I write a letter to President Obama every year, in October. I think everyone should.
October 20, 2012
Christian Science Plaza
Dear President Obama,
This begins my sixth letter to you, fourth since you’ve been the sitting American President. I write to you annually in October, & publish the letter in my literary journal, The Cenacle, as well as mailing to you. One of millions you receive, I’m sure, but as much intended to inspire those around me to think for themselves, speak their minds, even put their thoughts to paper. Because it matters. I’m sure you’d agree with this sentiment.
Tonight I am sitting in a very pretty place, Christian Science Plaza in the Back Bay section of Boston. Lovely old buildings, long reflecting pool. I lived near here some years ago as a graduate student in English literature. Boston is one of the most beautiful metropolises in the country, & I’d guess your fondness for it is nearly great as my own, given your years at Harvard, save I think you’re probably most partial to Chicago.
Four years ago, sir, you talked of hope & change as you campaigned for President. It was a really ugly time in this country’s history, & your bright words rained welcomed down on our drought. We elected you to office, & you’ve spent four years discovering that most people in Washington, D.C. don’t give a fuck for the population as a whole. They are greedy, cynical, &, worse, immovable. Lobbyists stick around forever. Congress has no term limits, or quality controls, & perpetual re-election is common.
In short, you’ve had to bend, stoop, & claw for every gain. It’s all been slow, & little has been pretty. The country has limped partway back from the eight year raping it took from Bush & his known & shadowy backers.
I’m not sure why you’d want four more years as President. I know many, myself included, who want you to continue in office as a way to keep Mitt Romney out, & his stygian overlords from returning to power. A Romney presidency would be marked by the slow husking of the social safety net & ever-diminishing efficacy of the Constitution to protect anyone from anything.
You’ve spent four years trying to find the country jobs. It’s simple as that. You’ve been partly successful, & so the election seems to be a judgment on if enough people think you’ve been successful enough so far to keep on going. You’ll lose some of the impatient vote. Many of the jobless will just stay home.
But I think enough of us will vote for you in the handful of states that matter to keep you in. Yes, we can? Yah, I hope.
I’m sure tonight you are traveling somewhere in the country, dog tired, sick of saying the same words over & over for fear of . . . whatever. Probably wishing, a little bit, that you & Michelle & your daughters were back in Chicago, watching movies & getting take-out. (Their food rivals Boston’s.)
But you’re nonetheless out there, hustling for every last vote in the last great election of your still-young life. Trying to convince an electorate—too lazy most of the time to see the wasteland for good that DC has become—that this election matters. Future Supreme Court nominations are at stake. Laws to help everyone or just a few are at stake. It matters.
My hope, Barack, is that a country you’ve genuinely tried to help will keep you in office. Will see Romney for the shallow corporate drone he is, suit-&-tied 1-percenter, & unapologetic about it.
My hope is that you are re-elected & do what good you can before DC looks past you to the next guy promising hope & change, & an end to business as usual.
My hope is that you are re-elected & you surprise me a little bit with what time in office you’ve got left. I’d welcome it.
Good luck. You have my vote again.
Raymond Soulard, Jr.
Scriptor Press New England