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Three Dave's No Waiting

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Letter from the President

This past February ago I posted about some letters and pictures our family sent to President Obama.

A few months ago the kids got a reply. It was typed on a postcard sized piece of good stock paper signed by the president and with the White House Seal embossed on top.

It states:

Thank you for your recent note, and for sharing your thoughts with me. Your kind words echo the messages of millions of American who have welcomed me and my family to the White House with an outpouring of goodwill.

On January 20th, Americans spoke with one voice, choosing hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. Our nation faces serious challenges, but we will overcome them if our imagination is joined to common purpose.

Now is our time to work together, reaffirm our enduring spirit, and choose our better history. With your help, we will renew our Nation's promise to carry forth the great gift of freedom to future generations, as our forebeara have delivered it to us.

Sure, it's a good letter but not exactly what you would expect as a response to 3-9 years olds who sent pictures like this . . .

And asked questions like "Do your daughter's have Webkinz?"

The kids liked it though and Charlie has it safely tucked away in his room with the rest of his treasures.

At the same time the kids were writing their letters, I was writing the president one of my own. I wrote of my genuine gladness that an African American was elected President. I talked a little of our mutual love for the White Sox, but mainly I told him candidly but respectfully why I had not voted for him in either his Senatorial or Presidential campaigns. I told him of my concern for the unborn and my hope for the possible repeal of Roe V Wade. I urged him to change his stances on abortion.

Because of how the kid's letter was responded to, I expected no response to my own letter. Indeed several months had passed since the kids received their letter, and I had almost forgotten about my own letter when I received a hand addressed letter from the White House on July 31st

My letter dated 7/28/09:

Dear Friend:

Thank you for taking the time to share your views on abortion. This is a heart-wrenching issue and I appreciate your input and thoughts.

I am committed to making my Administration the most open and transparent in history, and part of delivering on that promise is hearing from people like you. I take seriously your opinions and respect your point of view on this issue. Please know that your concerns will be on my mind in the days ahead.

Thank you again for writing. I encourage you to visit WhiteHouse.Gov to learn more about my Administration or to contact me in the future.


Barack Obama (signed)

I was genuinely moved that The Office of The President of the United States took time to respond to a concern that I had. I understand that President Obama himself is far too busy to attend to my letter himself. I could tell that the majority of this letter was pre-formatted. I can also see that it's a text book example of a non-response response to the issues I brought forward.

I have struggled for the last 1/2 hour to write a conclusion to this piece. I could wax eloquent of the democratic process where I have the freedom to write a dissenting view to the most powerful person in my country and receive thanks rather than censure. I could make a spiritual tie-in to how writing a letter to the President is like but so much less a privilege than the ability to talk directly to the Executive Officer of the Universe. I could encourage families to send letters and pictures to their elected officials thanking them for their service and communicating their needs and concerns. Since I am not quite sure how to accomplish any of those, I will instead just tell you what I have in store for next time.

Next Time: A few thoughts about movies.

1 comment:

  1. I've written several letters lately. One received a personalized response, and the other I'm still waiting on... I think it's very important to speak your mind about this important legislation on the table.

    I'm surprised President Obama doesn't at least make the form letter to kids more kid-like...


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