Dear Mr. President:
I worked for you in the Springfield, Mo. Campaign office and did some canvassing also. I felt Hopeful when you were elected, actually, I felt Joyful! And so did a lot of others.
My thoughts were: 1. It would b Great to have a Constitutional lawyer in the White House, as I haven't always been sure some of our past Presidents could have Passed a high school Constitution test, and I Knew some of the candidates couldn't. 2. I had tremendous respect for you because you spoke out from the Senate about the deaths and lack of help offered to the living who survived hurricane Katrina. I thought, surely, This President will do something to help them. 3. As someone living in the Mo. Ozarks, I Agreed with your statements to the effect that when people become frightened they turn too often, to their Bibles and guns. Have you or any of your staff seen the movie "Winter's Bone" or better yet, read the book? I do not agree with turning to Bibles and guns but sir, some people here have little else to turn too, besides Meth! 4. Except for damning the whole country in the name of God, I agreed with much of what your former pastor Mr. Jeremiah Wright had to say. I thought it took courage for you to go on television to talk as frankly about race as possible, but I still agreed with much that Mr. Wright had to say. 5. I was impressed by your grasp of the struggles facing Native American people. I read through your policy plans pretty carefully before choosing to work for you, so that I could answer questions if they came my way. And 6. I thought that your views, on the economy, Iraq, nuclear disarmament, and many other issues were similar to mine.
Then I went to work in your campaign office. As a totally blind person with a significant hearing impairment, of course, your campaign staff did not know how to cope with me. Nothing new there. I invented work for myself, besides shredding tons of papers required to be shredded. Once people discovered that with hearing aids I can speak intelligently and understand most people, I went canvassing. We found that people were more reluctant to turn a blind woman away from their doors and that a male and female team could usually engage with some issue the house occupant cared about better than either two women or two men. Also, a male female team could help one another understand the people we spoke with. Once we talked to a woman supporting John Edwards who was devastated by his extra marital affair. We spoke about you and Mrs. Obama and your dedication to your daughters. But she just said her trust had already been betrayed by one supposedly trustworthy candidate. The person I was working with that day was a young man from St. Louis, who was enrolled in an Ivy League School. He was completely baffled. I suggested that maybe this woman had recently been through a divorce or had her trust betrayed in some serious way, and her response began to make Possible sense to him.
I said I invented my own work. This is true. I got listings of all of the groups of blind people in the area of this campaign office. In many small towns there are such groups, chapters of national organizations, meeting monthly. I am not aware of any who would have refused to meet with someone from the official campaign office of a Presidential candidate. We are used to being ignored. All of this info. Was turned Over to the college student running the office and I volunteered to go and speak, but I needed a ride, and possibly some back up, if a question came along which I couldn't answer. The info. was ignored.
I also worked with an artist to make a drawing for signs with the finger spelled letters of your name. It wasn't easy to sit there, holding my hand in the position of a particular letter until all of my fingers cramped, but I did. I looked for Obama signs in ASL on the internet and could only find one place which could make them for a price. The drawing with suggestions for its use was turned over to your office coordinator, and ignored.
Among suggestions for using this sign was meeting with local groups of deaf citizens in major towns like Springfield and Joplin. At that time I researched them on the net and also had contacts with the Independent Living Center in Springfield who would have told me who to speak to in other towns, who would speak ASL as an interpreter, etc. Ignored when presented.
Lastly, I belonged to One More Group of people who are usually ignored, Native Americans. The local Indian Center cannot, by policy, take part in politics, but they lost an excellent social worker due to lack of funding for the Indian Child Welfare Act, and had other legitimate concerns which your policies, as written online, might have addressed. Mr. President, Poverty is Not Neglect. Putting plastic over the windows to insulate for Winter, heating with wood, children sleeping together for warmth in a bed, these are All things I have done. Though I am not enrolled in any tribe I know that to be loved, and to be educated are Far more important than to be wealthy. Did Any of your staff Happen to catch the National Public Radio report on how Federal funds offer Incentives to poor states to remove Native children who Aren't abused and put them up for adoption to Non-Native families? It aired Oct. 25th of this year. The abuse which can happen to Any child in the foster care system may be happening today, Here, because there is no funding for an Indian Child Welfare worker in Springfield, Mo. Anymore. Where did it go? I have known about the abduction of Native kids from reservations for years. What I Didn't know was that Tax Dollars, Federal Funds were incentivizing a "trade" in Native children. Why not hire Indian Child Welfare workers with this money?
I suggested putting an add in the local paper of Newton County, at that time the county with the largest Native population, and scheduling a meeting to discuss your policies, ignored.
I should have seen then what was to happen, but some of us are so completely Used to being ignored that we take it for granted, a backwards Entitlement, if you will. I continued to do what I was told and stopped doing anything else, on my own time.
The night you were elected my disabled room mate and I stayed up late to listen to your acceptance speech, cheering and clapping, although she was the artist who spent hours getting the light and shadows just right so your name, finger spelled in ASL would look clear and elegant. I don't know what happened to her work, maybe the circular file.
So, you inherited a disaster, two wars, a possible bank crash, and a crashed housing market and climbing unemployment. I distrusted your bailing out the Big banks and insurance companies first. I believe that in order to become a viable presidential candidate one must have corporate ties and corporate money. But since you had only been a senator from Illinois for a relatively short time, maybe you weren't Too deeply in debt to big multi-national corporations. Now I believe I must have been wrong. And in that case, I am With the Occupy Wallstreet movement, Get Corporate Money Out of Politics, a Corporation is Not a Citizen with the same rights, regardless of that Supreme Court Decision. The Only interest a multi-national corporation has in America is A., what they can take, and B., keeping laws and government friendly to their interests.
The Ex-Checker in Britain said if banks were Truly too big to fail, maybe they should "go across the pond" where they can be bailed out. Mr. President, you took tax payers money and gave it to multi-national banks and insurance companies. It certainly "was as popular as a root canal" with me. But I told myself, wait, he's new to the office, give him time.
While I was waiting I kept listening for news of help for Katrina survivors. I did hear that for $5 poor families in the gulf states could Buy the Trailers they had already lived in for years. Mr. President, have you ever Lived in a Trailer? I did, for 20 years. They take constant regular upkeep, cheaper than the maintenance needed for a house, but required to maintain a trailer in anything Like a Liveable state. A grandmother of a family of Twelve was interviewed (again by NPR) who said she would Not buy her Two bedroom, One bathroom trailer, even for five bucks. She said she Would buy a Three bedroom trailer. Earlier I said that I think love and education, (including education in one's own culture) are the most important things. I do. But have you ever waited in a line of twelve for a single bathroom? I have and it's Not easy. Is this Truly all that could be done for the people who gave you your First National speaking opportunity? Why not offer banks a chance to pay back some of their bail out money by financing new, Affordable homes for Katrina's survivors? Weren't there any construction workers out of a job who could have done this? Weren't their any decently built foreclosed houses which Katrina survivors might have occupied in Gulf Coast states?
I don't think most Americans would have objected to such plans for helping our own citizens as we do to just handing tax money over to corporations who continue to pay CEO's ridiculous salaries and bonuses and in some cases, still manage badly.
You had more Democrats in Congress during those first couple of years and I would like sincerely to Thank You for Obamacare. I don't know how it's all going to work out, but I have a friend who may be dying but cannot afford to find out because she has no insurance. She is hoping to hang on until more provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect. Obamacare is a name you should wear proudly, in my opinion. It isn't perfect, but it IS something significant, Thank You.
Also, I am sorry there seems to be a witch hunt going on about One alternative energy company which did not spend, or is Alleged not to have spent, its Federal dollars as intended. I am glad Some small companies got money to start or expand alternative energy jobs and technologies.
But, while the banks got saved a shrinking middle class "Main Street" and even more devastatingly, "Poor Street" rotted.
And what else happened? You had no problem with a nuclear weapons plant being constructed, to make 90% of the components for nuclear weapons, in Kansas City, Mo. You said it would create jobs, and so did Honeywell Corporation. Are these the kinds of jobs we Want to create? Jobs to help in potentially bringing Death to your daughters and my niece and nephew? I do understand, if the info. I found is true, that the plant may not handle Any radioactive materials, but can the Non-fisionable materials for a nuclear bomb or warhead be used for Peaceful purposes? Is the Congress Really the only body to blame for money Not being invested in green energy jobs? Surely a President whose State Dept. rails at Iran for developing the bomb and engages in talks with North Korea for the same reason shouldn't be Giving the Go-
Ahead for corporations here to do More of the same!
And what's this about Not implementing EPA regulations to cut down on air pollution? You said these regulations would cost jobs. If multi-national corporations were given Other insentives to stay, surely it would Give jobs to the people building and installing new air pollution controlling technologies. This I think would be Better than a president giving the nod to more Nuclear Weapons building!
Mr. President, you have a daughter with asthma, but you can move away from a polluting factory! What happens to the children and the grandmothers caring for children who cannot? Haven't you given the rich Enough Yet?
I know, Congress is a bust. But Why do you lean more and more Toward corporate America. Oh yah, it's re-election time.
And Why don't we protect the civilians of Burma or Syria or Tibet as well as we, being part of NATO protected those in Lybia, our Third war? Oh, they either have big military machines or No Oil! Those dreadful, ungrateful Iraqi politicians aren't selling Us the oil we were Told would pay for our war in Iraq. Will Lybia? Should Lybia? They have greater needs than we do for nearly Everything, Especially outside large towns. I never supported Either Sadam Hussein Or Colonel Gadafi, how Could I? But that doesn't mean I supported intervening in Iraq Or Lybia, I didn't.
Now I wonder about sending "military advisors" to fight the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other Central African nations. Isn't that how we got into El Salvador and Nicaragua? And is this the humanitarian gesture I pray it is, or does it have anything to do with rich natural resources in DRC and possibly other Central African countries? If it is purely a humanitarian action, not resulting in mining or other rights granted to multi-national corporations based in the U.S. or Britain, then Mr. President, I will be the First to congratulate you and I will want to hug you in thanks!
I think we need an eight year one term presidency. Two years to learn the job, six years to try and do it, and No More Time Wasting with one to two Years of Re-election rhetoric!
I would be happy to vote for a third party in the primary, which talked about "poor street" for a change. Since everyone except the top 1% of America wants to pretend they are middle class, that's who all presidential candidates pitch to. During your election campaign my room mate and I (who lived on Social Security Disability) often said things like, "If I hear Middle Class one more time I'm going to Hurl!" And doubtless, that's what we will hear again this time.
Do you have Any Idea how many Professionally Educated people are floating from one temporary job to the next? And do you Know how many Food banks are running Out of Food? We don't Need to burn Food for biofuels! Use fast food restaurant Grease, Heaven Knows, there is Plenty of it and already a few biodiesel stations are up and running in California! Here, in the Ozarks, Everything is fried. It's a Perfect Place to have gross endlessly renewed resources for biodiesel.
I've noticed that the more firey words of the President Obama I voted for are coming back in your campaign speeches. I may not vote this time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice . . . .
A number of years ago a valued friend voted for Ralph Nader. At that time I bought the Party Lines (they agree on this) that it was throwing away a vote, as it would take votes Away from a mainstream candidate. Her response was that she just Had to vote her conscience this time. I'm Finally beginning to understand how she felt.
Sir, I wouldn't want your job for Any money, and no, I don't think I could do better. But I still have the right, for now, to read, write, and think, unlike some of the kids in Kansas City, where about half of the schools have been closed, due to funding shortages.
Part of the problem is that we who voted for you expected too much. We were so Happy to see someone who might Actually be at least a Partial Outsider elected that we hoped for and needed too much. Just for the record, I did Not vote for my district's representative in the House, Or the Republican Senator from Mo. Who won. I am Not a Democrat Or a Republican. I just Wish it were Possible to elect a President free of corporate interests, so he/she could protect both "Main Street" and "Poor Street." But it doesn't Seem possible. I opposed NAFTA, "Trickle down economics" and I oppose allowing truckers from Mexico to drive our nation's highways and work for less, taking American trucker's jobs.
I Support your original "Path to Citizenship" for illegal immigrants already here. But under NAFTA, Mexico was Supposed to develop environmental and safety rules, so companies based here couldn't mistreat Mexican workers, And so they wouldn't move South of the border. Did this happen? In general, no.
If truck drivers from Mexico had to pass the same licensing requirements as our drivers and earned the same salaries, I would be fine with this change. But I think it will end up Just Like NAFTA. Clearly, you Aren't responsible for NAFTA, but the trucker's issue Is on your watch.
Our gay and lesbian citizens still need help getting into hospitals to see their loved ones, and in many other areas of civil rights.
But I can honestly close this letter with another genuine Thank You. Thank you for going about repealing "Don't ask, don't Tell" in such a careful and intelligent way. Getting commanders of branches of the military to survey their troops first and to figure out How to do this was Great. There will undoubtedly be problems, just as there were when African Americans were integrated into the Armed Forces, under President Truman. But I am Very Relieved to Finally see discrimination against our gay and lesbian service people Begin to End! Thank You for this, Mr. President!
Newby13 will be sending this letter to the White House. Wonder if I've said anything Blogger objects to.