Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 289- A bit late

Dear Mr. President,

It's much later than I usually post my letter to you. Since it won't, at all, affect the time you receive the letter, I'm sure this will go unnoticed. I like to think my excuse- I was playing my oft-repeated role as Designated Driver for a few friends who'd had way too much to drink- is worthy enough that those who do read this online won't judge me for missing midnight by several hours. I spent the evening around people I care about, people I respect, people who have achieved the kind of goals in life I'm supposed to be setting for myself- graduate degrees, successful careers, marriage, family- and found very little to make me want any of it. Through it all I felt incredibly out of place, unable to relate to the things that make them happy or even the things they find important. By the end of the night, as I was attempting to herd drunk friend into safe modes of transportation and get them home, I'd been thinking a lot about the midterms.

I started the night out with a clear agenda, an ambitious idea of how the night would go and what was important to me. l was quickly forced to compromise. The conflicting agendas of others, the logistical complications, the whole evening began to feel a lot like I've always imagined negotiating a piece of legislation through congress would feel. By the time I was struggling with drunk friends to keep them safe and get them home, I felt like I was fighting the forces of gravity just to hold my sanity together. Forget about my agenda; it had been lost for hours. Not to belittle the complexity of your current political situation, by comparing to to a bunch of drunk kids at a bar, or anything. You're a big fan of the responsible-driver vs. the republicans metaphor, and tonight i regretted ever cynically complaining about how overused that particular fable has become in your stump speech. The whole country handed you the keys and said they were just going to have a couple beers. You look around now and every one is screaming about marxism and your birth certificate and Obamacare and you have to wonder why you agreed to stay sober in the first place. No one will listen to you, or take your advice, or let you just fix things the way you want to. Even when inebriated, we Americans tend to be pretty protective of the idea of our own superior judgement as individuals.

I don't imagine that I've done anything more tonight than found a small my-life-sized analogy to the massive problems and struggles you face. But I think you're making the right call. Because, for a moment, I leaned back against my friend's car to appreciate the stars, and thought about the absurdity of it all. I almost laughed, because the night had already gotten so far away from funny that there was nothing else to do. I don't know if it helped me at all, but I can say that at least no one got hurt, and at least every one got to a safe place to sleep. You may have had the most tedious night of your life and be surrounded on all sides by fellow Democrats stumbling and senseless with the fear of the whims of a capricious public, but you're still criss-crossing the campaign trail, making your case, recognizing that even if you can't keep your agenda you can at least get every one home in one piece.

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Tonight, I am immensely grateful that it's you and not me.

Respectfully yours,


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