November 7, 2008

Letter to the President-Elect

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Dear President-Elect Obama:

As one of the more than 52 percent of people who cast their ballots for you, let me say congratulations. But as one humble citizen wanting to see you succeed, let me add a few words of advice. The American people have put a great amount of trust in you Barack, giving you (in terms of the Electoral College) a landslide and solid Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. Living through these troubled times, your calls for change have resonated with us and now we have given you a chance. We’re ready to see what you can do.

But first, before you get giddy over the prospect of enacting your policy plans, a word of caution. Though you have received the gift of majority government, remember that in two years time you can lose it all. Take to heart the lessons offered by Clinton in 1994 and Bush in 2006, that your majority is conditional. Remember to be the man you were when campaigning and don’t get trapped by the arrogance that often befalls American Presidents. I wish you the best, but forgive me for being cautious; one doesn’t need to look far back in history to be disappointed in our leaders. Learn from their mistakes and try to govern wisely.

And finally, allow me give you another piece of unsolicited advice. For as long as I can remember, and especially over the past eight years, I have never been asked to be a citizen, only a consumer. I think what the American people want, especially now, is a President who challenges us to reach for our best while also reminding us of the responsibilities we have to our country and to each other. Think JFK, FDR and even flashes of Ronald Reagan. I was in ninth grade when 9/11 happened and I can still remember when President Bush told us our patriotic duty was to keep shopping and spending. At that time, the country I saw outside my window bore no resemblance to the country that I had read about in history class–the one that won two World Wars, settled a continent and, though not free of flaws, always strove to do right. Despite the current challenges, I think Tuesday proved that the American people still want to do right in our country and the world. President-Elect Obama, the American people have given you the tools, now show us what you can do with them.

In short, don’t f-ck it up.

Respectfully yours,

Rob Coniglio