FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Touching Letters From Barack Obama

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.

 

More articles by:

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail