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Saturday, October 21, 2017

An Open Letter to President Obama

Credit: E.J. Dionne JR
Obama addresses a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Dear Mr. President, I know you have the insight to recognize that the issue around the behavior of law enforcement officers is not the nation's problem, but rather the symptom of the problem.

Dear Mr. President,

I would like to thank you for your great service the last seven years and for your “principles not personalities” political style. I can only imagine how hard it must be to stay true to your ideals when so many openly oppose and insult you. You have overcome so much and made important strides in the name of equality in our great country; you have made it something closer to the type of democracy it aspires to become and that our forefathers said they wanted it to be. In my opinion, you are similar to Lincoln. The reason I choose Lincoln is not because he is from Illinois or because he brought us one step closer to equal rights for black Americans, but because he did that while working with a greatly divided nation during violent and uncertain times; this is what you share with Lincoln’s legacy. Like Lincoln, I believe the history books of tomorrow will treat you better than the present is treating you. I pray for you and I ask that you continue to find the courage and compassion that has brought you this far.

I know you have the insight to recognize that the issue around the behavior of law enforcement officers is not the nation’s problem, but rather the symptom of the problem. If we had a truly equal judicial system that worked for all of the citizens the police would not shoot and strangle to death unarmed citizens on the streets with such impunity and disregard for who is watching. The reason police behave this way is because even if their actions are videotaped they will not have accountability in the courts. In fact, the recent Eric Gardner case only indicted the individual who videotaped the murder and posted it online. Your solution to have police “retrained” is an attempt to address the symptom but it will not address the problem. Insensitive officers, racist officers, jaded officers cannot be “retrained” but the courts can make them accountable for their actions. Such people can be prosecuted, fired, removed from power. Citizens can and should be protected by the government; but for too long, too many of us have needed to be protected from the government. Please, Mr. President, dig deeper into your toolbox to address this imbalance and federally enforce liberty and justice for all.

You are like Lincoln because of what you have tried to do for gay Americans and immigrants and for black Americans and for the international community. I leave you with this quote from our country’s greatest forefather, “Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage for all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.”

Respectfully,

John Robertson



About the Writer

john robertson is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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