Friday, October 5, 2012

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

(photo from Salon)

Dear Barack Obama,

I'm sorry you had a lousy debate. That totally sucks.

You have done more in ten years than most of us could do in ten lifetimes. The thing about people is, no matter how much you do, they will expect more. People expect you to be amazing, all the time, and they will suck everything good right out of you. That's their nature. You had to know that going in, so hopefully you let it slide by now.

Maybe you want to take a minute to remember the big picture. You are a creature of light inhabiting a body, and in this mattering you have become the crux of a decision the Human Species is making about how we want to live together on this planet. You carry the torch of those who stood before and said that every person has an equal share in both responsibility and bounty; that the economic system is meant to support families, not the other way around. You stand for the children and not-yet-arrived who want to live together in a someday-world where no one suffers poverty or discrimination. You are the focal point for this thinking, even when you don't uphold it, even when you twist it to suit what you see as necessary, even when you let your humanity overcome your divinity. Because there is only one alternative, the alternative that says we are entitled to nothing, not even to sovereignty over our own bodies, while Power consolidates at the top of the economic spectrum.

When you allow the debate to be minimized to immediate details, the real debate becomes obscured, trees masking forest. You lose the chance to establish the most important conversation, the one that tries to answer two questions: what is the minimum we owe each other, and what is the maximum anyone should control? There are no easy answers, as you know better than any other human alive on the planet today. That's why we need a real debate. You have another chance. You can be the hero who comes out swinging and wins the day by reminding everyone what really matters.

You have taken on a giant responsibility and more still is asked of you. It must be tempting to look at Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and wish you were gallivanting around spouting big ideas instead of fighting in the mud pit for the right to keep the weight you hold for all of us. I hope you meditate. I hope you do yoga. I hope you have a hardwired connection to the divine that lights and sustains you. I hope you sleep well. I hope you laugh with your wife and daughters. I love you.

You carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. What a life!

Congratulations and Best Wishes,