An Open Letter to President Obama

Note: Some of my readers took me to task about this post (comments) suggesting that I wasn’t being fair to President Obama.  Perhaps they are right and I was too hard on him.  I was angry.  So bear that in mind, read the comments, and take it all with a grain of salt.

In your speech today at Oslo receiving the Nobel Peace prize you spoke of having a “clear eyed” look at the needs of the world.  But the speech itself made it clear that either you don’t have a “clear eyed” look yourself or you are simply spinning words together to cover a war mongering heart.

You speak of “moral compass”, but I wonder if you have lost yours.

You suggest that the moral principle of all religions, to do unto others as you would have them do unto yourself, should be paramount.  Clearly then, we must want Afghani and Pakistani people to send unmanned drones into our homes and market places, our weddings.

You speak of “enlightened self-interest”.  I see plenty of self-interest on the part of the large corporations and oil industry, the weapons industry, but nothing about this is enlightened.  You dare to speak of “human folly” and do not include yourself, and yet you have become the major “fool” of the corporations.

You speak of the “world rallying around us” in Afghanistan and during the Kuwaiti war.  Like most elites you seem to think that the moneyed people of the world encompass the whole world.  You seem to think that the northern nations are the “world” and to forget the southern ones.  Like so many others, the poorer people of the world are not real to you.  They are the disposable ones.  They haven’t been “rallying around”, but you don’t seem to notice.

And, too, many of us who are a part of those northern nations, many of us who are United States citizens, did not “rally” around the war in Kuwait or the war in Afghanistan.

You speak of civil wars where a government is warring against its own citizens and yet you are willing to continue warring against those same citizens in Afghanistan, and your own citizens in this country.  This morning, interspersed with your speech, was an emergency call by our local food pantry for blankets because there is not enough room in the shelters for all the people who are homeless and cold.   You think it is not warring against your own citizens when you spend trillions of dollars on war and wall street and don’t seem to have enough to provide the basic needs of your own citizens?  (Not to speak of the thousands of people in jail who really just needed a better education, more medical and psychological care, etc., all of which could be paid for by one tenth of the amount of money spent on “defense” in this country.)

You speak of civil wars in countries like Somalia and seem blind to the causes of these wars, the rape of their countries by colonization, the continued rape by large corporations.  If we want the wars to stop we must stop our exploitation of these people.

You speak of us as if we were the “peace keepers” of the world.  The wars we make have nothing to do with keeping peace for the people of the world.  We are nothing but hired mercenaries for the large corporate interests.

You say that peace requires sacrifice!  Yes,  but it is the corporations, the oil industry and the weapons industry who are the ones who need to sacrifice!  Not our young men and women, not the citizens of Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, not our poor, not our education system, not the very well being of the earth itself which you will allow these same major corporations to kill with their wanton disregard of the needs of our planet.

Take a deep breath, everyone — including me!  Let it out with a sigh.  Shake a hand, and then another one, shake everything and do a little babbling to let out those frustrations! (For more on breathing, shaking and babbling to to )

Want to read more of my “humble” (or  not so humble today!) ideas about how to live in the world?  Go to to learn more about my books, poetry and music.


  1. Dale Woloshin says:

    It greatly saddens me that people of good faith, otherwise intelligent, so easily have been swayed to say things like, “to think I voted for [Barack Obama]”. I have been a lifelong pacifist and conscientious objector, who objected to Iraq and to my countries involvement in Afghanistan, and who is dismayed by the continued presence of all countries in Afghanistan, but I also realize that the President is working through some very tough choices because of actions by his predecessors, most of which I consider somewhat less enlightened than he, and the last one before him the worst President I can think of.

    This is what he inherited: a wreaked economy, a major war and invasion of Iraq, the lack of anything to control Al Qaeda over 7 years by his predecessor, a health care system in decline for generations and in control of those who would have it continue to cost Americans more and more while leaving more and more persons without any health care, or destitute because of it.

    Obama inherited a tough and tight political situation already controlled by the very wealthy corporations, and promises made and left by the previous administration.

    He said that these issues would take more than a 4-year mandate to straighten out, and now he finds that many of those who supported him are ready to say, “to think I voted for him”, publicly, no less, when we all know that the alternative, McCain/Palin and the Republicans, wanted more for the rich, less for the middle class and poor, and a much stronger military involvement in other peoples’ countries.

    Would Clinton, Romney, McCain or others have given us even as little as he has been able to do so far?

    President Obama did not speak today about domestic issues. The Nobel prize was not about that, and the blog should not criticize him or imply criticism for this.

    He spoke about America on the world stage, and about what needs to be done, in the midst of difficult choices, difficult for anyone this side of Bush. He reintroduced America to multilateralism, as opposed to unilateralism. From an America that was hated here in Canada and in many other countries around the world, his America now garners respect. America CAN do more for peace now than it ever could under Bush, and for this President Obama deserves respect.

    If I had my way, Iraq and Afghanistan would not have happened 8 years ago. Maybe surgical strikes on both sides of the Afghan/Pakistan border to rout Al Qaeda. I am not sure I would have fought the Taliban, being a lover of self-determination, except where they harboured or interfered with bringing Al Qaeda to justice. But that is not to say that I would have been able to make those choices, were I president.

    I say give President Obama a chance. More than an 11 month chance. Given the MESS we all know was inherited just one year ago, he deserves that much. So does America, and the rest of the world.



  2. Well, Dale, I’m sorry you’re disappointed in me. I want to point out that the McCain/Palin ticket was not the only alternative and I never would have voted for them. I felt uneasy about Obama when he denounced his minister whose comments made eminent sense to me at the time. (Since then the minister has made comments that I’m not in agreement with, but the comments Obama was criticizing were completely accurate from my point of view.)
    I strongly considered voting for Cynthia McKinney, but finally decided that since Obama was intelligent and thoughtful there was a chance that he might really make some changes.
    I got my hopes up. I have been writing him my point of view on issues on a regular basis in hopes that, despite the people he chose for his cabinet many of whom I strongly disrust, he would start taking this country in the right direction, and on some issues he has moved a bit (although not enough!). But this speech in Oslo was devastating to me. I feel betrayed.

  3. Your blog has been on my mind for several days. I am in agreement with Dale. To simply say, “To think I voted for him.” clearly rules out any belief that he can and will, in time, bring us to a different place in the world. I hate the wars in Iraq and Iran. I hate that our president is sending more troops there. But this does not discount my belief in him as a person who shows me more hope than the travesty of the Bush years.

  4. Well, Marlys and Dale, I think I probably shouldn’t have put the “to think I voted for him” remark at the end of the blog. I was angry. I do think he is certainly better than Bush, but I am disappointed in him. I have lost hope. Sorry, but that’s the way I feel at this point.

  5. Barbara Currier says:

    Hello, Connie.

    I thought about you, found your site, and read this blog post. I was in the “give him time, he was handed a mess” camp back in 2009, as well. However, the man has been a profound disappointment. Now, we are in three wars and decimating human services at home. He is not who I thought I was voting for and I am greatly saddened.

    The image that comes to mind is of a little boy who is very good resolving issues in his group of friends who hang out in the school library. His friends encourage him to go try to get the playground back from the mean kids. But, in trying to be accepted by the mean kids in order to work with them, he becomes one.

    The nice kids need to get organized. The nice kids outnumber the mean kids.

    In all fairness, I don’t think Obama’s happy about what he perceives as things he has to do. Doesn’t bring back the people who’ve been killed or build any kind of positive future for the rest of us.

  6. Thanks, Barbara. I actually was thinking about this post and that my reponse to my friendly critics might be different today. I think your analysis is good. None of wants to think that Obama is in cahoots with the “bad guys”. But he keeps making such bad choices.

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