Dear President Obama,
This is not a letter I wanted to write as, like many, I have a lot on my plate. However, after hearing your recent Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, I am convinced that, in addition to all that the underclass of this country is expected to give, like our labor for your corporate giants, like our taxes for your war profiteers, like our bodies and minds for your dilapidated forms of health care and education, all of which goes toward the comfort of those at the top, that now we must add to our lists of tasks the moral leadership of this country, and set an example for the world of how a rich country ought to use wealth, not as a means of protection but as a tool for the universal uplifting of one’s fellow man. This sir, is an ideal, one of many ideals that you dismissed rather casually while accepting a prize for which you made clear you were not eligible for.
The surprise I felt when you did what was unnecessary to do, when you could have avoided a deeper discussion of your eligibility, when you could have taken the prize as a symbolic pledge to move toward peace, when instead you chose to lecture on the efficacy of war as a means to peace, when you did that, when you engaged in the most heinous forms of doublespeak, on the same platform where Martin Luther King Jr. once stood, and further, when you went on to dismiss the depth of the power of peace as symbolized by this man, when you disgraced him by pursuing a distinction between ideals and pragmatism, when you did this Mr. President you made very clear that you are in need of an education by those I will argue here are bit closer to the ground of being. As you laid out your argument you did so with an appeal to history, and you used history to make the case that mankind is to be inevitably stricken by the plague of war, and you supported this argument by the claims that progressive rules of warfare would help craft a lasting peace. I saw that the man who stood for so much more during the campaign is a naïve man, one who has read his history with a lust for power. For there is another history taught in the state schools and much unlike the one taught in the Ivy League, this history does not celebrate the victors. No Mr. President, when you made your claims concerning the limitations of peace, it was obvious you had never seriously considered the depth of the class struggle that faced young black men and women in the sixties and this was a conflict that was occurring at home, and yet a great countless number of men and women committed to a peaceful, ideal-driven struggle and overturned an attitude of racial inequality that had hundreds of years of entrenchment, and threatened the entire power structure of our country. And also, as you mentioned Gandhi, you made clear here too that you lack any enthusiasm for peace, because here is a man who was able to take this simple and forceful principle of non-violence and not only defeat the largest empire this world has ever known, but did so with non-violence and gained independence and a legacy of freedom for his entire nation. Sir, when you stood on that podium, you made clear that you are an arrogant man, and as all arrogant men, you have no deep connection to the impoverishment of spirit that makes humility possible. For only those who have fallen in this life, who have occasionally failed, have had to reach out to ideals, to virtues that make no sense, and in practicing them blindly find that this universe is resounding with a divine presence, with a power so vast that we cannot hope to understand it, but if we decide to serve it, we might leave this world with the clear heart that comes from being good, from being uncompromising in our commitment to service. When you made your case that peace was an end, you forgot that it is also the means. But what should we expect, you excel at the American art of politics, which has at its heart a combative character, and no doubt you will continue to fight to uphold the edifice of your ego. And so, it makes sense that you lack the very moral imagination you made a call for, for only in adversity is such a skill developed, an adversity that can, it must be pointed out, be chosen. And therefore, when dealing with a small minority of radical islamists, you make a contradiction that offends the legacy of King and Gandhi, by proclaiming that here is a case where such ideals would be folly, you offend the notion King died for when he began speaking against the militarization of our society. This! This small group of idiotic radicals represent so great a threat to you sir, that you throw away the greatest legacy of human history, that of radical non-violence, the courage to lay down before persecution, imprisonment, even death for the good, for the ideals that make life worth living, and you do this, you throw all this out explicitly, making a case for it. When you do this, you offend your own religion, and worse, you bring about a magnification of the very antagonism that feeds extremism.
Mr. President, when we elected you we were aware of your situation. We were aware that certain realities would have to be engaged with concerning war, and so we expected that as a result of that burden you might find the courage to do one of two things, to respectfully decline the Peace Prize in order to uphold its meaning or rather, at least speak deferentially toward those more deserving and acknowledge the political nature of the award. We certainly did not expect you to use that stage to argue for the necessity of war! As we watch politics go on as usual with your administration, and we as Americans realize that Obama is simply another corporation, asking for money and delivering nothing but frustration in return, we are forced to come together as a class, as a group of global citizens who understand that power, so concentrated as it is, has a corrupting nature, and because of this we must toss aside our already crumbling dreams and do what is right for future generations and work to resist the ongoing dominance of isolated wealth, which strips men and women of everything decent, and threatens our very safety as a species.
I knew there was a great danger when you were elected Mr. President. I knew that you had so raised the hopes and dreams of your country, that a broken heart of that magnitude would be devastating. I have cast aside any remaining hope in you Mr. President, for a man who disgraces Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi the way that you did is not able to do what is most needed right now, which is to stand up for the kind of principles that represent the only hope of a sustainable future. If by some miracle, you are able to recapture the support and love of your citizens, if by some twist of fate things get better and you benefit by association, then I will be happy for them, the same way I would if some man who spurned my daughter had a change of character and made her happy all the remaining days of her life. I will be happy that this miracle took place but it will only be for those who were spurned in the first place, for they are the one’s carrying ALL the burden of this relationship, and I will never forget this again.