My Last Letter To President Obama

NOTE: I wrote this article using my own time and resources. This is purely my personal opinion.

____________________

I hope you read it. It might help you.

October 12, 2012
New York

Dear President Obama:

This is my last letter to you. I don’t know if you have time to read it. But I hope you do.

I’m not going to say anything revealing to you; I’m going to say things that many of us tried to say to you over these four years since we worked hard with huge excitement, energy and enthusiasm for your victory in 2008. We were euphoric when you became the president of the United States. I played my small part to celebrate: I wrote a number of articles and spoke at a number of seminars, conferences and meetings to congratulate you, and explain to my audiences the significance of your election. An entire generation of young people shared my excitement; for me, I shared the ultimate vindication of my black brothers and sisters.

Guess what, I still have the Obama-2008 bumber sticker stuck on my old American car.

We all thought you were going to use your enormously powerful position to drive this country and virtually the entire world back to the direction of the ordinary working people and families, promote economic equality, hold the corporate criminals accountable and bring them to justice. We thought your leadership would stop global warfare and bloodshed, and bring some peace to mankind especially after the horrors of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft.

I am very sorry and dejected to tell you that you have not fulfilled our hopes, dreams and aspirations. You have let us down.

Two months ago, I posted an article on this blog where I had predicted you were going to lose in this November’s election. I analyzed some issues I thought were responsible for your likely loss. Some of my Democratic friends were angry reading it; they thought I was playing the role of a party pooper. Some of them unfriended me from their Facebook.

Yet, at the same time, I challenged the Romney-Ryan ticket with maximum force. I posed some questions to your Republican opponents — questions I thought media should have asked them but never did. Please visit the questions here if you are interested to know.

Of course, at that time very few people thought you could lose; and I wrote the article even before that scandalous and racist “47 percent” Romney speech Mother Jones magazine broke: speech at a $50,000 per plate fundraising dinner Romney had in Florida ($50,000 is the average annual income for an American family; in many Third World countries, it’s the annual income for an entire city, perhaps). When that exposé came out, hardly anybody thought you could ever lose; in fact, even diehard Republicans thought Romney threw the elections straight in your lap; the Florida speech was so devastatingly damaging for him and the Republican Party. But who knows, maybe, that episode had made you overconfident, and you took the first presidential debate casually with no preparation whatsoever; your election prospects since then took a nose dive. Boy, how quickly things turn!

You took that debate with your now-familiar demeanor: you took your audience — your supporters and sympathizers and onlookers across the country — for granted. That non-performance in the debate was really symptomatic of your four years of non-performance. That abject failure to rise up and overpower your fierce, well-oiled opponents and their media with measured documents and reasons was symptomatic of your four years of abject failure to rise up and do the right thing at the most critical moment.

You’re going to be paying a hefty price for that non-performance. And you’re going to drag us all down with you, by your non-performance and lackluster presidency. Your elite circle of advisors — dubious and ill-reputed political insiders who are really part of the now-infamous 1 percent, exposed because of Occupy Wall Street’s resistance and challenge — have ill-advised you. You believed in them, and took us for granted. Your drones killed many innocent people overseas; your political actions killed hopes and dreams of many here in the U.S.

I can never vote for racists and bigots.

President Obama, let me be clear. I would be very sad and disheartened if you get a shock defeat in this election. I would get a chill in my bones if someone like Romney whose racism and hypocrisy is now exposed becomes the president of America. I know he’s going to start another devastating war in Iran: the war industries and Karl Rove are working hard for his victory. I would be frozen to death if a social and economic extremist like Ryan with his Tea Party Glenn Beck doctrine becomes the vice president of this country. I know he is going to kill off the last remnant of the New Deal, including Medicare and Social Security as well as collective bargaining and such precious rights of the working people of America. His party will probably overturn Roe v Wade too, destroying women’s precious reproductive rights. Corporate America, NRA and Koch Brothers as well as organized bigoted groups are working hard for his victory.

Even though I have serious, major issues with your presidency and every single day, I feel cheated by the promises you and your administration didn’t keep, just because I NEVER want a racist and a bigot become the world’s top leaders, I would want you to win.

The only problem is that deep inside, I feel you are not going to win. And you can blame nobody other than yourself for this looming, historic defeat. Your likely loss would be the final letdown of the billions of people — particularly the young generation here in America and peace and democracy soldiers all across the world — who believed so much in your message of hope. They believed in YOU!

You let them all down. How terrible this letdown has been!

Sincerely Writing,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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11 thoughts on “My Last Letter To President Obama

  1. Partha,

    I never comment on political issues. I don’t even read them- mostly. Moreover, American politics is too distant an issue for me. Yet.

    Your last letter has moved me deeply. I have a deep sense of foreboding. It like I was trying to wade across a shallow river and an unexpected under tug knocked my feet out from under me and the current has carried me along. Is seconds now I’ll be hurled down a ferocious waterfall.

    The end of the world as I knew it.

    I can feel the unpleasantly gritty pulp of that feeling gumming up my jaw.

    Sad… so sad.

    Dagny

    1. Hi Dagny:

      So nice to hear from you! I am also deeply touched by the words you said. Thanks for the precious share.

      The feel of being cheated by someone you wanted to put your faith on is the ultimate letdown. This moment in history could otherwise have been so opportune to turn the fate of the world around. Sadly, we are going to have to wait for a very long time before the people power may rise up and seize the moment. Unfortunately, it may come at the cost of many, many human lives — lives of our children.

      Iceland woke up and cleaned up their mess. European Union at least tried to save its ordinary people and families from the disaster of corporate capitalism gone out of control. USA couldn’t. India, the other country I know, wouldn’t.

      Please keep in touch.

      -Partha

  2. As usual your letter [ost is heart-felt and straight forward focussed on non-perfor,ance oofMr. Obama in relation to your high expectations. He did not have a magic wand and there was no way for him to satisfy you. But he is an honest, good person as you are. He could not have manipulated to achieve even what he would have wished. He was not the man equal to US challangs as they arose in 2010-11 (nor was Bush or his successor Republican candidate. And, Presidents will be increasingly weak in relation to the laws of economics. Yet, politically, he still has a chance to win the second term: many things can happen in the net three weeks to influence voter behaviour. So, do not give up hopes. And if he wins, he will continue to be non-performer and yet he may take the credit when in 2015-16, the economy itself really bounces back.
    I wish to quote from your letter in Facebook, unless you communicate your objection

  3. I have my own problems with his Presidency to date, Partha, but in the end he did what he could do given the Congress he had to work with, which for the large part was an opposition party and little else. He is not a dictator, nor did his election grant him any mystical magical powers. If he wins, if he loses, the fight goes on. You know my working theory on activism, Partha. As activists we may never know the final outcome of our effort(s), we only know that we must continue to speak up, we must fight to right the wrongs, and so we just do it. Be peaceful, Partha. Remain hopeful, and know that no matter the outcome of the 2012 elections, ultimately the game has changed and we have seen the world awaken. Our children will continue our fight because we raised them well, and in our absence perhaps one day they will reap what we have sown.

    1. Lori, I do not have much faith in this now-rigged system. But I want to believe in your faith. Time will only tell. Please keep in touch and write more. Hope you share this little article that I wrote from my heart. It’s one hundred percent honest. I believe it’s about time for a non-violent peoples’ revolution to throw the plutocracy out and claim power.

  4. Dear Partha,

    You are such a gifted writer. You were able to put into words exactly what I have been feeling. However, I think from this experience I have learned that it is never a good idea to put any faith in our leaders. My grandfather used to say that the system was rigged. He believed that there was about a dozen of extremely rich men who controlled everything. Presidents and leaders of all the other countries were chosen by them, not the people. I am beginning to believe that maybe my grandfather was right!

    Namaste,
    Neva

    1. “My grandfather used to say that the system was rigged. He believed that there was about a dozen of extremely rich men who controlled everything.” Your grandfather was a wise and noble man, Neva.

  5. Eugene Debs, America’s socialist and trade union leader who ran as a third candidate and got enormous support, wrote in 1902: “My supreme conviction was that if they [working people] were only organized in every branch of the service and all acted together in concert they could redress their wrongs and regulate the conditions of their employment. The stockholders of the corporation acted as one, why not the men? It was such a plain proposition—simply to follow the example set before their eyes by their masters—surely they could not fail to see it, act as one, and solve the problem.” I think his words are even more true today. Only if we listened and believed.

  6. Your words are heartfelt, well-crafted, and thought-provoking. But, in my opinion, they are incomplete, and, in that sense, somewhat unfair to both President Obama and to those who support him. We looked to President Obama for leadership through the last 4 years, seeking all the goals that you mentioned. I think he provided a good bit of that leadership, and much of his failure in that effort was beyond his control.

    However, the political world is more complicated than that, and the political structure of the United States is more complicated than that, both legally and practically (and I am not referring to the influence of big money, which you and your previous commenters got right). I am referring to the legal balance of powers of government (and the behind-the-scene haggling that occurs in practice), and the media-based drive for the hearts and minds of the populace, which is, unfortunately, an effort that is very little truly factual journalism, but very much editorial opinion, spin, and controlled by people and organizations that are not under the control of any branch of government, and certainly not the president.

    Regarding the role of the congress, the separation of powers based in the constitution, the President cannot pass laws, he can only present them for consideration, usually done by a member of congress from his own party, with, ideally, a co-sponsor from the other party. It is a well established fact that the key republicans and their funders and strategists, at a meeting on the day of President Obama’s inaguration, decided that they would never support any legislative proposal that the President would set forth. Not only have they followed that to the letter, refusing ANY effort of true compromise, they have actually made proposals of their own, which, when later offered by the President as his attempt at compromise, they have refused.

    The president has to be able to use his bully pulpit to attack those who oppose him, but this requires the cooperation of the media, which, because of Fox news and similar outlets, and because other networks bending over backwards to appease the tea party and others on the right, is support that this president has never had. [if we want the president to fulfill the promise, voting is not enough. Democracy is not a vending machine where we push the button and get what we want. We have to help in many other ways, including pushing advertisers, who rely on OUR dollars, to quit funding the promotion of the right wing ideas. The right wing already uses that tactic for their advantage]. Behind the scenes negotiation in congress, which LBJ was a master of, and Clinton was pretty good at as well, is not something that can be done so easily with this congress. Reagan would drop into Tip O’Neill’s office for a casual talk, and the two would have lunch often. Ted Kennedy was good friends with Oran Hatch, who was a far right as it got in those days. President Obama invited Boehner and Kantor to meet him on the golf course for an informal outing, and old, hand-across-the-aisle tradition, and Kantor flat-out refused, while Boehner accepted, and was roundly criticized by his party for doing so. It never happened again. Even the attempts at civility across the aisle are now considered evidence of being a traitor to ones party. In this atmosphere, no wonder that the president could not get any legislative initiative passed, except the weak Affordable Care Act (for which he is called a socialist, in spite of the fact that the law was first proposed by Nixon, was passed by Romney as governor, and, the hated “individual mandate” was authored by the Heritage foundation).

    To those who say the President had a majority in his first two years, the response is that there was never a veto-proof majority, and the blue-dogs prevented him from having a true majority, ever. Many of his goals were dependent on congressional cooperation which he never got. Closing Guantanamo, Wall Street and banking regulation, and many others, all require new laws, passed by congress, before anything can happen. They never did.

    The President was never allowed full and fair hearings in the court of public opinion, since so many of the monied interests controlled the media that was necessary for him to reach the public. a few speeches will not change opinions as quickly as emotional appeals via mixed media. As Marshall MacCluhan said 50+ years ago, the medium IS the message. With media outlets openly opposed to the president no matter what he might say, he was not given a fair chance.

    I agree that his effort at the debates was terrible, and I blame that on his lack of sleep (someone has to run the country), poor preparation (he was ill-advised to avoid controversy, since, above all, he had to appear “presidential.” ), and his own personal style, which is more professorial and less ‘courtroom.’ My biggest complaint about him personally is that he held on to too many of his Chicago advisers who were great locally, and even state-wide, but out of their depth on the national level.

    Regarding getting us out of the Bush wars, he did that in Iraq, and is doing that in Afganistan. While I would prefer those wars have ended the day Obama took office, no reasonable person would expect that a sudden pullout, instead of a phased draw-down would have any other effect than to leave a sudden vacuum that would have much more violence and trouble than any phased pullout would. Look at the post-pull-out violence in Iraq, and multiply that by a hundred, or a thousand, and that is what a sudden withdrawal would have created. He refused to involve us in the Arab spring events, except diplomatically (with some small exceptions in Libya), and is doing everything he can to avoid our military involvement in Syria and Iran. As you correctly pointed out, his opponents would have no such hesitation, and are loudly criticizing the president for his stance.

    In short, the gut response of disappointment in the president, while understandable, is, upon consideration, not wholly accurate. the political landscape of the United States has changed, and tactics have to change with it. To repeat what I have said many times before, the tea party has created the model to initiate that change, and progressives would be wise to learn from that model.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Bill, as always. I truly appreciate it.

      You wrote: “To those who say the President had a majority in his first two years, the response is that there was never a veto-proof majority, and the blue-dogs prevented him from having a true majority, ever.” Then, his Democratic Party failed him, and in turn, failed the entire country and the people who voted for him.

      In essence, this system simply doesn’t work. It will never work in this structure with these corrupt and greedy people in power.

      We need to look for a new leadership.

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