Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Open Letter To President Obama

Dear President Obama,

For the first time in over 6 years, I am proud to call myself an American. I'm proud to be a citizen of the United States of America and I thank you for calling me a "citizen" and not referring to the citizens of our nation as "folks."

I have seen and felt the new hope you've inspired in the citizens of the United States of America. You have indeed hit a spot within me that I have seen lacking in this country, a lack that has dragged this country down. You said today in your inaugural speech:

"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."

You've called upon me and the rest of America to continue the journey begun by our forefathers. To take responsibility and make the tough decisions necessary for greatness. In your own words:

"This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

For parents I hear a call for us to reclaim our responsibility to parent, to guide and teach our children to be secure, brave, productive, caring, and responsible individuals, lacking the sense of self-entitlement, the "gimme" syndrome of many today, young and old, but especially young. We must drop the sense of guilt permeating parenthood and be brave and strong in setting limits so that our children learn that there is a responsibility that comes with freedom. We must set an example of to service to others that our children will want to follow, not because of what they can get out of it, but what others can get from it. We must recognize that much of what is available today is not wholesome or enriching, and decline to include these things in our lives and our children's lives.

President Obama, I see in you a strong, compassionate leader, who will forge bridges and roads to peace on Earth beginning in our own homes and neighborhoods and extending to the rest of the citizens and nations of this world. Today you extended a hand of friendship to all people in all nations on this planet. This is one of the most important things you could do because my little child will not come from the United States of America, but from across the world in China, but she will become an American and I want her to be proud of that, to live in a country that sets an example of love, tolerance and freedom for all mankind. I believe you can do this because of your own heritage, your own beliefs and your resolve:

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

Today I promise to support you, Mr. President, in your pledge, because I am part of the "we" you are talking about:

"To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it."

I will donate to organizations on a regular basis who travel the world to make clean waters flow, and provide food for starved bodies and build schools and other educational programs to feed hungry minds. I will serve my neighbor. I will be a good Samaritan. I will be a strong, brave parent who isn't afraid to make tough decisions for myself or for my child. I will parent with common sense instead of guilt, limits instead of indulgence. I will be vigilant and responsible on all fronts.

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed..."

I will remember you in my prayers, that you will have:

Wisdom, Capability, Faith, Honesty and Integrity,

That the people you've chosen to help you will have the same,

That you will bring peace to this world,

That you will inspire and facilitate the citizens of our country to assemble the broken pieces within and rebuild our nation to sustainability,

That your family will remain strong and tightly bonded as you go about the difficult job of being President of the United States,

That you and your family will remain safe from harm and evil,

That those around you will support you in your righteous endeavors, here at home and abroad,

That all Americans will accept the challenge you put forth today and realize that the power for improvement on all fronts is in our own hands and begins in our own homes, within ourselves first of all.

Your Faithful Citizen,

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