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An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Taking up Nathanel’s advice, I need help on this before I send it in, what do you think?

Dear Barack Obama,

Let me first be clear.  I did not vote for you for one main reason: the bailout.  I really like your platform, but you lost my vote to Bob Barr when you decided to bail out America.  The people of America are the ones who must make the decisions as to how to fix this problem, not government.

As an American citizen, I value dialogue and discussion in our country, and I believe that there are a number of things we need to discuss as a people.  I do not think I am alone when I say I am tired of hearing “God bless America” or hearing that this is the “greatest country on earth.”  You can continue to say these things, but the truth is God already has blessed America.  Most of the world lives without cars or without basic necessities.  In a global world, America has ten tasks to complete within the next ten years.  You have four years to begin doing this before you are up for re-election and this is how you will gain my vote in the next election.

1.    Reform in the American education system and urban cities.  You have been elected as the first black president, but you know as well as I that black children and white children still often go to separate and unequal schools.  I want to see serious integration reforms within such unequal districts as Cherry Hill and Camden, NJ.  I want to see every student with the textbooks and the funding they need.  If you have to take from the rich schools to give to the poor, so be it.  As a future teacher, all students should have equal opportunity.  These failing schools need the resources and oversight to fix these problems.

2.    Tackling and seriously helping to fix the problem of global poverty.  Join with other world leaders to end world poverty by working with congress to help end the systemic systems that create poverty in our world.

3.    Increased exchange programs between the Middle East and the United States and a presidency that takes responsibility for America’s past sins.  I hope to hear a sincere apology to the people of places like Iran (not necessarily to its racist and bigoted leader), but to the people suggesting that America and the West is sorry for the many wrongs it has committed against the Middle East including the installation of puppet leaders who oppressed the people and pandered to Western interests at the expense of the people.  I would also like to see a serious increase in the amount of American students who study in the Middle East and who are exposed to their way of life and culture.

4.    The serious disarmament of the entire world including the United States of all weapons of mass destruction.  We need to work together with other countries so that all nations can disarm.  I know that this will be a long and hard fought battle, but it is possible to live in a world where there are no bombs.  We just have to work together for the best possible world.  I would like to see, within your presidency, a serious budget cut in the amount of missiles being created AND the amount of missiles being created around the world.

5.    Investment in a high-speed mass transit system across the United States that runs on renewable energy.  You have talked about energy in your campaign, but this will help me to see that it is not just smoke on the water.

6.    No more bailouts.  This is the main reason that you lost my vote.  It is up to local communities to deal with financial crises.  The more money we borrow, the more we give away our power to other nations who give us the money.  You will lose my vote if you sign another bill that bails people out of financial crises.  This is not the government’s job.

7.    Universal health care.  All people should have health care, NO MATTER WHAT.  I want to see this plan carried out by the end of your four years as you work with congress.  I understand that you do not have the power to MAKE congress pass a law, but I want to see you veto any health care plan that does provide universal health care.  If they choose to pass a plan with a 2/3 majority to get past you, that is their prerogative and the appropriate senators or house members will not get my vote when they are up for re-election.

8.    Evidence that you are a humble leader by testimony from leaders around the world.  This is the one non-negotiable.  If I hear that you are using American prestige to try and force other countries into doing something through subjugating them to American military power, you will never get my vote again.  This is absolutely unacceptable.

9.    No lobbying allowed.  You have repeated from day one that you are not a Washington insider.  If news comes out that you are taking money either from major oil companies or other big businesses, it will be difficult for me to cast my vote for you in the next election.

10.    Increased autonomy.  Besides what I mentioned above (education, increased mass transit, and universal health care), I don’t think the government needs to interfere in my life. In fact, I believe that you should cut as many unneeded federal programs as possible and allow for state and local governments to take care of the specifics.  We need more autonomy in America that gives us the freedom to carry out the desires of our individual communities.

Sincerely,
Daniel Kam
Santa Maria, CA

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11 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Barack Obama

  1. Daniel,

    A couple thoughts:

    1. What about the “rivers of blood” pouring out of abortion clinics in the US? Nothing about them?

    2. After the government takes over education, health care, and transportation what areas exactly are going to be left where we can preserve our autonomy?

  2. hi Andrew,

    to #1
    I do care about abortion, but it is not a “key” issue for me. The abortion problem is a larger problem that needs to be addressed by dealing with urban poverty and something that needs to be addressed from within the church.

    to #2
    Education needs to be reformed, and I’m not certain that local reforms will fix problems in places like Camden. We need universal health care so that individual corporations stop profiting off sickness. There are plenty of other areas where we still have autonomy. It is a catch-22 that I realize exists. What do you think? How much control should they have?

  3. Danny,

    I think #2 could use a few more specifics (i.e., could you name some of the systems that create global poverty?).

    I love how honest and uncompromising you are in your letter. Let’s hope he listens.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I must say that I heartily and vigorously disagree with you on the abortion question. Statistics do not bear out the idea that ending poverty will end abortion. What happens in abortion clinics across the country is a tragedy of staggeringly horrific proportions, on a level with the slavery a century-and-a-half ago. Can you imagine using the argument you just used as justification for not abolishing slavery?

    I do agree with you that the church needs to address this. But it cannot be addressed simply by legalizing abortion during nine months of pregnancy and then hoping to get rid of the social ills that cause it.

    It is true that if abortion were abolished, it would still happen. But it would happen a lot less. Slavery still exists today (even in the US). But nobody suggests that a viable way to end it is to make it legal.

    As to #2, Do we need government-run funeral parlors so people stop profiting off of death? Or what about government run lock manufacturers so people will stop profiting off of crime? Research and development of new medicines is market-driven. Remember that next time you take an aspirin.

    The areas you would like to socialize (governmentalize…whatever) are HUGE and would entail enormous swaths of the private sector coming under direct government control.

  5. The points you make are fair Andrew. What suggestions do you have for driving down health care costs for seniors who can’t afford it and for lowering abortion rates?

  6. Sorry this took so long.

    1. It seems to me (and my opinion here is admittedly not as informed as it could be) that one way to reduce high medical costs “across the board” would be to enact tort reform: that is, drastically reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, and drug companies. That would drastically reduce the amount of malpractice insurance doctors and hospitals would have to carry, and in turn drastically reduce the cost of health care. That’s just off the top of my head.

    2. First, make abortion illegal. Of course it would not make it non-existent–the Emancipation Proclamation did not make slavery non-existent. But it severely reduced it, and was the beginning of the end. This is on a governmental level.

    On a church level, we must provide care and support to women who “find themselves” pregnant, and we must challenge the cultural mentality that views unrestricted sex as THE one inalienable right.

    Also, I wanted to comment on your thoughts on education. I think it can be pretty well demonstrated that putting money into schools does not help education. How was it that my grandmother–educated in a one-room schoolhouse–could do long division in her head and recite classical poetry at great length and from memory? How is it that today–with all the investment and technology, kids are graduating with a first-grade reading level?

    Here’s and idea to make a drastic change in education for the better: abolish the NEA. No organization has done so much harm to education in America. They consistently put themselves and their agenda before the well-being of the students.

    Just some thoughts.

    God bless.

  7. Hi Andrew,

    #1 – I totally agree, but this is intrinsically part of our culture. Denying lawsuits would be akin to denying people their “rights” (to some). This is a great idea, but how does one go about it? How do we get people to give up their “right” to malpratice lawsuits?

    As an interesting aside, my girlfriend was in Egypt and she told me that they do not live in a liability culture. If something goes wrong, it just goes wrong. Not one has to “pay” for it or sue for it. I liked this, but it seemed impossible to implement in America.

    #2 – Comparing slavery to abortion is a hard argument to make from a legal standpoint. My letter is trying to get Barack Obama to do things that are actually doable. He does not have the power to overturn Roe V. Wade. There is no one in the legislature that would pass such a law (to my knowledge).

    #3 – I agree that federal agencies should all be abolished. I am in my first year of teacher credentialing in CA and I think that standardized testing mandated by the federal government is not helping students. There is so much wasted money in state testing.

  8. I am sorry this response took me so long. I have really enjoyed this conversation, but pressing matters have limited my ability to converse.

    I have to agree with you wholeheartedly when it comes to standardized testing.

    As to the other areas, call me stubborn, but I cannot bring myself to the conclusion that just because social ills are ingrained in society, we are forced to accept them. The great men of history are the ones who refused to accept the social norm (think Wilberforce) and gave themselves to overturning them.

    One note, you are quite right that Obama has no power to overturn Roe v. Wade. He does, however, have the power to codify it forever into US law via FOCA. Not only that, he has stated that this is exactly what he will do.

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