set against "Cap and Trade" which was a republican campaign strong-point until you liked it. I know I don't have to tell you this; you know more of what's going on than the American people will ever know. But you said yourself that you wanted to stay connected to those of us on the ground; I'm here to tell you, the ground is a bit shaky from where I'm standing. I sincerely hope that you and the democrats can take control of the message you're sending to the people and you can do it by November. Although many of us feel disenfranchised, please know that we will still fight to get you and the democrats re-elected, if nothing more than for the fear of the alternative.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, just let me know when you're "fired up and ready to go" again.

1 comment:

Chido said...

Hey Jam, I agree that the White House has not pushed their success stories. However, the major issue is JOBS. The economy is "recovering," unemployment is high and companies are slow to hire. Allot of people have given up looking for work all together.

Its true that most republicans in congress thwart consensus building, but the White House must not ostracize the entire party because a few brave republicans are willing to meet them half way (Olympia Snow from Main and the junior senator from Mass.)

I think the administration is in a pickle. Until Americans start getting back to work and feel confident about spending money, they will spend more time upset with the government.
Health Care and Financial Reform are major advances, but I always look back at Maslow's Hiearchy of Needs. People need to eat first before they can self-actulaize or do anything else.