My Blog List

People I Know

Eclectic Folks

Media Blogs

Politics, Policy Blogs

Page Rank

Check Page Rank of your Web site pages instantly:

This page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dear President-Elect Obama


Congratulations on your historic win. Not only am I glad that you were victorious, I'm happy that it wasn't decided by the interpretation of a few hundred hanging chads somewhere. You ran, for the most part, an excellent campaign. You gave a very moving acceptance speech, embracing those who did not support you. I'm betting even Condi Rice shed a tear or two of happiness. Not only black people, but white people, Asians, Hispanics and not insignificantly, those who identify as mixed race, were inspired that your election could happen in the United States of America.

Before I get too far into this, my condolences to you and your sister on the passing of your beloved grandmother. Her death, practically on the eve of the election, gave you no time to grieve properly.

Wow. I'm so used to voting for people who run for President and lose. I'm now 2 for 10.

One of the things I saw on the news that hadn't occurred to me was a story in a barbershop, the barbershop of Steve Osumsami of ABC News. One man noted that young black men can't going around saying they can't achieve because they didn't have a father around. He said he'd point out Barack Obama and note that a fatherless black child can become President.

I know you know what a big job you have. Moreover, you doubtless know how much you've already been undercut, perhaps less by your race and more by a bunch of pernicious lies that may have been a cover for race or a different form of "otherness". Some of it was particularly venal.

One of the effects of this particular poisoning of the well is that you will need to show that you're not part of some wacko conspiracy to undermine the country. One of the ways for you to do that is to do less.

Please follow me here. One of the most egregious things done by your soon-to-be-predecessor is his unprecedented grab of Presidential authority. Signing documents, secret dealings and other tools in the toolkit that made the last eight years far from the balance of power I believe the Founders intended. in fact, the reason I favored the impeachment of George W. Bush was not to punish him but to set limits on the authority of the executive branch.

Failing that, I think you can build confidence of the American people, both those who supported you, and perhaps even more, those who did not, by relinquishing, or at least not utilizing some of the more venal methodologies used by Bush 43. Transparency, rather than secrecy, needs to be the watchword. You have given a lot of people tremendous hope in our future, in spite of the bleak economic forecast. They will follow you a long way as long as they know what they are following.

To that end, i think your http://www.change.gov/ Change.gov website , which will be the "source for the latest news, events, and announcements so that you can follow the setting up of the Obama Administration" is a wonderful idea.

I do hope you can do something about health care, as you've indicated. I've found your story about your mother fighting insurance companies while fighting cancer deeply moving and I know will motivate you to have America do better.

Beyond that, I'll just wish you well. But I do have this thought: I realize that voting is a function of the states. Is there something you might champion that would champion some sort of nationwide early voting? Also, it 1polls open 12 hours for a Presidential election seems severely short when it means long lines, perhaps in inclement weather; it IS November, after all.

Finally, and I know it's a quirk, but you say, when answering questions, "Look" as a stalling tactic way too often. Watch the Fred Armisen parodies on Saturday Night Live. Hey maybe you can appear on SNL - all your opponents (Clinton, McCain, Palin) have. Maybe it'll be a sock it to me?" moment.


ROG

2 comments:

Scott said...

A great read, Roger. Very well put.

Anthony said...

Good idea writing a post as a letter to the President, and I very much like your wise words, particularly the part about transparency, and being very conscientious to exercise influence within the balance of power. Finally, I am not sure if I would characterize Obama's "Look" as a stall tactic, so much as a formulation tactic. I think stalling has connotations of underhandedly putting something off.