Dear Mr. President,
We've never met, sir. And probably never will. It doesn't matter if we meet. I'm no one important. A wife, a mother, an aspiring writer, basketball fan & old movie buff (among other things.) We have little in common although we do share one thing in common, we both picked UNC to win the Men's NCAA Basketball Championship.
But right now, I'm tired, Mr. President. So very tired. It's after 3:00 in the morning and I can't sleep. It will be worse in the morning when my toddler wants to get up at 7:00am. But I'll manage. I always do. I just can't get rid of sick feeling in my stomach from the questions floating in my head.
I love my country, Mr. President. I've lived outside of these borders and I can say without a doubt that I love my country. I love the quirky things that make America what it is. From summer barbecues with hot dogs & watermelon to Gershwin tunes to Tar Heel Basketball (especially in March.) I love that there are people who can't stand any of those things. It's wonderful to be part of a culture and a society where people are allowed to have and express their own opinions about everything, from Hot Dogs to Movies to Politics.
So why Mr. President, am I told I'm basically a terrorist if I express an opinion contrary to the one you have expressed? Why am I asked to visit your website and tell on my friends if they express contrary opinions? Doesn't that go against part of what makes this such a beautiful country? We can respect one another even if we don't agree. And to know that we live in a place where we can express those differences without fear of being punished. I don't think there's been a single president in the history of this country and certainly not since I've been a voting age adult that I agreed with 100% of the time. But I always felt free to express my displeasure or frustration before, because that's what freedom of speech is all about.
Now I am labeled a closed-minded idiot if I think my respresentatives in the government should read bills before signing them? Growing up we're taught by parents, teachers, advisors and friends not to sign so much as a class schedule without reading it through first. You can't donate blood without acknowledging you've read all of the documentation. Responsible people don't sign any kind of legal agreement without reading it first. So why are the people who make our laws, allowed to change them without reading the fine print? Why is there such a rush to pass these bills, that we can't allow our representatives even a few days to read through them first?
Which is another reason I'm awake sir, I see so much money being spent. Programs which are supposed to be getting us out of a recession. But where is that money coming from? Who's paying for all of this? Is my beautiful baby boy going to have to shoulder the burden of a debt that he had no part in creating? If so, I don't want any part of it. I'm willing to work hard and tighten my belt to weather the financial storm. I'll do what I have to do, but why should this become my son's burden? How are our children supposed to ever repay a 9 Trillion dollar debt? What kind of future can they possible have? How will they ever come out from under it?
Mr. President, I know that you want to help people. Your whole campaign was based on bringing hope of a new era to all people. And I appreciate that. We all need help now and then. But how does trying to push through a health care system, which tells me when, where, how and if I can get health care helping me? Don't think I'm not concerned. Obviously there are flaws in the current health care system. I myself have been through several periods of not having health insurance in my life. Believe me, only a couple of years ago when a simple case of flu ended up costing me more than $900 between Dr. visits and medications, I was wishing there were a different way. But it was my illness and my body, so I found a way to pay for it. I don't expect anyone else to pay for my food or clothing or shelter. Why should I expect someone else to pay for my health care? It's my body, it's my responsibility and my choice to take care of it. So why is your health care bill trying to take those decisions away from me? (Under the provisions in your bill I would have been denied the foot surgery I recently had, despite the daily pain I lived with.) Am I just so dumb that I don't recognize what's going on with my body and when I need to seek medical care?
There are so many questions Mr. Presidents. Questions I don't know how to ask. But it's after 4 & I should try and go to sleep. My son will be getting up soon. He's very much a morning person.
It is for him that I'm most concerned. I don't want much for myself. Just the basic freedoms that I've always enjoyed. The freedom to work hard to earn my pay. To spend that pay however I see fit. To worship when, where and how I see fit. To visit a Dr. of my choice when I'm not well. To go to a grocery store and buy the food I not only need, but want to prepare. To enjoy a basketball game, an old movie and a poignant book (with a side of dark chocolate of course.) The freedom to travel this country and to experience our rich history and quirky character.
But for my child I worry. Will he have those same experiences? Will he be able to choose a career that (should he work hard) will be lucrative enough so that he can provide for himself and perhaps someday a family? Will he be able to read the books I've read that provoke thought and conversation? Will he be allowed to worship in the way he may choose? Will he be able to go to a Dr. of his choice when he feels ill? Will he grow up knowing that he can have an opinion that is different from his friend or neighbor or leader? Will he be able to express that opinion? Or will he live in a society where he fears retribution if he dares to express a contrary opinion? Will he be told when and if he's able to see a Dr.? Will he spend his entire life trying to work off a debt that was in no way his doing?
You've made a lot of promises Mr. Obama. Please, please, please, if you promise nothing else, please make one promise that you can keep. Promise me that my child will enjoy the same freedoms many of us have so long taken for granted.
Perhaps then I can get some sleep.