An Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama

Good day, sir, and congratulations. You must be exhausted. I know I am and I have not been running for high government office for the last two years. You have made a tremendous personal accomplishment, and it is one that has captured the imagination of a generation. I feel what others who watched Dr. King give his “I Have a Dream” speech must have felt. I realize that I am witnessing this comet—a shooting star, as it were—and I understand that this is a once in a lifetime gift God has given to us, and we are all blessed to be alive and see it together.

Honestly, I must confess you were not my first pick for Commander in Chief. In the beginning, I actually didn’t have one. The Clintons had brand recognition so I was leaning their way. I thought Senator Clinton was capable and I was comforted with knowing she would be a competent commander. I thought Senator Edwards had a pristine ideology on poverty in America, and I still think his ideas are worthy of much respect. I had known you somewhat—we met many years ago while you were organizing communities across Chicago—and I found you to be knowledgeable and invested in your work, which was refreshing. So I reserved my pick and thought your candidacy was more of a token run at best. You were not as clear on the issues as I wanted you to be. I knew you were against the war and for winning. Other than that, the message early on was hazy at best. Then the strangest thing happened: you started to define yourself and you attached great political thought to an amazing human narrative. You humanized yourself while offering all Americans the hope of change that we had been desperately deprived of for some time. You took ownership of your story and you made all Americans a part of it. That was genius. Even with that, I was still reserved and did not want to seem overexcited about what I sensed was happening. Then Iowa happened and I was on board. I saw something in your eyes that night. I saw that you believed that this was really happening. I saw how you bought into the idea that the very Creator of all things we see and don’t see had called you to serve in this way. I saw that you were on fire, but you were not consumed. I saw in you that nebulous, indiscript thing that all leaders must have if they are going to be effective at wielding power with integrity, mercy and justice. I saw that you had embraced your destiny and that destiny had embraced you back. Time and destiny had met and it was absolutely beautiful to watch. Someone once said, “We are all stars that shine by the reflection others give”. We are all enhanced and brightened by your light.

I saw you the evening of the election and thought to myself, “What a tremendous burden he will have”. I was watching a movie about King David and in one scene Samuel the Prophet tells David, “God will be with you, but God makes it hard to be King”. Yours, sir, will be the most scrutinized presidency ever and subjected to tremendous and sometimes unreasonable expectations. And yet, what I sense in you millions of others do, too—actually, 63 million others. That’s good work Mr. President-Elect!!!! Leadership is a lonely enterprise and helping people is not always easy. Yet all of us who aspire to give our whole lives in service to humanity understand that it is our duty, and that our lives are what we give in exchange for being allowed to breathe and hope. You, sir, have put your hand to the arch of history and bent it towards a new and exciting day. Thank you for allowing us to watch.

In Faith,

Pastor Patrick


~ by pastorpatrickonline on November 6, 2008.

One Response to “An Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama”

  1. Wow. I really love that open letter to President Elect Barack Obama. I to really am proud but very nervous as I know all eyes are on him and some of those eye are just watcing and waiting for him to fail, but I also feel he has been called. He is the right person ,for that position ,at this time.

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