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:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rivera Sun
Nonviolent History: South Africa’s Port Elizabeth Boycott
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail