To MY President Barack Obama:
Throughout the day as I sit at my desk, I stare at a picture of you waving to the crowd the night you became president of the United States of America. Words below your picture read: DESTINY … Our Destiny is not written for us, but by us. You have indeed proven that sir. I have watched you in amazement, awing at your ability to keep your cool in some not so cool situations. Your composure in pressure cooker blowing conditions has caused me to reflect often on a Peter Marshall quote: “When we long for life without difficulty, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” I know you get my drift.
My President, you were never too concerned with proving you were worthy to be president that you forgot how to be presidential. You maintained dignity and decorum, choosing to take a higher path and continue on your own quest. I loved that about you. Destiny, My President. Destiny! Even on those occasions when folks who are supposed to be helping to shape the future of this nation, setting the tone for others to follow got up in your face, called you names including tar baby, liar and I’m sure the n-word — governors, congressmen, senators, oh my — you remained cool. Destiny, My President, Destiny!
On the table in my family room is the book “Yes We Can,” by Scout Tufankjian, the story of your historic journey from junior senator to president. By now you should be able to tell, you made me proud, My President. There is a particular passage in the book that resonates with me. “I run to give my children and their children the same chances that someone, somewhere gave me…. And I run to keep the promise of the United States of America alive for all those who still hunger for opportunity and thirst for equality and long to believe again.” Wow, My President, I, too, yearn for that — the same chances, the opportunity and equality for this and future generations. You proved that no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it and fight for it and work for it. You did that My President with such sophistication.
While many find it hard to give you your just due, I’m hopeful history books won’t let us down. My President, I believe strongly your record will show you were mighty skillful at the job, although you never boasted about your accomplishments. You proved it’s not about politics but more about basic human decency. The words of an old gospel hymn titled “May the Work I’ve Done, Speak for Me,” will tell your story, My President. You aspired to put people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids. You did that! You came into the presidency to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace. You did that! You aimed to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth — that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, We Can! You did all of that My President!