Welcome Mr. President. We congratulate you on becoming our next leader-in-chief. We celebrate your historical achievement, as we celebrate the possibility of the lifting of a great grey veil that has shrouded us from the rest of the world. Soon we might see what the decisions we’ve made for this world has actually done to it.
You must understand this, however. You will receive a multitude of opinions on what should be done next, and how to do it. You have your own opinions, to be sure. But this will be inconsequential against the volume that will be placed at your feet. Now that the American public has learned how anyone can become president, we will assume our opinions can carry the same weight as a seasoned politician’s, and should be regarded as such. Do not become angered at this; it is no reflection of your achievement. This hidden truth was exposed to the public over the last eight years, long before your entrance into the national spotlight. Unfortunately, you must now deal with the consequences of informed democracy: people will expect YOU to listen.
Of all these expectations, none is more fundamental than the belief that you will do better than your predecessor. This is not a difficult task for you. It will be wrenchingly difficult for your party, whose lack of cohesiveness, direction, and limited experience with executive power (beyond that of endless debate) will stymie its own ends for a time. Patience with your party, even in the face of what some may call an ‘immediate’ danger, is what is needed. However, you do not need to offer patience to the Republican Party just to inspire the appearance of ‘cooperation.’ We, having gifted the Republican Party and their pundits with years of patience, have received nothing in return.
Even though the difficulties you face are great, and not of your own making or even necessarily that of your predecessor, even the smallest headway will be considered a victory for your administration. You face a warming planet caused by all of us since the beginning of the industrial age. You have been given the privilege of changing an entire culture of waste.
You face a war Iraq started to make-up for a son’s failures in his father’s eyes. Now Iraq has devolved into a confused child that we may have to care for in decades to come.
You face an intractable war in Afghanistan fostered by a Bush presidency that ignored the threats until they were carried-out and American lives were lost ; A Clinton presidency that, in a zeal to balance budgets and send a symbolic message of disarmament to the world, resulted in the dismantling of our nation’s eyes and ears, leaving us blind to the growing threats; and A Regan presidency whose complete disinterest in the people who fought and died for our interests, turned our Mujahedeen allies into ” al-qaeda “, creating the religious monsters we fight to this day.
You face a deep economic recession of also our own making. Greed led us to agree to contracts we logically knew we couldn’t live-up to. Laws enacted to protect us from the greed of an industry that saw these insane contracts as a commodity were eroded over the course of many administrations. The seeds for the removal of these important laws, and the foreseeable disaster that followed, were sown long before both of us were born.
These issues don’t even include the time wasted that we desperately needed to address domestic issues, such as health care, campaign finance reform, sale of government agencies to lobbyists, education, and such. As citizens, we expect that time for change is now. We want the clock turned-back to the days when we had the time and resources to solve these problems. Now, we have neither. The ideas you will bring-forth may not be new or radical. The obvious solutions to the issues that face us didn’t lack planning, only political will to begin them. Unfortunately, we will act as though your solutions are new, untested, and radical. We do this to bolster our collective feeling of feigned angst. Sometimes commiseration is the only positive feeling left. For patience, have some for us, too. Having lived for so long with so little, we tend to forget what the possibilities are in life. We will remember. We will come-around.