President Obama: You reassure me

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dear President Obama: Like Lou Pritchett, a most frightened man, I have lived under the last 13 presidents. None have "scared" me, although "W" came closest with his unnecessary war. As a former military officer, I recognize security threats. Iraq was not one.

President Obama, with you in office, I am reassured because:

* You speak confidently and sincerely on subjects critical to our future. Your books clearly articulate thoughts and goals.

* You worked successfully to attend Harvard, demonstrating to all that an Ivy League education is not reserved for the wealthy but for those who are intelligent and diligent. You and your wife have worked hard to improve your family's lifestyle.

* You spent some formative years overseas. Exposure to other cultures does not make one less American. My family has lived overseas. We are culturally American.

* You successfully mounted a political campaign to reach the office of president and are clearly more than equal to meeting a payroll and running a company.

* You recognize the need for civilian control of the military. Lack of military experience would have disqualified Lincoln, FDR and Reagan.

* You accept and are mindful of reality. Admitting fault and accepting blame, as in the Crowly-Gates issue, then setting things right, shows strength and maturity. Having a president who does not "misunderestimate" is clearly beneficial.

* You have experienced a range of American thoughts and opinions. Recognition of faults does not equate to hating America. Neither does expressing an opinion equate to wanting America to fail. Vilification of individuals is redundant when denouncement of extremist positions was made.

* You are not afraid to acknowledge that our society is imperfect. That our flaws may pale beside those of others is totally obvious. Recognizing and fixing faults sends a strong message. Ignoring issues is hypocritical, and other nations are well aware of this. Blaming America is a fabricated conservative construct.

* You recognize that we have no monopoly on ideas. The private sector appreciates government services. Besides highways, air traffic control and police/fire protection, a significant contribution is government stability, which permits legal/financial transactions to be safely conducted.

* You are addressing flaws in health care. Health insurance companies appear to be their own major beneficiary. Exceptions are socialized medicine in the military and Medicare programs. Citizens have a right to government-provided security and police/fire protection and a right to health protection.

* You have embraced energy independence, not just wind and solar, but also nuclear, gas, oil, clean coal and shale. Independence from foreign energy will come when all avenues are being pursued.

* You understand that the capitalist goose, if unconstrained, lays golden eggs only for the capitalists in charge. We provide "the highest standard of living" if -- and only if -- capitalism is controlled by reason. Capitalists must turn square corners when dealing with people and government.

* You have insisted that "certain banks and corporations" provide payback when asking for bailouts to protect private assets. Expecting banks to return what they borrowed in their self-generated emergency is not extortion.

* You solicit input from across the aisle when individuals show the courage and wisdom to speak their minds. Current spending proposals, while expensive, are necessary to counteract the inherited recession.

* You display an willingness to consider "opposing points of view from intelligent people." Refusal to continue yes-man precedents is refreshing. Intelligent, opposing points of view are valuable. A "just say no" mentality does nothing for America.

* You have the ability to ignore insults like "messiah," or "anointed one." False implications of omnipotence or omniscience serve only to degrade the instigators and are accepted only by an extremist fringe.

* You are willing to face the media, nation, and the world openly, honestly and deliver a position in clear, complete sentences. The belief of a "free pass on everything" is another construct of closed minded individuals.

* You are able to ignore hectoring of conservative detractors who pass off personal opinions as news. They demonize themselves by their inability to consider any point of view other than their own. They are entertainers, entitled to opinions, but not to represent these as truths. These commentators cater to individuals described by the phrase, "Don't confuse me with the facts. I've already made up my mind."

* You know that governing is like steering a supertanker. Immediate "controlling" is virtually impossible. Your job requires thinking miles or months ahead in order to keep on course.

After your second term, skeptics will come around, confidence in government will be re-established and freedom of expression will remain, even for the very frightened Lou Pritchett.

Rick Lettau is a Marble Hill, Mo., resident.

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