Dear President Obama,
Today is your day.
As of 12pm EST, You took over the leadership of the free world. America has its 44th President.
While I disagree with you on many issues, today is your day sir.
You represent my nation, and I want you to lead well. I want you to succeed.
I have some requests for you. I want to emphasize that they are requests, not demands. Nevertheless, I implore you to heed my words.
Level with the American people. Always. Tell us the truth, whether we want to hear it or not. Look us in the eye, tell us what you are doing, why you are doing it unless national security dictates otherwise, and then do it. Don’t back down. You made your decisions for a reason.
I will disagree with many of your decisions, but it will never be personal with me. I will want the very best of health, peace and happiness for you, your wife, and your two children. When I see people taking cheap shots against you, I will condemn it. I will do this even if these people are on my side of the political fence. In fact, I will do it especially if they are on my side.
All I ask in return is that you recognize me as a member of the noble, loyal opposition. I do not hate you. I disagree with you. We have different belief systems. Yet if you look me in the eye, and tell me that you will be enacting policies that are diametrically opposed to my beliefs, and those decisions are based on deeply held convictions and sound reasoning, you will have my respect.
I did not vote for you sir, but I owe you the benefit of the doubt.
I owe you the benefit of the doubt.
I truly believe that you love this country, and that you want what is best for us. You want to keep us safe.
From a personal standpoint, I genuinely believe that you are sincere when you say that you want to bring people together.
For you to successfully do this, you will have to butt heads and defeat a faction of your own party that is more interested in vengeance than governance.
After you won the election I promised you that the 10 weeks between the election and the inauguration would determine how I personally viewed you. If you treated President George W. Bush with respect and dignity, I would show you that same courtesy.
You have been a complete gentleman since the election, and I genuinely appreciate that. You may not realize this, but when you described President George W. Bush recently as a “good person,” that meant a lot to me.
I believe that you have an understanding of the power of your new office and title. Once you sit in that chair, you will have to make choices, with each one angering a certain segment of American society. Chances are I may be one of the first people to be upset. Yet it will never be personal.
I hope you truly never end up seeing me as evil, mean, dumb, heartless, or other adjectives that have been applied to people just for being right of center. You seem like a man of decency that will see me the way I see you…as a fellow member of the American family.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, we will go back and forth about taxes, trade, guns, Israel, and a host of other issues.
That can wait. Today is your day.
Yesterday we honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today a major piece of his vision will be fulfilled.
A few days ago I held an elevator door open for an elderly black couple. She had one hand on her cane and the other clutched on to her husband’s arm. They had limited eyesight, but the love in their eyes was easy to see. They said that they had been married for 62 years. As much as Martin Luther King Jr. Day matters to them, I cannot begin to imagine how proud they must be of you.
As a young, white conservative, I do not have to have lived through certain experiences to understand their meaning to others. One day America will have a Jewish President, and I will be crying my eyes out. So when I see black America weeping tears of joy, I will more than understand.
One day the idea of a black man as President will be boring. Perhaps your children will grow up and have no idea that such an event even matters. That would be even more amazing than your inauguration.
In politics, January 20th is the big day. In sports it is February 1st.
In less than two weeks, the Super Bowl will be played. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Arizona Cardinals. I mention this because the first Steelers team to win the Super Bowl was the 1974 team. The “Steel Curtain” consisted of Dwight White, L C Greenwood, Ernie Holmes, and Mean Joe Greene. They were the first front four that was all black, something that would not garner any notice today. Many people do not remember this, but Terry Bradshaw did not start the season. The starting quarterback was Joe Gilliam. He was the first black quarterback in the modern era. His success was limited, but 13 years later, Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl. In 1989, Art Shell became the first black man to be an NFL head coach in the modern era. In 2006, both Super Bowl teams had black head coaches.
My point sir is that things take time. Americans are evolutionary, not revolutionary. I know you campaigned on change, but Americans by nature tend to want slow movements. If you move too slowly, some will get restless. If you move too quickly, others will get nervous. Your promise of change may face limitations in a system set up by our Founding Fathers, who viewed “getting nothing done,” and “gridlock,” as “the system working.”
I do not envy your job sir. You have a very tough road ahead. However, you have a rare combination of talent, brains, and an ability to connect with people. With good luck thrown in, anything is possible. Of course, a few private prayers during the toughest times to the God you believe in could help as well.
The challenges will be many, but those challenges can be overcome.
After all, this is America.
Good luck President Obama.