Dear Mr. President,
You just won a second term. Congratulations: you have four more years of accelerating your gray hair growth. But seriously — these are four important years. This campaign has been toxic. There were lies on both sides. You acknowledged we hated hearing your “I approve this message” over and over on our televisions. I got into several fights on Facebook and Twitter these past few months because of how deep the American people were drowning in this campaign. I’ll admit, I was asking for it most of the time.
But now, it’s time to get to work. You don’t have to campaign anymore. There is no need for political posturing. No need to surprisingly endorse gay marriage one month, give a little on immigration the next, and create strategies with the sole purpose of gathering enough support to win another round. An election is not haunting you in four years. You have the “flexibility” you spoke about with President Putin (that thing we weren’t supposed to hear). The American people expect you to use that flexibility in appropriate ways.
Another election may not be on your radar, but a fiscal cliff is on this country’s mind. Despite the rhetoric on both sides of the aisle, there is no question that our country must deal with the deficit and debt without compromising job growth or bringing on a new economic turndown. Raising taxes will not be enough. I ask you to immediately tackle this issue by working with Congress. You were disengaged these past four years. Simpson-Bowles was gutted without serious consideration, and while you implored Congress to pass this and pass that, your input stopped there. I ask you to take charge. I ask you to use your executive power to drive and shape policy, not just request it. Instead of taking your policies to the American people like you said last night, I ask you to take it to Congress. Work with Republicans for bipartisan deals – ones that will be difficult but possible if you work hard at it.
Acknowledge that health care reform is not complete and far from perfect. Work to refine the bill to make sure people are able to get the most desirable care that they require without compromising their values. I ask that you reconsider your compromise on the contraception mandate that still infringes on the rights of Catholic institutions and address new questions about the coming healthcare transition. While Paul Ryan was your competitor these past few months, work with him and Republicans in Congress to craft a way forward for Medicare and Medicaid that ensures the program can sustain itself for the coming generations. Streamline the options to make sure employees and Americans are taking advantage of the programs available and receiving the maximum benefits.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process was left untouched since 2010. Reengage. Take charge and put a proposal on the table that can be discussed, looked over, redeveloped and that could potentially lead to small steps and a lasting peace in the region. There are already ideas, and I encourage you to heed the example of President Bush senior and James Baker in their unwavering relationship and trust that led to foreign policy successes in the Middle East. The United States can revive its position as the “honest broker” in the conflict if we turn our attention back to the issue.
Clarify what happened in Libya, and begin to take steps with your Department of State and Defense to implement an overarching strategy for our embassy protection across the world and policy for engaging with the Arab world during this transformational time. I understand your administration is “pivoting” to Asia, but begin to press the international community on Syria, where citizens were continually murdered as our country immersed itself in election bickering. Pressure Russia to assist us in bringing peace in Syria and preventing fallout in countries like Lebanon. Their support for Syria could mean support on the Iranian nuclear issue.
Mr. President, you face immense challenges. Understand that incremental and meticulous steps that move the whole country forward together are sometimes less valued but oftentimes better than giant, rushed leaps that cause people to stumble and fall behind. The campaign put the important issues facing our country on pause as the world kept spinning. It’s time to press play.
for some reason i feel like when the american media says a presidential election is going to be defined by “the economy” or “foreign policy,” things always manage to switch to a new focus in the month leading up to the actual election.
i have a feeling it’s going to happen this year too. i’d tell the candidates to watch out for russia and iran.
there’s this great quote by st. ignatius of loyola that says “pray as if it all depends on god, for it does. but work as if it all depends on us, for it does.” i remembered this recently because i’ve been feeling like i’ve been so indifferent to a lot of people and a lot of things. not because i don’t care, but because i am getting in the horrible cycle of telling myself “things will always work out in the end.” i mean that’s true. but what st. ignatius’ quote is saying is that you have to shape the opportunities that will eventually work or fall flat. it’s like a basketball player saying he isn’t going to try at a game because it’s not up to him whether he wins or loses.
which leads to another of my favorite quotes: “man proposes, god disposes.”
i’m not even proposing. i’m going through the motions, without trying harder. i disregard suggestions because i’m comfortable and don’t see myself putting in more effort. whether it’s work, relationships, or even having fun. and i hate myself for it. i used to tell myself “everything matters.” it helped me put in so much to the smallest things, because i knew it would mean i would put even more effort in the BIGGER things.
one more quote, from abraham lincoln: “things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
so now i’ve decided to try again. i have an amazing life, and am comfortable and grateful. but i want to get more out of what i am already doing and the amazing people i know. i want to shape these responsibilities and relationships so that god at least has the opportunity to dispose and lead me down the right path.
i’m going to try harder at work. be more enthusiastic with swim lessons. innovate instead of go through the motions at the baker institute. i’m going to try harder in school work and with my activities. and i’m going to try harder with you.
it makes me forget about all of the insignificant stuff going on in the middle east and the rest of the world. football is obviously more important. definitely.
umm hello. where did this come from? sometimes i don’t understand this administration’s logic and how they come to these decisions. what about syria?
or maybe they need someone to force them to pay more money. i’m confused.