Dear Mr. President: My State of the Union Address Advice
Dear Mr. President:
Today is your fifth State of the Union address. Imagine that. It’s been five years since you first took office.
I’ll be watching you on television this evening along with tens of millions of other Americans, all with continuing hope and trust you will succeed as our leader.
But I confess that my hope and trust in you is waning. It’s waning badly, Mr. President. Allow me to explain why.
Your five years in office have been a mix of successes and failures. It’s that way with all Presidents. I know your job is difficult. Incredibly difficult. It’s made far worse by those who not just oppose you politically, but are threatened by what they fear you represent. Many powerful people in this country who dare to call themselves patriotic are working actively against you. They lie about you and misrepresent your record. They call you names like “Socialist,” when they have no idea what the word actually means. If they only knew that nine of the top ten nations in the world ranked by living standards are social democracies with things like nationalized health care, perhaps they would call you something different. Sadly, tens of millions hope you will fail. They want the country to fail. They’d rather see the country suffer than to have you succeed. I’m not one of those people, Mr. President. But I’m still worried. Because, you see, I think you pay way too much attention to them.
They’re mostly little-minded people, Mr. President. Frightened by what they fear, and misled by they don’t know. Terrified of what they fail to understand. It’s easier to resort to bitter name-calling and flag-waving hysteria than compromising and working together to solve our nation’s many problems. They’re largely ignorant, the by-product of ignorance all around them. Some of their hearts and minds might come around eventually. Change takes time. Maybe after their job gets outsourced by a giant corporation making billions in profits, or losing their health insurance and needing desperately to go to a doctor, or suffering a natural catastrophe that requires government intervention. That’s usually what it takes to convert people who lack the ability to empathize to understand that we are truly one nation united — not one divided and constantly competing for everything.
You see, that’s the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives. See, they promote competition which sounds innocent enough. But in reality, they want to wipe everyone else out. They want to own it all. American is like a high-stakes Monopoly game to them. That’s the way they see the world. But we on the Left see it much differently. Because we think we’re better than that. We can do better. We can accomplish more by cooperating, rather than undercutting workers’ wagers and driving competitors into extinction. This is a wonderfully rich country with plenty to share and plenty to go around. It’s not a contest of who can get the most stuff. Show me the correlation in owning lots of stuff and happiness. You can’t.
But I digress. As for your successes, you’ve stabilized our economy. Your policies helped to prevent the economic crisis you inherited from spiraling into a mega-collapse that might have triggered a global political and economic meltdown. You saved millions of American workers from the unthinkable, being plunged into the depths of a depression, which is precisely what would have happened had free-market Milton Friedman-school conservatives been allowed to continue their reckless ways. You’ve certainly done a lot of impressive things. But then think of what you might have done had you stuck to your principles and fought more. Think about how far we still have to go.
Mr. President, let me be direct with you. You ran for the presidency as a liberal. Not as a conservative. Not as a moderate. You ran as a Ted Kennedy-clone liberal. We thought your domestic agenda would be the modern era’s reincarnation of Lyndon B. Johnson’s, the architect of what became known as “The Great Society.” We hoped for a “Great Society II.” I begged. I pleaded with you to follow LBJ’s bold blueprint for working the Congress to sell the idea of helping to lift people out of poverty, to improve and make education more affordable for everyone, for investing in the nation’s infrastructure, to name only a few things. You barely listened, if at all.
Instead, you have talked like a liberal while out on the campaign trail. But you governed as a moderate, and even sometimes as a conservative. Look at your record. Where are the Wall Street reforms you once talked about? Those slimy bankers nearly destroyed this nation. And now, they’re back on the treadmill again cranking up the speed. Look at what’s happening to the stock market. Furthermore, look to the richest one-percent of Americans in this country. What’s happened to them during your tenure? Answer: They’ve gotten richer! Under you! The so-called Socialist! Meanwhile, wages and earning power for middle and lower income people remains stagnant. So much for “trickle down economics.” Wouldn’t you agree, something is wrong here, Sir?
Yes indeed, you are governing like a conservative. Just look at your national security policy. Why are we still blowing $8 billion a day in Afghanistan? Why are American soldiers still dying over there? For what? What makes that place safer now (or a month from now) than say 2009, when you should have pulled out all U.S. forces? What are you waiting for? And why aren’t other nations paying for their own security? Why must we have military bases everywhere? Why must we always pay the price, not just in national treasury but in lives? This nation continues to spend more money on defense than the rest of the 15 nations combined ranked 2-16. That’s not liberalism. That’s Ronald Reagan reborn.
Then, there’s the NSA scandals and civil liberties violations which happened on your watch. If this happened in a Republican presidency, there would be protests in the streets. Maybe even riots. You’ve mostly gotten a free pass, somehow. But you and your administration will be held accountable. The truth will come out, if not now, then later. History will judge, and you better make damn sure you’re on the right side of it.
As for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), what your many critics love to call “ObamaCare,” I can’t even begin to express my frustration. First, you completely sold out like a coward on the idea of proposing universal health care without even putting up a fight four years ago. Now you and your staff have completely bungled the non-alcoholic lite-beer version of real health care reform and turned nearly half the country against the idea of a government-managed health system. Congratulations. I didn’t think such a thing would have been possible. It certainly didn’t help that your team picked some goofball who once took a computer night course to manage the national online sign-up system. Then, you utterly failed to sell the program to middle America. I not only find this disappointing. I consider this a political, economic, and social disaster that will produce alarming long-term unintended consequences. Our children will pay for your mistakes, Mr. President. Think about that.
The gap between the rich and poor will widen. Corporations and banks will get even more powerful. The bloated and thoroughly corrupt private health care industry will continue to rape the American consumer to the point where millions of average working people get so deeply in debt, the only winners in the end will be bankruptcy lawyers. And forget about an actual democracy where a balance of power is shared. This is approaching and era we endured once before. It was called “The Gilded Age,” when wealth and power were strangled by the elites and in the hands of a few. Sound familiar?
I know this letter is long, Mr. President. Just a few more things. Then, you can go.
Now, I’d like to get more personal. Honestly, I don’t see you working on the job as hard as I think you should. I know you have a lovely wife and a couple of nice kids. I really admire you for wanting to be a good father and serve and as our president. You want to be Superman. But I’m not sure someone can be both. Not even you. You can’t wear the cape for us and be Clark Kent at home. I know that’s blasphemous to say. But being president isn’t a 9-5 job. You shouldn’t be thinking about your kid’s soccer games when Benjamin Netanyahu is on the telephone lecturing you about Iran.
See, I think you owe it to us to put in 12 to 14 hours a day, every single day. Maybe a vacation once a year, and a round of golf perhaps once or twice. You will have plenty of time to play golf, attend performances, and watch ball games after you retire. Right now, I want you in your office and I want to see the lights turned on at 1 am. If 50 million Americans are working second jobs, often late at night, to struggle to make ends meet, it seems the least you can do is burn some midnight oil. Sorry, Sir. I just don’t see you trying, especially since this nation has been at war for more than 12 years. Combat soldiers fighting for us don’t have the luxury of taking vacations and playing golf.
You want to know what really pisses me off? I was horrified by your admission in a recent interview of what television shows you watch. You talked about popular TV shows you and your family enjoy together. You also mentioned that you watch ESPN’s SportsCenter most evenings. I’m sorry, Sir. But I was appalled when I read that. Just livid. I don’t think you should be watching television. Period! Nor do I think you should be doing “selfies,” or hanging out with movie stars. I’m fed up with it and so are a lot of other hard-line Leftists like me who backed you when you were a nobody and you had no political support. You should be on the phone twisting arms and making deals like LBJ once did. Go back and listen to him work the White House phones with those despicable racist senators when Civil Rights were passed. Study his methods. He was a street fighter. You’re…..well, I won’t say it, Sir. I want to be respectful.
When you’re not busting tail and working deals at home, you should be out traveling the world, trying to promote peace. You think Middle East peace is impossible? How about doing something really brave and making it happen. If Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton could get Israel, Palestine, and Egypt together, then so can you. Worried about failure? So what. TRY! I mean just TRY. That’s all we ask.
You should out be pressing the flesh and visiting parts of the country that desperately need hope. Detroit. Flint. Buffalo. Wherever. You should be the face of hope and change, Mr. President. And let me me rather blunt here. Excuse my language. But I really don’t give a fuck what you think of the Super Bowl. I don’t want you to be giving us your Final Four picks in basketball. If I see you release any more basketball opinions, I’m divorcing you. Any president who has enough time to study basketball brackets is missing something important going on in the world. You’re about one more Jay Leno appearance away from me totally giving up on you as a leader. And you certainly don’t want that because my wrath will be brutal. You think I’m pissed off now? This site is going to go batshit Che Guevara on you next time I see you on the front row at a Washington Wizards game.
When you were elected, and then re-elected 15 months ago, so many of us were filled with hope. You might have been truly a transformational figure in our nation’s history at a critical time, instead of the guy who just so happens to occupy the White House until the next election cycle. You still have that chance. But time is running out. Fast. Let me put it in terms you can understand: You’re a few dozen SportsCenters away from being a lame duck, which in politics means a dead duck.
I know you won’t read this letter, Mr. President. No one from your administration will read it. You’ve surrounded yourself with the usual leeches and Ivy League pretenders who seal you off from reality. But at least I feel better for writing and sharing it. And perhaps the three people who are still reading this might give it a thumbs up or like on Facebook. Every little bit helps.
Go ahead and make your State of the Union speech tonight, Mr. President. I’m sure you’ll put on quite a show. I’ll be watching. You’ll give us that natural charm and flash us that special smile of yours. Then, after the cheering from the gallery fades and it’s all over, you’ll be back at the White House tonight. You made Broadway. You made it big time.
After the speech is over, let’s just hope the lights coming from the Oval Office later this evening are because of an important meeting or an overseas phone call, and not the glow from the television and the highlights of SportsCenter.
The Lakes, Nevada