politics

An open letter of apology to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

On the eve of your status as a lame duck, I’d like to take this moment to apologize to you, personally.

I haven’t always been a fan, and truth told, I voted against you. Twice. I’ve been a Republican my entire voting life (20 years!) and as a believer in smaller government, the idea of a community organizer and socialist(?) in the White House, didn’t sit well with me. Still doesn’t, if I’m being honest. Though I don’t think of you as only those two things any longer.

I was angry at a number of things you said and did while in office. I didn’t care for the “You didn’t build that” moment. Oh man, and the “bitter clingers” speech! And the idea of getting to a single payer system, particularly, sent me into hysterics. They were all anathema to my views on what a President should believe, and I didn’t hesitate in letting my displeasure be known. In fact, I think I even sent an email to the whitehouse.gov email address stating something about you being a commie – but that was back in ’08. I’m sure you saw it.

Needless to say, my words in regards to your; beliefs, actions, words, and general existence, have been far from glowing. However, now that we stand on the precipice of an election which is surely going to send us all to the bowels of hell, regardless of who wins, I can’t help but reflect on your performance over these past  eight years. I’m sure you’ve been waiting with baited breath.

First, I’d like to apologize for being generally shitty towards you. Yeah, I’m not proud of it. I get these timehop things in my Facebook feed and I’ve seen comments I’ve made over the years and I really wish I could take them back. Not all of them, mind you. But enough of them.

I’m proud to call you my President, and I’m proud of how you’ve handled yourself in office these past eight years. I haven’t agreed (obviously) with the majority of your choices or words, but I do respect how you’ve handled yourself. And for that, I’m grateful.

Far too often I think we’re truly awful to one another in the pursuit of partisan agendas. It’s easy to dismiss those who disagree with us and even easier to demonize them – not just “the other” but those directly opposed to our way of thinking. When we see and hear others demonizing us, it becomes even easier to return the favor – even to those that never did it to us in the first place.

Case in point, it sucks to repeatedly hear that you’re racist just for being a Republican. Please know, none of my negative views towards you stemmed from your being black. I love black people. Not in the “Jerry Maguire” way in which Cuba Gooding Jr. makes Tom Cruise say it, but genuinely, as I love all people. Except Muslims.

Sorry, that was a joke. I couldn’t resist. I have no issue with Muslims, but I wouldn’t mind if everyone on earth decided to become atheist. But I digress…

In the spirit of being fully honest, possibly my biggest gripe with you (and you know this) is that you’re so damn cool. No one has any business being that cool. Especially not a politician. No Republican has ever been that cool. Hell, most rock stars aren’t that cool. Do you know how infuriating that is? It’s like Shaq walking into a middle school gym – it’s just not fair. You are literally the other side of the pillow.

Please know, I haven’t switched sides. I believe there’s no smaller minority than the individual. I loathe collectivism with the fire of a thousand suns. I think free markets and free people are the best solutions to virtually every problem we face. But I don’t think you’re a bad guy.

I think you’ve been a phenomenal President and have honored the office far better than most people. God knows I would have been impeached within weeks if I had the gig, so my hats off to you. How you kept from mooning the press corps from the Truman balcony, I have no idea – or maybe you’re saving that for your last day in office? Well played, sir.

Finally, thanks for your sacrifice – because the Presidency is a massive sacrifice. I think we forget that. You don’t belong to you or your family, you belong to the American People for four or eight years. Every decision you make is going to piss off half of them, on any given day. For that, you deserve all of our thanks and appreciation.

If there’s anything I can do for you, maybe a letter of recommendation for your next job (I’m really good at those), please don’t hesitate to let me know.

With all of my sincere love and thanks,

Rob Myers

U.S. Citizen

P.S. I’m still pissed about ObamaCare, but what’s done is done – we don’t have to talk about it.

 

“Riddle of the Gun” or, the Best Article I’ve Ever Read

Author Sam Harris has done what I didn’t think possible – he’s articulated a dispassionate and rational summation of the “gun situation” in the U.S.

Totally.

Image from Sam Harris'

What to do about 300 million of these and a strong 2nd amendment?

Mr. Harris is neither cheer leader or adversary of guns and explores the questions surrounding such a complicated issue with clear eyes and full weight given to all arguments.

Do yourself a favor and read this article entitled “Riddle of the Gun” regardless of how much you think you know about the issue. I can promise you, there is a wealth of information you’ve never heard before, or at least not in this way.

As a disclaimer, I’m not a member of the NRA and I don’t own a gun personally. Additionally, I’m a parent of two small children that mean the world to me and I can’t begin to imagine the anguish of the parents of Newtown, CT and would love more than anything to insure such a thing never happens again.

I don’t think that “this isn’t the time for debate” as every moment is time for debate when it comes to things of great importance in our lives. Especially today, the debate will be raging and I don’t think you’re going to find a better, more even-handed take than the Mr. Harris’ post on the subject.

Please read it and feel free to let me know your thoughts on the subject and I’d love to let you know mine. We all want the same things in the end: for our children to be safe, for less blood to be shed, and for a strong feeling of security. What we disagree with at the moment, is how to get there.

In the meantime, here’s a video of Harris speaking at a TED talk about moral relativism. This guy is brilliant.

Sam Harris – “Science can Show What’s Right”

Mayor Cory Booker Takes the Wrong Challenge.

Mayor Cory Booker Takes the Wrong Challenge.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker recently took up a “SNAP” challenge where he lived on $30 per week in groceries. He’s getting some kudos for his efforts of exploring how exactly the people on these programs live and how hard they can have it. I’m impressed at his effort as few people, in my experience, take the time to get down and see how things actually work on the ground level.

Mayor Booker takes on the wrong challenge - but it is an emotional one.

Mayor Booker takes on the wrong challenge – but it is an emotional one.

Of course, SNAP isn’t supposed to be something one lives entirely on. SNAP is an acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. “Supplemental. Assistance.” Not “Guaranteed Subsistence Food Grant” – which would be a mouthful. (Bonus Pun!)

It would be no different than if the good Mayor (and he really is a good guy – he even saved people from a burning building – swear to god) had decided to live in a inflatable life raft for a month. Or, if he decided to wear disposable contact lenses for a couple of weeks. Using anything for other than the purpose for which it was designed is misleading. It also puts the emphasis on the wrong problem.

Clearly, we’re to believe that $4/day is too little to subsist on. I agree. EVERYONE agrees. That’s why it’s supposed to add to the other money one makes to take care of themselves. Not making money for themselves? That’s a tough one.

There could be multiple reasons someone finds themselves without income altogether and without savings at the same time. Regardless, there is family, charity, and opportunity in the free market for work – even daily labor. It doesn’t pay the best, but then it’s not supposed to.

The problem isn’t that these programs aren’t generous enough, it’s that the assumptions about what they’re supposed to do are all wrong. If Mr. Booker thinks free food should be a new guaranteed benefit then he should probably say so.

A safety net isn’t the most comfortable thing to hit when falling from terrible heights, but it’s a damn bit better than solid ground.

I think the problem in Newark isn’t the low level of SNAP benefits but the abysmal conditions in the city. Maybe more efforts by the Mayor to see how crime could be improved in his city would fare a better chance of actually moving the needle for the better.

Unfortunately, Mayor Booker took the wrong challenge.