20 January 2009

An Open Letter to the 44th President of the United States, Mr. Barak Hussein Obama:

Dear Mr. Obama:

What you have achieved today is proof that this country is an amazing place, a place where any (U.S. born) citizen can become the Commander and Chief. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that while you are functioning as symbol—the first African-American President—you are still a human. You are a human who is capable of mistakes; one who is not perfect; one who is not the second coming of Christ himself. I am very optimistic for your administration, but I am cautious. (That says nothing about you, sir. It is just my nature to be cautious about things.)

You have a great deal of work ahead of you, and it seems as though you have thought hard about the people that you want working with you. You’ve chosen some really intelligent people to tackle the problems that this country has at the moment. I was fortunate to be in the capital city as you took your oath surrounded by these great minds. Bravo to you. Bravo to them.

I think one of the most intriguing things about you is that you represent the foreign and the domestic, the black and the white, the insider and the outsider. You are educated, articulate and gifted rhetorically. You work out, you like to think, and you seem genuinely to like (and love) your family. You seem unflappable and cool, a zen-like surfer among more hot-tempered individuals. You embody the traits of Castiglione’s ideal man, one who exudes sprezzaturra—coolness, unaffected(but nonetheless practiced) intelligence and grace--something that I wish I could exude. Perhaps you’ve been reading The Book of the Courtier lately. We all should.

I wish you a great deal of luck with this job. I’m glad that if I were to have a child, she has the opportunity to achieve the office that you have (that any kid can), but I don’t know that I’d want that for her. What pressure. What scrutiny. What challenges. (I hope she chooses to be a world class cellist instead. Ha.)

We have many things in common, but one of my favorite things about you is this: You are left handed. I watched you sign some papers this morning and I noticed that you picked up the pen and signed with your left hand. I am sure that I have read somewhere before that you are, in fact, left handed, but it sunk in today. You and I are both left handed! Being left handed is so AWESOME and I hope that you remember that. Use that creative energy, restlessness and eccentricity that comes with being left handed (I’m not owning all of these things, you sensitive right handed folks)!

I wish you all success; I remember that you are human and I hope you do the same.

Best Wishes for an exciting term as President,



the_real_phony said...

I really enjoyed your letter. I agree, it is important to be both skeptical and supportive.

But also, I have observed a great amount of "lefty" pride today. As i watched the inauguration on tv with a group of friends my good friend yelled out "HE'S A LEFTY" haha. Black, whites, immigrants, natives, urban, rural, and yes, even lefties, are represented on this amazing day.

alot, alot said...

Bravo on the open letter.

Life, good and bad, is shades of grey, be it our own or how we choose to view the lives of others.

Thanks for going, for us (well, me at least, among the) Midwesterns who couldn't manage the trip.

Megarita said...

I noted the left-handedness only yesterday, too! We have a huge number of lefties in my department, so part of me was immediately thinking, "ugh, they're going to use this as more evidence of their cleverness." But it is nifty! Good letter, and hooray for Castiglione!

Jenni said...

Well put.

Change is among us all...What a great time to be an American!