Dear Mr. President,
So this morning my promised renewal of hope and optimism in the face of setbacks has not emerged. It could be that the demands of my school schedule this week have made "morning" a purely sunlight-relative term with little correlation to actual sleep. It could be the lingering questions as ballots are slowly processed in my home state. It could be denial, a malaise delaying the inevitable grief I can't yet allow myself to feel the full force of. I did like your speech today, and I thought you made several important points about the need to fundamentally change parts of our governing system.
I'm sure I won't be the first, last or most important person to say this, but I don't think this election means you should back down. Your agenda shouldn't change, shouldn't be compromised and should not be tempered. (Which is not say that compromise won't eventually be necessary.) Democrats should not give up on comprehensive energy, immigration, campaign finance and tax reform. For one thing, conceding too much at this point will only further weaken our positions once legislative battles really get underway. For another thing, i still think we're right; our policies are better, and our plan for America is the best one. Refusing to compromise our fundamental values is the only way to ensure that losing the house doesn't translate into losing the White House. This isn't to say that we shouldn't work with the Republican leadership, only that we should not be meek about demonstrating our goals and ideals to the American people.
A friend compared the way we feel this morning to the way we feel after a bad breakup. I think his metaphor is an apt one. After a break-up, you may re-examine your choices and your mistakes in the course of a relationship, but you don't change your identity in hopes that you won't get dumped again. Democrats need to work on our communication skills, our self-confidence, our willingness to assert ourselves. We might need to lose 5 lbs and reconsider our highlight strategy. Our wardrobe could probably use an update. But we do not change who we are, fundamentally. The things we believe, the things we value, all of the things that make us different from the opposition, those should not change. In the meantime, if you want to stay in bed and watch soap operas while eating chocolate ice cream in your pajamas for a day or so, well, you do whatever it takes to get through this. I know I will.