Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2

Tonight I actually said the words, "No, I can't go out, I have to work on my blog." OK, this is going to be a bigger commitment than I anticipated. Also, I got around to buying stamps which are surprisingly expensive. At first I thought that I would send e-mails, but ultimately decided on letters because it seemed more "authentic" (Whatever the F that means) and more egalitarian. But this is false! Stamps are expensive! Oh well... Also, my handwriting looks like an angry 3rd grader's.

Today's Letter:

Dear Mr. President,

Today I started Dreams From My Father. I was struck by the poetry of your writing style. As a bookstore employee, I may not be the most discerning reader, but I certainly read enough to appreciate the rare quality of your words. I am not as picky about what I read as I am about food, for instance, as a trashy sci-fi novel every now and then probably won't rot my brain as effectively as high-fructose corn syrup, but I find myself more often drawn to fiction, as it is usually more beautiful prose than nonfiction. Your book seems to be proving me wrong in this assumption. Thank you for that.

I watched your address from Saturday online. ran it under the headline, "Obama promises justice for Christmas terror plotters," which I found rather off-putting. It brought to mind the false "War on Christmas" that O'Reily and his ilk are so fond of using to divide Christian and non-Christian Americans. I was happy to see that this was not a phrase you used in your speech. After listening to you, I read up on Yemen a bit, as it is not a country I'm comfortably informed about. In reading about the 2004 civil war and 2009 escalation of the insurgency, I felt ashamed that this was completely new information for me.

I think you did a good job of reminding us who the enemy is, however, I feel like this speech also spent too much time focusing on the offensive tactics we were taking militarily and through the intelligence agencies. Yes, there is a childish part of all of us that wants to hear words like "punish" and "justice", but you mentioned the poverty many Yemeni people suffer as well, without expanding upon that idea or even drawing the connection between people suffering and militant groups like Al-Qaeda. That's an important point- a truth that is difficult to admit and impossible to impart to those that will not hear it, but it is essential to understanding the type warfare we ought to engage in.

I guess my point is that, maybe we as Americans should also resolve to learn something about Yemen in 2010?

Anyway, Mr. President, good speech. Not your best, but it got the job done. Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our country safe, and may that job get easier in the coming year.

Respectfully yours,


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