Yes we (still) can.

24 08 2009

Dear President Barack Hussein Obama,

Every morning before I leave for work, and every evening when I return from work I look at the dry-erase board on the back of my apartment door and I re-read your “Yes We Can” speech.  It drives my wife, Johanna, crazy because she has been asking me for nearly 10 months to erase it so that we can free up the board for love notes to each other.
We are obnoxious like that.  I am sure that you and Michelle are kind of like that as well.

Barack and Michelle sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

Barack and Michelle sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

I’m telling you this so that you can understand its very real, not just sentimental, value in my life.  Every day, when I come home from working longer than I should have at my job at a non-profit in New York City … every single day when I worry about whether the agency is going to have to shut any of our clinics, or reduce our counseling services or if I’m going to still have my job and my healthcare at the end of the week – I look at your speech and I am confident that I am headed in the right direction.

I’m telling you this so that when I tell you that it took me seven tries before I finally succeeded in crafting a post about your win you will understand that much like Michelle, for the first time in my adult life, I finally felt proud.  Finally felt American.
I meant it when I wrote:

I know that there are good policy reasons and feel-good historic reasons for feeling jubilant about President-Elect Barack Obama but when I see him, I see the Daddy that I should have had. The Daddy that a lot of little girls and little boys (and not so little girls and not so little boys) should have had.
When I see Barack Obama with his daughters I see everything that I lost when I was ten. I see how my father should have filled the space in. I see a man who doesn’t believe in giving up, who smiles like a warm embrace and who calls his daughters every chance he gets. I see someone who would not abandon his responsibilities, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and now the United States of America.

I still mean it.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to clarify what I mean by your responsibilities to the our United States of America.
You are responsible for the 50 million uninsured in America.
You are responsible for the 25 million underinsured in America.  (As of 2008)
You are responsible for my fellow citizens who are being bullied and intimidated and dissuaded and told that they are Nazis or Socialists; who are receiving death threats; who are being shouted down and threatened in their towns.  You are responsible for providing them with a clear message about what is going on with our desire for health care reform.
You are responsible for affecting real health care reform.
Real health care reform includes at least a public option.

You are responsible for honoring my vote.  When I voted for Michelle, I voted for a public option.

Let me also clarify what I do not mean by your responsibilities.
You are not responsible for the “legality” of any of the uninsured.
You are not responsible for the people who seek to exploit the fear and hatred of scared and manipulated people.
You are not responsible for spending your hard-won political capital at the counters of the Republican Party.  No matter how long you sit there, they do not intend to serve you.  They intend to do all that they can to humiliate you and harm America.
You are not responsible for sacrificing real health care reform on the altar of bipartisanship.

But in case that wasn’t clear enough, here’s a quote that will clear it all up from someone we both hold in high esteem.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.



The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500




11 responses

24 08 2009

Well Said.

25 08 2009
Baby Power Dyke

Thank you, Doret.

25 08 2009
Jen :)

Wow … this was really, really, REALLY good … bravo! 🙂

25 08 2009
Baby Power Dyke

@ Jen

Thank you so much!

25 08 2009
Justine Larbalestier


I’m Australian and grew up with socialised medicine. I just do not understand what the problem is in the US and why so many people are so insane about something I have taken for granted ever day of my life. It’s just bizarre.

25 08 2009
Baby Power Dyke

@ Justine

I don’t get it either. I think that some people get really caught up on the rhetoric. To some, if it’s not capitalist it has no place in America. Nevermind that capitalism is crushing some of the people who have the greatest need. Nevermind that what is being “debated” with regards to HCR is a far cry from full out socialised health care.

25 08 2009


25 08 2009

That was quite wonderful, thank you so much for writing that.

25 08 2009
Baby Power Dyke

@ Martha

Why, thank you!

31 08 2009
Why BS

OK, minor suggestions… “You are not responsible for the people who seek to exploit the fear and hated of scared and manipulated people” –> “You are not responsible for the people who seek to exploit the fear and hatred of scared and manipulative people”

Other than that, it’s perfect! We need more people like you two! 🙂

31 08 2009
Baby Power Dyke

@ Why BS
Well spotted!

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