I voted for you in 2008. I voted for you again in 2012. I believed in you.
I still believe in you.
I’m not a democrat and I’m not a republican. I don’t have “a side.” I don’t live in a world where all politicians are either good or evil. I don’t live under the delusion that politicians are either heroes or villains.
You’re not Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re not Darth Vader.
The president before you was both.
The president after you will be both.
I think you’re right about many things.
I think you’re wrong about many things.
For example, I think you’re right about healthcare.
I support your desire to reform healthcare. While the Affordable Care Act has some major issues, I think if politicians can stop trying to win and instead focus on making it work, Obamacare will be a good thing for this country.
I think you were right when you said you want to close Gitmo, but you were wrong to let political pressure stop you from doing what you promised to do.
I think you’re wrong about using drones to kill American citizens without a trial, no matter how egregious their crimes. I believe you’re doing what you think is right, but you’re wrong. There are consequences to that action that will go far beyond your presidency.
I think you’re wrong to expand the Patriot Act. Again, I think your heart’s in the right place, but you aren’t considering the implications of your actions. You seem to think the end justifies the means.
It doesn’t. If you have to sacrifice liberty to defend it, you’re handing victory to those who want to take liberty away.
I’m not saying these things to open up debates on those topics. Those are debates for another day.
I just mentioned them to show you that I support you in some ways, but I disagree with you in others.
I mentioned those things so you’ll know I’m not an “Obama hater.” I need you to understand that before I move on to the real point of this letter…
Yesterday, you said politicians shouldn’t always listen to their constituency. You used World War II as an example. You said that sometimes a congressperson must vote on his or her conscience, regardless of what the voters say.
I actually agree with you on that point. Sometimes, it’s necessary. If the masses controlled every law, interracial marriage might still be illegal in many states. If the masses determined every law, civil rights could be set back 100 years.
Sometimes, the masses can take on a mob mentality. Sometimes the masses are driven by fear or hate instead of compassion or fairness.
So yeah… I get your point. Sometimes, the law has to go against what the masses want.
But when it comes to sending our children to war, you’re wrong to suggest that.
You’re asking us to risk the lives of our children. We should have a say in that.
And don’t tell me you’re not risking their lives.
Until you can look us in the eyes and say, “I promise you, no soldier will ever be in danger because of this attack,” don’t stand there and pretend you’re doing anything other than asking us to risk the lives of our children.
You might be doing everything you can to lessen that risk, but the risk is there.
And frankly, if you try to suggest otherwise, you’re either delusional or you’re lying.
Don’t tell our congresspeople to ignore us on this issue. Don’t tell our congresspeople to vote against us on this issue.
You’re asking congress to risk the lives of our children.
We deserve a detailed explanation from you. We deserve to know exactly why this is worth risking the lives of our children.
And more importantly, we deserve to have a say in the matter.
So tell us why this is worth the risk. Don’t give us generalized fear-mongering.
Tell us exactly what you’re trying to do here.
Then tell us exactly how this action will accomplish it.
Then… when you’re done explaining this… if we don’t agree with you…
For the love of God, Mr. President, do not tell Congress to ignore us.
They call it the “House of Representatives” for a reason.
It’s not the “House of Decision Makers.”
That means they represent something.
And that something is the American people.
You believe this act of war is necessary.
I get that. I even respect it.
But you’re asking to send our sons and daughters. Our nieces and nephews. Our cousins and friends and brothers and sisters.
You’re asking us to risk the lives of our own families for this.
We should have a voice, Mr. President.
p.s. Believe it or not, I still believe in you. I just worry that you’ve lost your way.