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! 

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail