FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Touching Letters From Barack Obama

by RALPH NADER

I’ve been getting a variety of letters from President Barack Obama. The salutation is often: “Dear Ralph.” One of them asks me for $25, adding “Ralph, this is that moment. This is the time to be in with me.” He writes that “I need your voice,” that America needs the “dreams and the energy and the determination of people like you.”

Mr. Obama acknowledged that, “We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution.” He concludes one letter by saying “Ralph, I need you to be part of that movement. Now I need you to be in…. Your dreams, your determination will drive this campaign.”

Wow!

Wait, it gets better. Another letter starts: “Dear Ralph, each night, I get the chance to read about 10 letters from people across the country. Some are inspiring. Some are heartbreaking. But each one compels me to keep moving forward on this journey we started together…. People like you have been giving it your all.”

He even includes a comment card for me to offer my suggestions, thoughts and ideas. He wants this feedback, he writes, “from citizens in the District of Columbia and across the country” to help him “stay connected to [my] priorities.”

This is exciting. I get to tell the President directly what we can do together to abolish poverty, including full Medicare for all, put law and order to the corporate crooks, dramatically shift from fossil and nuclear fuels to solar, wind, geothermal and efficient technologies to lower the risk of climate change, and keep more dollars in family pocketbooks. I can remind him about his forgotten 2008 promise to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 in 2011 and urge his support for Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s bill “Catching Up To 1968 Act of 2012” (H.R.5901; see: timeforaraise.org).

Since he mentioned the District of Columbia, I can remind him, as many here already have, about his forgotten promise in 2008 to end the colonial status of the nation’s capital and fight for voting representation in Congress for its disenfranchised people.

His expressed desire to repair America and help students and patients made me wonder why he did not mention cutting the vastly bloated and wasteful military budget, ending the spreading Afghan quagmire and putting all those saved dollars toward such “hope and change” here in America. He has space left over in his four-paged letters to discuss such things.

Oh well, being President is more than any one person can really handle these days. Which is why I welcome another of his letters which opened: “Dear Ralph, when you sent me to the White House, I pledged that I would always keep the lines of communication open – and I meant it…. my ability to lead the country depends on listening to you.” He then advised me to “Stay engaged. Listen, learn and use your voice to speak out for the issues that matter most to you.” He said America needs me.

It is touching to see his regular letters. Who would have thought, after my sending him many substantive letters since December 2008 and not receiving a single reply, nary even an acknowledgement from one of his assistants in the vast Executive Branch over which he presides that he was interested in my suggestions?

Appealing once to Michelle, the nice organic gardener and fellow Princetonian, I tried to enlist her help in getting a reply from her husband about his meeting with a large gathering of national civic organizations in D.C., which have millions of members nationwide. (President-elect Jimmy Carter held such a meeting in 1976.)  That request too went without a reply. I even asked her and the President simply to explain their non-response policy guidelines.

Again, no response.

Hark! There is still hope. I just received another missive from President Obama, with an enclosed postcard featuring his signed picture. The letter starts with “Dear Ralph,” and builds to a crescendo with these boldly underlined words, “I’d like to hear from you.”

Quickly, before he changes his mind, I rush to my changeless Underwood typewriter and start, hopefully, with “Dear Barack, I am so pleased that you’d like to hear from me….”

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail