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January 7, 2010

Dear President Obama,

Patricia A. Kelly

The following list of resolutions is my gift to you. The reason I want to help you out with this is that I think you're basically a nice guy with good intentions.


We all look at life through the filter we create in response to our experiences. I ponder repeatedly what it must have been like for you to become a teenager and discover that your own mother and grandmother were afraid of black men, that, like many other Caucasians, they locked their car doors when they drove by a street corner occupied by groups of them.


What a sense of isolation, and even betrayal, that must have given you. Although you were half white, you were black by virtue of your appearance, and there was no choice for you. Your own mother and grandmother would have been afraid of you if they had driven by you on the street.


I've always thought you decided, alone in your New York apartment after becoming disillusioned with the radical druggie, hippy, parasitic, liberal kids you hung with, that you could be the one. You could be the one to bring people together and create real change in the world.


That's why, I suspect, you abstained so often from voting in the state legislature of Illinois, and why you failed to write and publish during your law school teaching career. You didn't want to be pinned down, or to say anything that might interfere with your future ambitions.


I think you might have been right. You could be the one.


Things are getting tough now, though. According to, your approval ratings are at only 49% with disapproval at 45.2%. Not too good for a guy who was experiencing near universal acclaim only last year.


Many members of your own party, especially conservatives and moderates, are quite concerned about their mid-term re-election chances later this year. According to The Washington Post in November, these people were quite worried that your emphasis on health care and climate change were not the issues on the minds of most Americans. More and more people think the government is biting off too much.


People are concerned, seriously, about the economy, the national debt, and the quick growth of government that your agenda portends. From government-run health care to cap and trade with its very expensive carbon levies against businesses, to federalization of education and control of executive compensation, you're scaring people. The recent alleged scientific fiddling with global warming data didn't help.


So, to help you through the coming year, I propose the following resolutions:


1. Get over yourself. We're getting tired of your self-satisfied smile and your giving yourself such high grades for 2009, when thing aren't looking better to us. Try a little humility. Your manner of speaking, "It's my job… It's my responsibility...” just sounds as if you think everything is up to you. You may be quite sure you're the one, but don't rub it in. We'll like you better.


2. The United States of America was founded on individual freedom and individual effort. Do you remember the phrase, "You can be anything you want to be"? Individual effort is inspired by reward for success. Leave us a few carrots. If we can't earn money and make personal choices, we're going to get depressed and become less industrious. What's the point of working if the government controls your salary, takes most of it in taxes, gives it to people who don't work, and then limits your personal life and medical choices? Take another look at what made the U.S. so successful for so long, your personal filter notwithstanding.


3. Dig deep and try to use some common sense. We all know we should take care of our things, including the earth. Sustainable living is something we should have been doing all along. We don't need a global warming "emergency," which truly has not been proven to be a result of man's impact, to tell us that. We also know, and have known, since the gasoline crisis during Jimmy Carter days, that we need to become energy independent. Try setting us on that path, using natural gas and more of our own oil to bring the Middle East into line on prices while we move gradually into independent, sustainable energy sources. We can't afford to do it overnight.


4. Truly understand that other countries are not us. There are huge cultural differences between peoples. Fatalism, saving face, baksheesh, submissiveness to totalitarianism, give people different views and goals, not to mention life styles. We can and should respect each other’s differences, but we don't have to be a global society. There's nothing wrong with remaining distinctive as Americans. We are a pretty cool people, and we've contributed a lot to the world.


5. Understand that our country should follow its own laws. Either change our immigration laws or enforce them. Initiate a national I.D. card, issued by the DMV in much the same way a driver's license is issued. Then, require that it or a driver's license be shown in order to get a job, secure a place to live, enroll a child in school, buy a car, etc. If there were nothing to gain from coming here, people wouldn't come. This would help greatly with homeland security. Now, anyone who feels like it can get in. Why not terrorists? If we want more workers in the country, and El Salvador wants their money, then pressure them and other countries to initiate expatriate worker programs, as has the Philippines.


6. Keep your promises. The only sign so far of the transparency you promised is that the unethical deal-making over the health care bill was more open than usual. Fight the earmarks you say you don't like. It's painful for the American people to see their leaders basing life and death decisions on who gets the most pork. Cut government waste, as you also promised.


7. Don't waste money. That Indian dinner wasn't even a real state dinner, and I hear the tent cost $80,000. You have a perfectly fine dining room. Save the tent for a head of state, at least.


8. Tell your staff, appointees, czars, etc., to get themselves together or their heads will roll. 9/11 took place eight years ago. The problem then was lack of communication among agencies. On Christmas Day a near disaster happened because of the same problem. And a tip for your Social Secretary: It's rude not to greet your invited guests at the door.


Hope these help. I think you might need some.


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