Dear President Obama,
As a child of the ’60s, I’ve seen my share of presidents – some good, some bad, some well-meaning, some corrupt.
Like many of my generation, I have a cynical view of politicians. The word seems to suggest, if not a charlatan, then certainly an opportunist.
You changed that and more.
When you became the 44th president of the United States in 2009, you inherited an economy in crisis and a country fighting two wars in the Middle East.
As the first African-American leader of the free world, you faced unparalleled opposition from Republicans, who vowed to thwart your every initiative even before you took the oath of office.
Some of it came down to ideological differences; some of it came down to racism. As a nation, we’ve not nearly come as far as we should have, and recently it feels as if we’ve set the clock back decades in just the last few months.
Among your finest moments in the White House: You repealed the odious “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military; you passed the Affordable Care Act, which now provides health insurance to more than 20 million Americans who had previously suffered without; and you enacted clean energy and climate initiatives that will help our great-grandchildren enjoy the environment.
Your accomplishments cannot be summed up on paper because they go beyond wonky policy and address the heart, the spirit and the will. Across your two terms in office, you have remained steadfast in your optimism in seeing the best in this country. Despite the rancor directed against you, you always remained civil, diplomatic, always with a hand out. At a time when immaturity reigns, you have always been the adult in the room.
I don’t know when you first dreamt of becoming president; I only know many of us have waited our entire lives to see a man such as you in the White House. Your example and leadership will resonate for generations. You have encouraged all citizens to remember that the government is their government, that we all belong and we all have a place at the table.
Thank you, Mr. President, for remaining steadfast on behalf of this great nation. The rest of us have a lot to live up to. We will try to make you proud.