Dear President Barack Obama,
I wanted to take a moment to ask you a question. As you enter your final years as President, there is a lot of excitement and concern about the midterm elections and while I am certain you have plenty of political pundits advising you about how to protect the Democrats in Congress, I am much more concerned with what you have accomplished and how it is actually affecting the people Congress represents and whose lives the laws you execute change. As you enter your sixth year of the Presidency, I am deeply concerned because as I look over the five years you have been in office, I have absolutely no idea what you stand for.
It is worth noting up front that I am a liberal and, as such, I recognized from long before you were elected President that you are a Centrist. As a Senator, your voting record clearly had you siding with big business through your votes in favor of The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention And Consumer Protection Act Of 2005 (which protected credit card companies and made it harder for citizens to get their debts excused through bankruptcy) and the FISA Amendments Act Of 2008 (which protected telecommunications companies from civil penalties when they aided the NSA in warrantless wiretap operations). In other words, I had a clear view up front that you were not the hope many voters hailed you for; you were not a great reformer, a radical, or a liberal. And that’s fine (so long as that is not how you allow yourself to be billed and do not fight propaganda from your detractors with facts about your voting record and positions).
Knowing you were a centrist who was looking to protect big businesses, I knew in advance that the health care law you proposed and were willing to sign would benefit big businesses and insurance companies instead of private citizens who actually might be bamboozled into believing that you were trying to give all citizens adequate health care. As a liberal, I await the day that an ambitious lawyer finds my article on how the Affordable Care Act is actually Unconstitutional (check it out here!). It was with quite a bit of dismay that I discovered today that the train of logic I used in that article was used as part of an utterly misogynistic Bill. You see, I live in Michigan where yesterday the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act became law. In case you haven’t heard about it, this law pushed through by Reactionaries in Michigan prevents any insurance companies in Michigan from offering coverage for abortions except in selected cases that that slim minority believes are acceptable. In other words, the minority in Michigan is legislating now not to protect their own views, but to impose it on all women in the state. And, to be clear, I recognize that that is not your fault. While your daughters might never have to deal with such a reactionary law – whatwith neither living in Michigan, nor being financially unable to afford the second health insurance policy that would allow either of them to get an abortion in Michigan if they are raped after moving here at a future date – the daughters of many a Michigander now has to consciously plan their finances by calculating their odds of being raped. I am curious how you would explain to your daughters how the law you signed meets your own ethical standards.
And that leads me to my question. You have consistently sided with business interests, interests that are subject to stockholders with a profit motive and state regulations that bow to the whim of every special interest that comes along. So, my question is this:
Seeing how the Affordable Care Act has been perverted, twisted, and diminished by your political enemies and how it does not accomplish the goal of providing U.S. Citizens with actual health care, would you still have signed the law Congress passed? As President, I do not blame you for all the bad laws Congress passes, but when you sign laws, you endorse their bad decisions and legislation filled with loopholes, boondoggles and the obvious vulnerabilities.
The President Of The United States is often seen as a leader; but it is impossible to lead if one only takes a stance that is based on the prevailing opinion of an uneducated minority. Five years into your Presidency, I should (as an educated person) have an idea of what you stand for and at this point, history’s epitaph for Barack Obama seems like it would be “he stood by business interests . . . whatever way the wind blew.” Three years is enough time to change history, but standing by a mistake that hurts citizens is your current legacy and one that benefits virtually no one.
I hope in pondering an answer to my question, you are inspired to take a stance that will allow you to lead in a positive direction instead of further along the path of destruction.
© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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