fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

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.


Tags: politics
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