Dear Mr. President
I wanted to take a moment aside to write how incredibly grateful I am for your time as President. Listening to the State of the Union this past Tuesday was a truly moving experience, and as I listened to you describe the millions of jobs we’ve earned, the powerful combination of diplomacy and military action, potential trade deals, and political reform – one thing stuck out. The section titled “A Better Politics.” A fellow Hamilton devotee, most of the thoughts in my head lately have been mulling about democracy, and our origins as a country. Why has America evolved into the country it is today? How can we change to something that creates a more equal ground for each of us as citizens, no matter our beliefs? Why is America continually stuck in deadlock? As a young person who studied International Relations and Politics, I have been aware of the problems of gerrymandering, political campaign reform, and citizen engagement. Until today, however, I had not ever really seen political reform as something “critical.” If only for this moment of clarity alone, I want to say thank you.
You may have seen Hamilton twice, Mr. President, while I have only listened to the soundtrack on single-repeat for many uncountable days and nights – but I can’t help but wonder if we both took the same message away from it. America is still the same, great country that it has been since 1776 despite our personal adversaries, our political battles, and even our horrific mistakes in racism and bigotry. The principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been enshrined in our belief systems for two hundred and forty years, but somehow that isn’t enough. We cannot simply lay on our laurels and rest. America is about growth, and it’s about changing for the better; constantly striving and innovating for a brighter tomorrow for our children, our country and our shared planet. We owe it to our origins and the Founding Fathers to continually try to participate in the political process and help change our system into something that we are proud of.
Your presidency has evoked an infinite number of emotions over the past seven years. One particular emotion that sticks out, despite the cacophony, is pride. I have never been happy to be American, or “proud.” It’s simply been a citizenship that I often thought about departing. That has irrevocably changed. I am so intensely proud to be an American and to have seen our political system change and adapt throughout wartime, peacetime and internal strife. I now want to be a part of the political process in a way that I have never wanted to before. In short: Thank you for helping me remember why I love my country.
I didn’t vote for you during your second term and I now regret that. I didn’t think that it was a good idea to be drastic domestically, and I thought that we needed someone else. Back then, I told myself that financial realities were more important than social and structural issues – and that is simply (I admit) not the case. Every issue in our political system has equal weight, and especially political reform plays such a huge role in how we address every other issue. How can we continually allow the American people of every race and religion to be sidelined and sidetracked through “redistricting?” And yet somehow our country continues to grow more politically cynical and distant… it seems to defy belief.
Mr. President, it seems to me that our political system is reaching a kind of crisis point. We can continue on the way we have, plodding on to support putting pork in bills that leeches tax dollars, not regulating Wall Street, and letting people’s voices fall to the side. Or. Or we can address it head-on. Can we have a Constitutional Convention? Could we allow ourselves for one minute to address the necessity of change? Our democracy is built on the voices and the participation of people, but only 41.9% vote. That seems inherently wrong. Who is not being heard?
I do not mean to write a book, (and this was past the word limit in the White House Contact Box anyways) but I hope that despite all the problems, all the continuing issues that plague American politics today – that you know how many Americans are happy with your presidency. I count myself among them. I count myself happier to be more aware of our political system, even if it means it will be harder. I count myself proud American, representing my country abroad and for all of those things (and many more that I will not spend hours writing): Thank you.
Best wishes in the “Do whatever you want” season of your presidency,