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open letter to Obama

Mr. President,

I have been one of your biggest supporters for a long time. I thought your defense of rationality gave me hope for my country, long before it seemed like you had a chance of winning the nomination. I cheered at your inauguration because here was a man who lived on the margins and yet seemed American - interracial, urban, international, Blackberry-toting. You seemed like me.

I groaned when you dashed hopes for the public options, in essence making us buy the services of a fundamentally misaligned industry, and groaned again when you built in conscience exceptions. And once more when the Wall Street bankers all too often found places on your boards of advisors, and certainly didn't find themselves behind jail. But I recognized this as the cost of doing business. In my mind I pointed to Republican intransigence and extremism. I gritted my teeth when people around me talked about throwing all the bums out - certainly responsibility was not equal. I still believe that.

But I also believe there are some things you just can't do. It's like a categorical imperative. When you ran as the voice of the rule of law, of reality-based governing, well, (to twist Jerry Maguire), "You had me at 'rule of law'." But when you give that away, you give my support away as well.

To be clear: when the Senate says American citizens can be detained indefinitely without trial, in plain violation of several of the Bill of Rights articles - that is wrong. Beyond wrong. And when the sticking point over this has nothing to do with civil liberties and everything to do with limits on your power - well, that is majorly wrong, too.

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I'm not someone who gets upset over civil liberties. I don't mind being scanned at the airport, for instance. But in a war without end (Iraq draws down; terror does not) you can't just lock people up and throw away the key. We're supposed to be the good guys even when they aren't. It's just not how we roll. It's not how I roll.

So you have lost my confidence today, Mr. President, and almost certainly my vote as well. Maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot there, but if this is what having a Dem in the White House gets us, then let the other guys move in. At least we can have a noble opposition then. But really, I can't vote for you in good conscience after the way you handled this. Maybe that doesn't matter - I am after all just one vote. But you also made me cry this afternoon, because I believed you once upon a time.

Yours,

M.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
roh_wyn
Dec. 15th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm surprised it took this long for so many to get off the Obama bandwagon. It doesn't make me happy to know that he hasn't come through on so much promise (because I really wanted to believe in him), but I also feel slightly vindicated, because I never really did buy into the hype in the first place.

Political affiliation is not really relevant here, IMO. As long as those who occupy the White House continue to believe they should be more important/significant/powerful than the other two branches of the federal government, we (the voters) will always be disappointed by the outcome of their term in office.
lady_branwyn
Dec. 15th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Amen, sister. I was a supporter (though I was concerned that he didn't seem to have the requisite experience dealing with the "political machine, and events seen to vindicated that opinion).

Edited at 2011-12-15 10:11 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
marta_bee
Dec. 16th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
Of course it's not okay. And I didn't say that, or didn't mean to at any rate. (I wrote this really quickly, and on not much sleep, so it's possible I said something I didn't mean to.)

What I was trying to get at is, Obama's reasoning was that there should be no limits on presidential power. That the law simply should not apply. I can feel moral outrage at bad treatment in international situations, and do, but the outrage there is for a different reason. For the head of state to stand up and say that the law's protection shouldn't apply citizens is deeply troubling in ways I can't quite lay out. This is on top of feeling more than a bit horrified at the practical consequences of this law. But what has me truly upset is something else entirely.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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