Dear President Obama,
I felt the time has come for me to address the discord between us since you ran for office. I’ll be very honest, I follow politics in a mild form and mostly pay close attention during election years and not so much in between. I do my due diligence and research candidates during Presidential Elections, which mostly means I’m cramming for the test when I could have been studying the whole 4 years. I’m not one to keep a watchful eye on local politics and I am aware this is counterproductive. If anything, I should spend more time and energy focusing on my local politicians than anything else; as they are the ones who directly affect me and my family. When you came on to the scene, my only interaction with you, if you can call it that, was a passing mention of Rory Gilmore joining your campaign on the series finale of Gilmore Girls. So when you came into the fold and threatened to steal the Democratic Nomination from Hillary Clinton, I responded with side wards glances, eyes rolling, and vocal distaste for you. This wasn’t fair. I didn’t know you. I was being the equivalent of today’s Bernie Bots. My candidate didn’t get the nomination and I threw a temper tantrum. My bad.
It wasn’t until Bill Clinton gave a convincing speech that I said, alright fine I’m convinced. Still, I begrudgingly clicked your name in the ballot box on Election Day and 4 years later, I did it again. Mostly because I had zero confidence in the candidates the Republicans presented. I am and have always been a Democrat. I still believe very deeply in the mission of the Democratic Party and after many years of questioning myself and my beliefs, I know I will always be a Democrat. I didn’t believe so much in you in the beginning and for that I offer my deepest of apologies.
You promised great change and many have felt that you failed us. What you and the rest of us weren’t expecting was the Great Recession. People blamed you, which isn’t fair. Recessions don’t come out of nowhere. I became one of those people that read half assed articles and fed into the media hype that you would be remembered as one of the worst President’s in the history of the United States. I’ll be honest again. I didn’t dig very deep. I didn’t formulate my own opinion. I placed blame on you without really looking to see what you were doing or trying to do.
Upon reflection, I know and understand that while you have the best intentions, governing is a difficult job. Democracy and bureaucracy can drain you of every ounce of intention. I know how government works and how painstakingly you fought to get things passed and were shot down again and again. But you did make many changes. Not that I need to tell you what you accomplished, but I read this fascinating list of 371 of them. With citations. http://pleasecutthecrap.com/obama-accomplishments/
People complain constantly (and I’ve been one of them) about the Affordable Healthcare Act. What I can say about it is, nothing is perfect. It took almost a decade for Medicare to get itself right and it can still use some help. The truth is that everything and everyone can always improve. Obamacare was not the best at first. But. But. It was better than nothing. Four years ago, I didn’t have any healthcare. My job didn’t offer it and I couldn’t afford to pay privately. So when I went to the doctor, I had to pay. Three years ago, I signed up for healthcare on the marketplace. And it was a disaster. I picked the wrong plan. The doctors that were on the list as taking it weren’t actually taking it. I was “forced” to find new doctors. But you know what? I had healthcare. If something happened to me and I needed to go to the hospital, it would be covered. The second year I tried picking a more expensive plan and it was a little better. Third times a charm. This year, I chose a better and cheaper plan that last year. People seem to know more about the plans and can offer better assistance in choosing one. 7 months in to the year and so far so good. So it took three years, but WE got it right. And I’m not concerned about finding the money to pay for a hospital visit anymore. Is it perfect? No. Does it need some revisions? Of course. Is it an improvement from before? Absolutely.
Many have claimed you don’t really care about our country. That you’re not Patriotic. In the past 2 years, I’ve paid close attention to you. And from what I’ve seen, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You believe in the values this country was built on. That ALL are created equal. You don’t give in to hate and fear mongering. You believe that our differences are what make us unique and that together we are stronger. People claim you are divisive. You are the exact opposite. The only people who think you are divisive are the ones who believe you are secretly an Islamic Terrorist (insert eye roll emoji) or that you put your “blackness” before your humanness (facepalm).
You spoke eloquently the other night about our country and all we are facing. What I saw was a man who cares. A man aged more in 8 years than most. A man who is very Patriotic. A man who will be in our history books not just because he was the first black President; because he was one of our best.
So I offer you my gratitude for 8 hard years of working your ass off to make our country a better place. For making tough decisions. For doing a thankless job and accepting enormous criticism. I offer my apologies for not believing in you at first and I wish you well in your future. I can only hope that your predecessor will do as good a job as you have.
Michele A. Curran