Amid all this emotion and chaos following November 8th, I’ve needed some sort of comfort. Whether it be crying under a knitted blanket at work or eating pizza and brownies multiple days in a row for dinner. It had to be something. Although those things helped short term, what I really needed was a leader. I have always found comfort in the leadership of President Obama. For the past eight years I’ve felt I could generally assume that he had the country’s wellbeing at heart and that even if I didn’t totally agree with something he did, well at least we were still sailing (relatively) smoothly toward a more prosperous nation. And now that that has been pulled out from under me, I look to him once again.
I have been meaning to write to the president for years. He reads ten letters a night, and as I lick the envelope to mail it, here’s hoping this is one of those ten.
It is bittersweet to finally be writing you. For years I have wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your hard work in the face of some of the greatest road blocks, tension and resistance a president has likely ever faced. I have wanted to tell you how you made me a patriot, which I had not been during the Bush years, by being an exceptional example of what America can accomplish and embody. I have wanted to apologize for the disrespect and hate my fellow Americans have misguidedly abused you with and I wanted to thank you for still being the best president we have ever had for every American, even to those who resist your sensible and vital policies. This is a trait we cannot be guaranteed in this new administration. And it only makes me appreciate these last two months more.
In spite of the recent election, I am still happy to be an American during this time, because I was an American under your presidency. I’ll just go ahead and say it: I already miss you. I will miss the confidence I had in you to lead our country forward and in a better direction. Right now things are unsure and the unknown is scary. I feel like our country is in mourning for what we believed it could be and what we will inevitably lose. We are devastated. But we have to survive and move forward.
The night of the election, you said something I keep repeating to myself: “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.” I believe you knew Hillary Clinton was going to lose, but maybe you didn’t. Either way, it has become my mantra. The sun did rise the next day.
This election has left me depressed, angry and exhausted. But I am hopeful. So many people are gathering and organizing and fighting the oppression we have already started to experience. We are taking measures to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable among us.
I remember when you were first elected in 2008. It was one of the most exciting things I’d ever experienced. I still have a scar on my forearm from where I accidentally rested it on my flat iron when the news announced your victory. I was so excited I didn’t even care. I was only a few months from turning 18 that first election, so I was unable to vote for you. But I voted early in 2012 and loved being a part of that history. In 50 years I will be telling the youngest generation about what it was like to vote for the first black president. And I know they will open their history books to read about one of the best presidents the United States has ever had the privilege of electing.
Thanks to Obamacare (a beautiful reappropriation of the nickname opponents hoped would taint the program), when I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, I was able to have affordable insurance as a freelance video editor. Even though my state refused to expand Medicaid, I was able to get subsidies that allowed me to take care of my heart condition. I could afford the doctor’s visits, procedures and medications. Thank you for that. I was lucky enough to finally be employed at a company that offers insurance recently, so just in time! I was also never denied based on that pre-existing condition. Again, thank you.
I have so many things I want to thank you for. I could write page after page about how your policies have helped me, my family and other Americans. I hope other people have expressed their gratitude to you. So much of my family looks up to you. My cousin at the University of Oklahoma just became president of the University’s government organization. I am so proud of him. I know seeing someone who looks like them as president of the United States, makes young people of color feel like they can achieve something as daunting as the highest office in the land.
My cousin reminds me a lot of you. A smart, dedicated black man who did so much while growing up with so little.
You can Google “JD Baker University of Oklahoma” if you’d like to see the things he has accomplished.
I hope this isn’t a goodbye letter, I hope you continue to fight and inspire. I know being the President of the United States is harder than I could imagine, but you have carried that title with a message of inclusion, progress, love and most importantly, hope. So I continue to hope.
If you haven’t chosen a job already, my city would love to have you. I would say state, but I live in Texas, so…
My city is Austin, we are a Sanctuary City, an inclusive city, a very LGBTQ+ friendly city, a loving city and a fighting city. Our Mayor, Steve Adler, has made it clear that we will not be absorbed into the rest of Texas. We are an oasis of blue in a sea of red and people are moving here in very large numbers. Prior to November 8th, we did not want more people moving here, but now we embrace them.
I know you’ve been here a few times, gotten some Torchy’s and maybe toured around a little. But there is a lot more to see and do!
That is my little spiel for your consideration. Anyway, to conclude, thank you for your service, thank you for being a president for everyone, thank you for greying for us and thank you for giving us hope.
The sun WILL rise again tomorrow, and we will wake up and continue fighting…