Sunday, September 9, 2012

Open Letter to Pres. Barack Obama

Thanks, President Obama

By Dayne Sherman
Talk About the South Column
Sunday, September 9, 2012 / 950 words

Dear President Obama,

The Democratic National Convention is over, and the Republican National Convention fell apart at the seams just like an old set of retread tires unraveling shortly after leaving the discount auto store.

You’ve got to be smiling. How anyone making under $250,000 a year could vote for Mitt Romney after hearing former President Bill Clinton’s masterful speech on Wednesday night in Charlotte, I’ll never know. And people making the big bucks who care about the commonwealth, care about being “all in it together” wouldn’t go down the Romney-Ryan rabbit hole either.

It’s sweet success.

But I have a quick reminder. Have you invited Clint Eastwood over to thank him? A good deed left unthanked is soon forgotten. Be sure to offer to let him take home a White House chair as a souvenir. He had your back when you needed it the most. Don’t let him leave empty handed.

How about the news this week of 30 months in a row of job growth and the highest stock market in five years? President Obama, you may not have ever run a lemonade stand, but considering the disaster that George W. Bush gave you, it’s hard to believe the progress you’ve made in three and  half years: The War in Iraq is over, Afghanistan is coming to a close, General Motors is thriving, and Osama bin Laden is fish bait. Did I mention the Affordable Care Act? All of this was achieved while fighting the stated goal of the opposition party, which was to stop you from succeeding.

That’s some list of accomplishments for a poor African-American man whose family was on food stamps for a time, a man whose father abandoned the family, and a man who went onto graduate from Harvard Law School with a student loan debt bigger than his Chicago home mortgage.

Only in America.

I know you are concerned about the national debt. But please remind people that the day you took office, as the country was in the throws of the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, that three Republican Presidents had accumulated 80 percent of the national debt. Their names are Reagan, Bush, and Bush. These three CONservatives created 80 percent of the national debt from Washington to Bush Jr. People won’t hear this on Fox News or the mainstream “liberal” media. Remind the country, will you? It’s “arithmetic,” as Clinton called it.

Be sure to let everyone know the details about vulture capitalist Romney and Ayn Rand disciple Ryan’s cruel plans for economic growth: Funny numbers, tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and cuts to every social program helping the young, poor, old, and struggling college students. Don’t let the Romney camp get away with the constant barrage of lies.

But all the good news about your upcoming second term aside, I want to thank you for visiting Louisiana last Monday for Hurricane Isaac and for getting things done in the form of federal aid. It was nice to see Gov. Jindal, Sen. Vitter, Rep. Landry, and both Landrieus acting like your old buddies in the photos taken at Louis Armstrong Airport. Funny how federal disaster money can bring together all sorts of political ideologies. It looked like one big happy family.

There are pundits saying the rest of the nation should give up on the Gulf Coast, particularly Louisiana. These people just don’t get it. Not only are we a significant culture, but we enable our country to prosper through our fisheries, our ports, and our oil refining industries. Please help us rebuild our wetlands, diverting Mississippi River silt, protect coastal communities like Plaquemines Parish through good levees, and assist us in solving the overwhelming insurance fiasco that could kill our rebuilding efforts. If people can’t afford the homeowner’s insurance or if the policies don’t cover anything, they will have to move elsewhere.

As Louisiana goes, so goes the nation. We are the canary in the coal mine, and if we can’t prosper and become a sustainable environment, I sense that it can’t be done anywhere else.

I’m going to be straight with you, Mr. President. Louisiana has a political mess as bad or worse than our coastline. The U.S. Attorney seems to be unable to file indictments of our politicians as fast as he can uncover new criminals currently in office. 

And our little governor is so bad I wish you would take him off our hands. Is there a place in the federal government where he can’t harm anything? Could you appoint him to an ambassadorship to Mars? Think about it. It could be a win-win. And Louisiana would get Republican Jay Dardenne as governor. He seems like a decent human being, and he cares about the state.

There are times when I wonder if the feds shouldn’t build a border fence around Louisiana and let no one in our out. But the American experience is not built on logic but on a sincere faith in a better tomorrow. We believe we can work together to solve our state’s and our nation’s problems if we are willing to keep the faith and keep trying. That’s the American philosophy, and it’s a good one.

I’m counting on you to lead America and Louisiana into the future. Let me know your plans for Louisiana during the next four years. I suspect you don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to a change of address. Good luck planning the inauguration. Please give your wife a speaking slot. She’s quite a gem.


Dayne Sherman lives in Ponchatoula and is the author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise: A Novel. His website at

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