January 20, 2009

Two Letters

Dear Mr. Obama,

I had this idea the other night, that I would type up some brilliant, moving, thought-provoking post on my blog and call it An Open Letter To The New President or something smooth like that but, when I actually started typing, I found that I didn't exactly know how to begin or what to say. It's true - me, at a loss for words. Strange.

You have a lot to do so I'll try not to keep you. The bottom line is that I wanted to wish you luck. You're going to be busy and I hope you can handle it. I think you can. In a political landscape peopled by used car salesmen, liars, and ego-maniacs, I have a hunch you're the real deal. Someone to look up to. A role model. I hope I'm right.

I can't imagine wanting to job you've now got. I can't imagine that, during your first hundred days the thought why did I think this was a good idea? won't cross your mind. It's honestly one of the most thankless, hardest jobs on the face of the planet, being the leader of the free world and all. Sure, it comes with an impressive house, a nice fleet of limousines and even a spiffy private jet. But it also comes with pressure that ages men instantly and relentlessly.

You've got unimpressive shoes to fill but soaring expectations. I don't envy you. But please do your best. As an American, I'm scared. As a father and sole income-earner, I'm slightly terrified of the economy, of losing my job, of being able to provide for my kids. I've got a little bit of that helpless feeling all of us felt in the aftermath of 9/11. I think you can make it better.
You have an opportunity. Don't squander it.

My kids are never gong to remember a time when there hadn't been an African American president. They, unlike me, will grow up thinking that this is the rule, not the exception. They will believe this country capable of looking past middle names and skin color. For my part, I will always remember how emotionally invested in your presidency I have become, where I was and how I felt when you won and I will remind my children of it often, where they were when history was made. I'll tell them of the parade, the swearing in, the precedent. Above all, I will tell my children that standing in a city filled with monuments of leaders and great men chiseled from marble and granite - our desire to memorialize them a testament to their fortitude, strength and contribution - that it was you who became a living monument embodying what this country should be far more important than any of those structures made by the hands of men.

Do me a favor. When you make decisions think of your kids. Think of how they'd judge your actions. If they'd be proud of you, if you'd be making the world better for them, if you'd be ensuring they are safer, happier, healthier, smarter, better prepared for a better future, you'll be doing the right thing. That's all we can ask.

Good luck, Mr. Obama.


Dear Outgoing Bush Administration,

Yours In Christ,

Posted by Chris at January 20, 2009 7:24 AM

Awesome! I wish I had something just as eloquent to add. Maybe just a postscript to the second letter: "don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out"?

Posted by: NG at January 20, 2009 7:57 AM

Simply beautiful.
On both counts.

Posted by: fauve at January 20, 2009 7:59 AM


If you have to brave the traffic/mob scene in the city today -- be careful! I'm running home at lunch to watch this historic event.

It's nice to be proud to be an American again.

Posted by: Robyn at January 20, 2009 8:12 AM

Couldn't have said it better myself! (on both accounts!)

Posted by: Lisa at January 20, 2009 8:21 AM

I wonder if you will see your patriotic friend the nudist today waving his american flag.

Posted by: Deirdre at January 20, 2009 8:24 AM

Most eloquently said on both accounts! I have the same exact sentiments for both the old and the new, and I thank you for summing them up nicely.

Good luck, President Obama -- there are plenty of people who will be looking for you to fuck up. However, I'm not sure you could ever fuck things up anywhere near as bad as Dubya has... just sayin'.

Posted by: ironic1 at January 20, 2009 8:30 AM

Ha! As eloquent as the firs twas, I think the second is my favourite ;)

Posted by: Heather at January 20, 2009 8:42 AM

So awesome. I can't imagine that he's not totally overwhelmed already, but how much do I love that yesterday wasn't about schmoozing so much, but he actually volunteered alongside others? He's the real deal. We expect so much from him, but already he's the breath - no, hurricane force wind - of fresh air we've been waiting for.

Posted by: Sam at January 20, 2009 8:43 AM

How many strange women from the internet profess to love you? Because 1) the letter to Obama is awesomely well written and 2) the letter to Bush..made me spit Diet Pepsi all over my screens!

Oh happy day!!

Posted by: Michelle at January 20, 2009 9:04 AM

G W Bush also had...

"It's honestly one of the most thankless, hardest jobs on the face of the planet, being the leader of the free world and all"

Obama has inspired people to hope, to get involved, will he be able to KEEP people involved? Will you and me be able to, after the 1st 100 days still be able to want to do better.

I am disappointed in you Chris, What if Obama reads this? Did you have to include the part about thinking of kids when he makes decisions? Did you have to? How are we ever going to get him to sign into law Midget Hooker Day if he is thinking of his children?

Posted by: William at January 20, 2009 9:06 AM

I'm so freaking glad to have stumbled upon your blog-- once again, this is fantastic. Being just outside the beltway, I feel I should theoretically be more connected with DC, yet for the last 8 years I've wanted to bury my head in the sand in shame... here's to new beginnings!

Posted by: morninglight mama at January 20, 2009 9:07 AM

The juxtaposition of the two letters is awesome. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: Alison at January 20, 2009 9:09 AM

Your first letter made me cry...

I don't I'm an exception (as a Canadian) in that I have also let myself become incredibly invested into this new President. I think part of what fuels this is the hope that if it can happen in the US...it can happen here. I too am happy that my son will grow up thinking that it is *normal* to have a black US president...just typing those words sends shivers down my spine.

At the moment, we are ruled by Dubya-light (Harper)...and for left-leaning people, it's a little depressing....but this...THIS....is good news. Something to celebrate...something that gives me hope.

Posted by: wn at January 20, 2009 9:10 AM

I hope you've ordered your commemorative victory plate and Obama coin (complete with certificate of authenticity) before they're sold out!

Seriously, the best post I've seen. Both letters were perfectly crafted. Thank you for starting my day so well.

Posted by: David at January 20, 2009 9:14 AM

That is the BEST photo.

Posted by: Maria at January 20, 2009 9:16 AM

B-E-A-UTIFUL!!! Very well stated on both counts!

I'm sitting on my couch watching inauguration festivities at the moment and wondering how in the world you are maneuvering around Monkeytown today in light of all of the gagillions of people there today.

Hope your day is filled with wide open streets and no gridlock!

Happy Inauguration Day!


Posted by: zanie at January 20, 2009 9:22 AM

Your letter to President Obama was beautifully crafted but it was your letter to George Bush that made my day.

Posted by: Wack-a-do at January 20, 2009 9:33 AM

How awesome is it that the current Vice President is viewing the inauguration from a wheelchair, presumably from a pulled muscle while packing his office. Must be all those illicit papers and illegal tapes he's got to bury somewhere.

Posted by: Candy at January 20, 2009 9:41 AM

My thoughts exactly.

Posted by: Fraulein N at January 20, 2009 9:45 AM

Having just joined the ranks of the unemployed thanks to being laid off a week ago (just as terrifying as you can imagine in this job market), I couldn't agree with you more on these letters. Obama has a BIG job ahead of him, but I think he's up to the task - he's certainly intelligent enough to know what he doesn't know and seek the counsel of those with more knowledge/experience than he has in those areas before making decisions. That already makes him more successful than Bush. I know the Obama administration (wow, it feels so great to write that) won't be able to fix things overnight, but at least now it feels like we have a fighting chance. Today, I am filled with hope.

I couldn't make it down to D.C. for today (though I was hoping to), but I know where I'll be at noon - parked on my couch watching my president take the oath of office. As Craig Ferguson says (if you're up late enough to enjoy the wacky Scotsman): it's a great day for America!

Posted by: erin at January 20, 2009 10:04 AM

You are so awesome. And you've managed to capture my sentiments toward the Bush administration exactly. Well done!

Posted by: bad penguin at January 20, 2009 10:15 AM

Excellent letters. I can't wait to watch Obama sworn in and begin his historical term. However, I really hope he reads your letter and thinks about what his decisions will mean for his children, and yours, as that is the only way he will make the right decisions for all of us.

Posted by: Krush at January 20, 2009 10:15 AM

Agreed on both points - one made me smile and one just made me laugh my arse off! Thanks!

Posted by: Christina at January 20, 2009 10:16 AM

My sentiments exactly for both letters :)

Posted by: NancyJak at January 20, 2009 10:17 AM

You? Rock!

Your letter to Bush could not have been more perfect.

Posted by: Shelly at January 20, 2009 10:28 AM

Regardless of your personal feelings towards GWB and his administration I believe the office of the President deserves a certain amount of respect from all of us as Americans. This is how I was raised and this is what I teach my children. GWB and his administration may represent alot of things that you disagree with but he also did good for our country. Tell me you are not better off than you were 4 or 8 years ago. Tell me we aren't safer than we were 4-8 years ago. Your photo and signature are offensive and ignorant. As much as I enjoy reading your blog and as intelligent as I know you are, this crossed the line.
I was not a supporter of Obama, obviously, but I stand behind him now and I pray that he hold the office with integrity and is able to do good things for the country.

Posted by: texxla at January 20, 2009 10:32 AM

"When you make decisions think of your kids. Think of how they'd judge your actions. If they'd be proud of you, if you'd be making the world better for them, if you'd be ensuring they are safer, happier, healthier, smarter, better prepared for a better future, you'll be doing the right thing."

That's probably just about the best advice I've ever heard, and it applies to everyone, not just President (in less than two hours) Obama. It should be the new "Golden Rule."

Happy Inauguration Day!

Posted by: Stephanie at January 20, 2009 10:33 AM

I still feel like pinching myself sometimes - it doesn't seem real.

Lovely letters - both of them.

I'm already glued to the t.v. Tonight, we (moveon.org along with the local folks) have our "we did it" party and start planning strategy. What a change from the last two elections.

Posted by: Ann Adams at January 20, 2009 10:39 AM

Awesome...you RULE! ;-) Best darn letter (BOTH of them) I've read as of late! And I am totally there with you on everything!

What an awesome day on so many levels. I'm hoping I can do it justice for Leda when I tell her all about today and all that we did this past year!

Posted by: cyndy at January 20, 2009 10:41 AM

Dear Bush Admin,

What he said.

- Kalisa

Posted by: Kalisa at January 20, 2009 10:57 AM

Yours in Christ? My God!

Posted by: k8 at January 20, 2009 11:35 AM

Can I sign both of them, too?

Posted by: heels at January 20, 2009 11:51 AM

Chris, I don't think that second letter is in the true spirit of this day.

HOWEVER, I am thrilled to see history in the making, I love that our children will grow up knowing that anything is clearly possible. It's awe inspiring to watch the peaceful transition of power, all five living past and present Presidents together to usher in this new era. This is an amazing country.

Posted by: chatty cricket at January 20, 2009 12:38 PM

Rock on man. Well said.

Posted by: metawizard at January 20, 2009 1:21 PM

Gosh, if that wasnt elegant Im scared at what will happen if you try. Both speeches were great - you can add my name to both.

Posted by: That Girl at January 20, 2009 1:39 PM

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Posted by: Hope at January 20, 2009 1:44 PM

Don't know if you saw the open letter President Obama (ooh, how wonderful that sounds, at long last!) wrote to his daughters: http://www.parade.com/export/sites/default/news/2009/01/barack-obama-letter-to-my-daughters.html

Posted by: Karen at January 20, 2009 1:55 PM

I am in love with the second letter. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by: Caleal at January 20, 2009 2:11 PM

Well said; amen and amen.

Love the "yours in Christ" bit. I do that ALL THE TIME.

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at January 20, 2009 2:22 PM

I have already put my two cents out there on this. I respect your right to say what you feel but I quote you when I say "think of the children". Shouldn't we teach them to have a little more respect than that?

Posted by: Jeff A at January 20, 2009 2:26 PM

NICE! I couldn't help but think about what was running through Bush's mind as he sat there in his chair during the speech, daydreaming. I imagine it had something to do with golf or going to Chuck E. Cheese. Either way, I share your sentiments. Well said.

Posted by: matt at January 20, 2009 2:36 PM

Awesome post. So, eloquent and well said. Today's ceremonies brought me to tears. I am so excited and hopeful for this country's future.

Posted by: Sarah at January 20, 2009 2:42 PM

You said it all and very well. I especially loved your use of sign language.

Posted by: Kristy at January 20, 2009 3:02 PM

Brilliant stuff.

Posted by: Katherine at January 20, 2009 3:44 PM

I'm scared too, yet so excited and hopeful at the same time. I can't wait to see where this country will be in a year's time.

Posted by: La Petite Chic at January 20, 2009 3:50 PM

All of it is eloquently said. I know that my husband and I have talked at length about gravity of now. How scared we are for ourselves, for our kids and for our future. My fingers couldn't be crossed any tighter for him.

Posted by: Jen at January 20, 2009 4:50 PM

I would add, "Tell us what we need to do, and help us do it."


Posted by: bhd at January 20, 2009 4:57 PM

Hail to the chief! Buh-bye, thief.

Posted by: Laura Svendlor at January 20, 2009 5:34 PM

Cool. Re: Letter #2: One bird for each term!

Posted by: James Proffitt at January 20, 2009 5:41 PM

I happened to peek down the scroll lane halfway through your moving letter to Obama-
and busted out laughing ;-)
Good for you for standing up and waving the one-finger farewell.
Driving to the beach today listening to the Inaugural Speech on 101.9 I was thankful for a sunny day making sunglasses necessary so I could hide my happy, leaky eyes.

Posted by: Karen at January 20, 2009 6:12 PM

Chris, both of these are phenomenal letters. ;)

Posted by: Issa at January 20, 2009 6:13 PM

That is quite an example you are setting for your children both in basic respect for people and appropriately expressing yourself. I understand your sentiment, but you could at least try to show a modicum of class.

Posted by: Tess at January 20, 2009 7:05 PM

I had to tweet this. But moreover, I think I am going to print it out and frame it and lick it regularly.

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at January 20, 2009 7:33 PM

I agree with both of your letters, Chris. And Tess, I think that given W's legacy, Chris IS showing a modicum of class by using his fingers, and not his ass.

Posted by: Mark at January 20, 2009 7:38 PM

Today as we sat at lunch here in New York watching Bush get into his helicopter and leave the White House for the last time, it was silent.......

Until someone piped up with:

Where are those damn geese when you need them?
Followed by "1, 2, 3, everyone release your doves!"

We New York City Stagehands were certainly not sad to see him go.


Posted by: Dani at January 20, 2009 7:59 PM

Amen to all. Especially the picture.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 20, 2009 8:01 PM

Well said...At least our president can express himself in an intelligent fashion. Thank God for the 1st amendment, you know, the freedom of speech thing. Those who didn't appreciate your second letter, too bad! Cry me a river, build a bridge and get over it.


Posted by: butterfly angel at January 20, 2009 8:19 PM

Awesome - both of them! I really think the second one says it all though.

Posted by: Mandy Lou at January 20, 2009 9:31 PM

Both. Totally. Fucking. Excellent.

'nuf said. :)

Posted by: Debra at January 20, 2009 9:46 PM

As I watched his speech and watched him sworn in today with my two kids, I turned to my 6 yr old and said, "You will remember this moment, this speech, this day, for the rest of your life."

Posted by: Jen at January 20, 2009 10:40 PM

I was just about to sit down and write a letter to Mr. Obama on my blog. I planned most of it as I drove home from work this evening; what I hoped for his administration and good lord could he get cracking on that health insurance plan? I just needed to watch the speech and check my feed reader. I saw your post and realized, hot dang, I don't have to write a letter because Mr. Cactus already did. And he did it eloquently.

Can I just link to you and say "ditto", for both letters? Happy Inauguration Day!

Posted by: Lizzle at January 20, 2009 10:50 PM

OMG that was so awesome! ha! My husband and I are both laughing at your second letter. (I'm also laughing at a blog I just visited that had a button on it saying "Thank You, President Bush"!!!) Thanks for the laugh. And, I loved the way you put this phrase: "emotionally invested in your presidency." We are all, indeed, so emotionally invested in this presidency. More than any other.

Posted by: Haley-O at January 21, 2009 12:00 AM

Beautifully said on both counts.

Posted by: Hazel at January 21, 2009 7:53 AM


Posted by: Jodi at January 21, 2009 12:45 PM

PERFECT. THANK YOU FOR THIS. I could not find the right words. You.DID.

Posted by: kbreints at January 22, 2009 11:33 AM

Awesome - just awesome. We had the interesting experience of being in a foreign country for the inauguration. The love for Obama is being felt worldwide!

Posted by: Sue R at January 22, 2009 2:09 PM

that was the best read of the week (by far).

Posted by: stella at January 22, 2009 9:10 PM

Real mature. Just think of what YOUR children must think to see their daddy making such MATURE gestures towards an out-going President who kept you and your family SAFE for 8 years... Yeah.

Posted by: Maria at January 25, 2009 2:49 PM

I love how you used an obscene gesture in practically the same sentence that you used our lords name... I am sure that our Christ appreciates it.

Posted by: sheena at January 26, 2009 6:38 PM

FreezeM told me you'd written this post and you got mixed reactions. For what it's worth, I love your blog for your honest posts and especially since they reflect you. With each post you give us a peek in your life, your family, your mind, your heart, your sense of humor. The inauguration post would not have been complete without the 2 fingers. (and common people, it's TWO FINGERS!!!) I don't get the big deal here. It's your blog, your opinion, your fingers.

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