Update: President Obama seems to have walked back his courageous words from last night to the tepid centrism he's clearly more comfortable with. *SIGH*
Dear Mr. President,
Thursday night, two friends and I stayed out late to watch the Perseid meteor shower. Though we were not far from the city, a local park provided enough darkness to witness the truly impressive show the stars were putting on that night. It was an unusually chilly August night, and we huddled in blankets and sleeping bags to keep out the cold. At times it looked like the sky was being torn, the meteors were so bright. I've been an amateur astronomy geek my whole life, but I've never seen anything half as amazing as the Perseids.
While lying there, we were discussing your impending visit to Seattle. We'd like to come see you, but we're not exactly in a financial position to afford a plate at Patty Murray's fundraiser. (That being said, I hope your presence draws a considerable crowd. If Murray loses to either of her Republican challengers it will be a sad day indeed for Washington voters and the Senate.) We thought about trying to find a place in the crowd outside to catch even a glimpse of the President we admire and helped elect. Perhaps the light show in the sky contributed to my very small, powerless feeling at that moment. I joked that I should bring one of the form letters the White House has sent me, to see if I could get you to sign it for real. Inside, I wasn't quite so amused at my own insignificance.
It isn't that I think I'm important enough to deserve your attention, Mr. President. It's the helplessness of knowing that so few people like me will ever have any hope of catching your ear, let alone being heard. When I say people like me, I mean the non-wealthy, non-swing-state-voter, non-elderly. That class that isn't middle class enough to make a good all-American photo op. Just a little too far left to be taken seriously. You might tape a message to Netroots Nation, but talking at us and listening to us are worlds apart. There's no power to be gained in taking my generation seriously, I suppose, but we are the next leaders of this country and a significant factor in your re-election.
Shortly after Robert Gibbs' remarks about the professional left, I got an e-mail, (ostensibly from you, but clearly written by an intern,) asking me to commit to vote in 2010. To sign my name to promise that I'll be there. This transparent scramble for reassuring data was probably the most offensive OFA e-mail I've ever received. You want me to commit to supporting your candidates? After your press secretary trashed the ideological left? While your administration acts like we're nothing more than a shrill pest? I'm sorry, Mr. President, but you're going to have to do a lot better than a form e-mail to re-engage your base. I'm not asking for an autograph, a seat at the table, or even a new press secretary; I'm asking for an administration that actually empowers the people it asks to show up on election day. A White House that feels less like watching a barely-comprehensible cosmic event and more like a group of people who have the interests of voters (and not just donors) at heart.
Anyway, Mr. President, maybe it's just been a rough week. I wish there was some way I could show you how much I want to believe in you, and in this country again. I wish there was some way of reaching you at all. Even if it's just as useless as shouting at the sky, I'm going to keep writing, keep blogging, keep pestering you about the things you promised us. If you never respond to a single letter, if you never know I exist at all, that's fine. I just hope you find a way to hear the parts of this country you're ignoring, before you realize they won't be coming out to vote in November.