Dear Mr. President,

First, I have to tell you how much I loved your first memoir, Dreams from My Father.  It made me feel like I knew you, and the fact that you have a gift for language made me wonder why you ever became a politician.  You’re that good.

Of course, if I hadn’t already been a little in love with you from reading the book, your speech, A More Perfect Union, on the complications of race, would have done it all by itself.  I sobbed through the whole thing.  You, like James Baldwin, understand our dilemma, our complications, our humanity in its best and its ugliest manifestations.  It is a privilege to look at the world through your eyes.

Basically, I think you are a very good man.  I hope that lots of other people think this, too.  Not just a president.  But a really good person.

Because I think you are a decent human being–and not a dry drunk, like our last president, or a sex addict and codependent, like the one before him, and therefore the sanest person that’s been in office in 16 years–I have to say that I feel deep compassion for you.  Your job, always impossible, has been made more so by the legacy of war and economic disaster.  I imagine, in the political commercials, that I see sadness, discouragement, and exhaustion in your eyes.  I want to say that I don’t know that anyone could have done better, and while I don’t know if your plan for the economy is necessarily effective in the long term, I’m not sure what plan would be.  I don’t know if anyone does.  So I want to say, Mr. President, that I know you are trying to do good, and that you are capable of knowing what goodness is (I’m not sure the last 2 did, since their respective addictions kept getting in the way), and so I wish you metta, really, lovingkindness, peace, ease.  Reading your memoir, I imagined what it would be to have been so loved, to have received those particular sacrifices, and what it might be to feel you must live up to those expectations, what it would be to want to, but also, maybe, to wish for something easier, at least once in a while.

So I don’t know if I should say congratulations on your win.  I’m not sure winning was personally good for you.  Of course, the thought of Mitt Romney as president makes me want to shoot myself, but I still wonder how someone as sensitive as the writer of Dreams from My Father, someone able to hold the complicated understanding of race in A More Perfect Union, will withstand four more years of what I imagine must be the hellish stress of Washington and the power plays and manipulations and just general bad behavior of people convinced they are so, so, right.  And that you are wrong.

Here’s what I hope–since you’re stuck with the job now, that you accept help from smart and trustworthy people, that you find a sense of team, and that you trust yourself, that you have moments of peace, that the love of those close to you sustains you through it all.  Basically, I wish you well.

And, by the way, thanks for coming out in favor of gay marriage.  It made me glad to be American, and glad I worked for you the first time, and voted for you twice.  If you feel like overturning DOMA in your spare time, well, I’d appreciate it.  Not that I want to add to the pressure, of course.





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