The following is an open letter to President Obama, which I also sent to his office via the interface on whitehouse.gov. Thanks to my friend Jan for the help editing the text.
Before reading the letter below, please understand that I am still very glad that we have Obama in office rather than McCain with Palin a heartless non-beat away from the presidency. I still think we’re better off without “bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” McCain or worse, much much worse, his running mate Caribou Barbie. That said, I am still also very disappointed in results we’ve been getting from President Obama. I, for one, am feeling very short-changed.
So, without further preamble, here is the letter I sent to Mr. Obama.
Dear President Obama,
How sweet those words sounded just a bit over a year ago. During your campaign you promised change. We were thrilled that you won the election and eagerly anticipated a new era. A year later and with a Nobel Peace Prize behind you, alas there has been precious little change.
You have capitulated on health care. The public option should be a compromise. The real change should have started with talk of a true single payer system, a solution that would move our nation into the civilized world in health care, removing the profit from insurance and the incentive to prevent care rather than to provide it. Now, even the public option has long since been given up.
Guantanamo Bay is still operating; closing it should be a very easy campaign promise to keep. However, it still continues to operate.
The Iraq War is still in full swing and additional troops have been sent to Afghanistan , making your Nobel Peace Prize somewhat of a joke, though not yet on par with the joke of Yasser Arafat’s.
You have hired Wall Street executives to fix Wall Street. In a huge surprise, Wall Street has “fixed” itself by taking huge amounts of federal money, amounts that dwarf the TARP funds by more than an order of magnitude. The Federal Reserve Bank is now quite possibly the least solvent bank in the nation after buying up or allowing as collateral trillions of dollars worth of the most toxic of the subprime mortgage assets, all in a huge veil of secrecy. Investment banks have become bank holding companies allowing them even freer access to Federal Reserve money, further bankrupting the nation while doing nothing to help those who have had to default on their mortgages. For a fraction of the cost that we have spent, we could have paid off all of the 1.7 trillion dollars worth of subprime mortgages and left people in their homes.
All the while, you’re doing little to regulate the banks or the Federal Reserve Bank. No one is even speaking of the possibility of reinstating Glass-Steagal, the act which would have prevented all of this had it been left intact.
And now, I am reading that you have coerced the EPA into subverting its job to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, which was supposed to be the backup plan for our failed climate legislation. Instead, you speak of clean coal. Let me assure you that the only way to keep coal clean is to keep it safely buried underneath mountains. I was wary of voting for you, and did not in the primary, precisely because of your ties to Ole King Coal. Now you are showing your loyalty to the coal industry by your apparent willingness to allow them to continue to destroy the planet during your daughters’ lifetimes. Perhaps we would all be better off if you would consider the science that shows that the biosphere will suffer tremendously in the business as usual scenario. Please consider that the differences in the scientific scenarios will have a direct effect on the quality of life your daughters will experience during their lifetimes.
The climate legislation on which you fail to act in combination with preventing the EPA from acting as the regulatory agency it was established to be, will now leave the planet in the worst case, business as usual state. There will be no effective reductions in carbon dioxide emissions for many years to come as a result of your actions. This means that by the time your daughters are the age you are now, an eighth of the world’s population will be homeless as a direct result of climate change that you failed to act upon and your daughters will live in a world with a billion climate refugees.
As storm surges combine with sea level rise and droughts and desertification increase and as top soil erodes in the areas that suddenly have too much rainfall at inappropriate times and as human population is painfully and radically decreased, your Nobel Peace Prize will increasingly become a source of bleak humor in a changing landscape. Climate change conflicts like Darfur will increase in frequency and wars will ravage huge regions of the planet as desperate people compete against one another for the increasingly dwindling resources they need for their survival. The number of deaths from climate change will surpass the numbers of deaths in all of the wars in history. Is this how you plan to live up to the hopes of the nations who awarded you the Nobel Peace Prize?
President Obama, I implore you please to reverse your policies. First and foremost, please take real and meaningful action on climate change. Second, please work toward real reform on Wall Street to reign in the rampant greed of those who seek to privatize profit while socializing risk. Third, please work toward peace rather than war. And, finally for our national security and to give our corporations the ability to compete with those abroad, please implement real health care reform. Corporations should not be in the business of social welfare, first because they are very bad at it and secondly because it cripples their competitiveness.
Please think of your daughters and the world they must inhabit prior to thinking of the corporate executives who financed your election. Please spend more time doing your job rather than trying to keep your job. You’ll find it the most expedient way to do both.