Dear Mr. President,
In my life, I've been helped a long by a number of friends, given opportunities, supported and mentored to achieve many of the things I have. I've also had to make some difficult decisions, to learn to rely on my own instincts. It's ironic that some of the people who have tried the hardest to shape my life have also often avised me to stand up for myself, to stop allowing people to walk all over me. After 24 years, I still haven't found a balance. I often acquiesce when I know I ought to stand firm; or obstinately refuse to compromise, even when I should know better. Today I had to act on instinct, to make a major life decision based on little more than faith in my own instincts. It will likely cost me the support of a number of people I respect and care for, but, when it comes down to it, I have to trust my intuition.
What is it about life as the lowest rung in a huge corporation that seems to lend itself so easily to comparison with my relationship to the powers that govern this country? I felt just as powerless under Howard Schultz as I did under President Bush, or even your own administration. At work, this is understandable; my relative significance to Mr. Schultz could not be smaller. And, ironically, while I represented the face of his company to the public I served, I had little role in making any decisions about the company (and was paid very little.) In America, while my vote may count as much as Mr. Schultz's, his ability to buy access to the people in power, to control the destinies of enough voters to matter more to any politician than nameless, inconsequential me, my own influence is dwarfed by comparison. I'm going to go out on a limb and suppose that, were he to write you a letter, Mr. President, he'd get more than a form response.
Was it irresponsible of me to leave my job today? I'm not sure. I don't think I'll ever feel good about the way I had to make this choice. Will I gain more significance working for an independent store, or by writing you 365 letters? Almost certainly not. But I will wield a greater amount of control over my own daily life and destiny. In a world divided by those who have power and those who will live without ever glimpsing it, I suppose this is all I can ask for.