Dear President Obama: You Have A Choice

by Susan Stark

This is a sincere and heartfelt open letter to you, Mr. Obama. A letter addressed to a man who is quite obviously a deep thinker, and with an incredibly focused and disciplined will. And someone who I wouldn’t bother with if I didn’t think that he had the ability to change things for the better and save an entire country.

Since you won the election on November 4th, there have many people in the media and otherwise, telling you what to do in your first weeks of office. I could tell you what to do as well, like any other of the millions of bloggers and columnists and other media figures in the world, but would it do me any good?

In Buddhism, there is a teaching that the mind is the greatest of inhibitors to enlightenment, mainly because of the illusions and deceptions that the mind allows itself to entertain. I am certainly no Buddhist master, but I can certainly see the wisdom in that.

Being that I’m not in your physical presence on a regular basis, I can only base my evaluation of you by your actions (and really, is there no better barometer to judge a person?). And based upon your actions so far, I can conclude that you are under the snare of an incredibly powerful illusion. And that is:

You believe that this country, the United States of America, can continue as it has been; that it can continue along the course it has been taking. That it can take and take and take, without giving anything in return. That it can ignore the ordinary people of the world as if they were so much rubbish–that they are just pawns on a chessboard. That is a delusion. A deception. An illusion. And I think that somewhere along the line, the young community activist that still exists in you knows that I’m right.

And since that idealistic community organizer still exists in you, the one that truly wants to make difference, I am going to give you my own advice, and it is not the advice those talking heads and blow-hards on cable TV, and those financially failing newspapers, are giving you.

This is what you need to realize:

NUMBER ONE.

Imperialism Is Dead. The days when this country could do anything it wanted to do, when it wanted to do it, are OVER WITH. Finished. Caput. Dead. We can’t afford it anymore. We are in debt up to our hairline. You need to realize this before you realize anything else. We are not an Empire any more. We have lost Latin America. We have lost Russia. And we never had China to begin with. And we are losing Africa to China. And what’s more, we’ve lost the Middle East, even though it doesn’t look like it. We’ve lost it, and we need to withdraw our troops from the area. It costs more money to maintain troops over there than the value of the oil in the ground that we’re “protecting”. The United States can still be a force in the world, but not as an Empire. It’s over with, Mr. Obama, and that’s that. All of this means that we need stop pretending that Hugo Chavez is our enemy, and that we need to stop the proxy oil wars with Russia and China. Which leads me to

NUMBER TWO.

We need to wean ourselves off of oil and gas, as much as humanly possible. That means trains. We have millions of miles of train tracks that are not currently being used as passenger transport. They need to be turned over to that use. We need buses. We need trains. We need hybrid vehicles. We need trains. We need hydrogen fuel. We need trains. We need solar and electric. We need trains. And we can get people back to work again setting up these post-petroleum infrastructures.

NUMBER THREE.

You have emphasized jobs in rebuilding infrastructure. I agree. But that is not enough to get this country back into shape again. We need to start MAKING THINGS AGAIN. During the 80’s and 90’s and 00’s, there was massive job loss in the manufacturing sector, because companies could take their factories elsewhere for cheaper labor. This trend must be reversed, or we will not recover economically. And, we must hire US Citizens in this endeavor; they cannot be foreigners on work visas (no more cheating on this, Mr. Obama). And any factory owner who shuts down his or her plant from now on will have their property confiscated and the workers put back to work in the same plant. No more layoffs in manufacturing. And, we need not go back to the days when manufacturing was a big, polluting mess. We can provide incentives for environmental controls. And there’s nothing like building train cars, buses, hybrid vehicles, solar panels, and more recycling plants to get this country moving in the right direction. Lastly, we can also set up cottage industries like soap-making and pottery, etc.

So what are you going to do, President Obama? If you refuse to take my advice, then the ordinary people of the country might decide to take matters into their own hands and do what needs to be done themselves. The choice is yours.

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31 Responses to “Dear President Obama: You Have A Choice”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    It’s remarkable how many people are writing proposals and manifestos “to Obama” as if he has solicited them, as if he is their agent in Washington now.

    He’s just another Democratic politician.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    It’s remarkable how many people are writing proposals and manifestos “to Obama” as if he has solicited them, as if he is their agent in Washington now.

    He’s just another Democratic politician.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The “Atlantic Monthly” said similar stuff back in 2005, looking at a post-Bush America. I think they wanted the US to invest heavily in nanotechnology to build a new industrial base…we need to free ourselves from the TINA, Chicago Business School view of the world and come back to economic sanity. BTW, I would not only shut down “Camp X-ray” in Gitmo, I would give the base to Cuba after stripping all the war material out of it.

    – Strelnikov

  4. Susan Stark Says:

    Unfortunately, you’re right. But I have a right to write a letter to him. I’m a citizen, and he’s my President.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Susan Start didn’t write an open letter to President Obama. She wrote a “I need attention” letter. Ok, Susan, we’re listeninzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………..

  6. susan sucks ha ha ha Says:

    The “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” comment is another one of those no-point-except-to-abuse-the-site posts.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    What the world needs know, aside from love sweet love, is less “economic” advice from Jewish converts to Buddhism, and more bona fide, outspoken Rabbis.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah, but you know what’s awesome? On THIS site at least, dissenting opinions, even moronic ones, are allowed to be heard.

    I like that. I’d rather wade through dozens of anonymous trolls than feel like discourse was hand-picked to suit a certain ideology, even if that ideology does jibe with my own.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Mz. Stark can spin every which way. Her lectures are boring beyond belief. The zzzzzz indicates sleep that comes when a reader is truly trying to read and listen, but it just…can’t…be….done.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    What started out as pretty good ideas just denigrated at the end with an ultimatum. Do you seriously think Americans will rise up when they risk the very real possibility of missing American Idol?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    NUMBER 2: We’ve got trains and track…what we don’t have is dedicated passenger lines (except on the northeast corridor). Right now, freight traffic has the right of way on the shared lines–good for “goods”, bad for passengers. Trips that should take 3-4 hrs often take a lot longer due to the freight schedule.

    Solution: We need dedicated high-speed passenger infrastructure connecting major metropolitan areas, or a way to prioritize some passenger traffic, or an overhaul of the current infrastructure to allow high speed freight AND passenger travel.

    I’ve traveled by rail, and the experience is so much more comfortable and relaxing than driving or flying (airlines could take a few lessons in this area).
    Make it worth my while to hop a train for a vacation instead of using the royal-pain-in-the-ass airlines. It is also a win-win, because it puts more metro areas within reach for easy travel.

    Now, let’s see if anyone has the vision to see this through.

    Troop 813 Eagle

  12. Susan Stark Says:

    Troop Eagle,

    Thanks for your input.

    Actually, since 9/11, train travel has increased because of the pain-in-the-ass airlines. It’s now up to a two to three hour wait before boarding the plane. Here are two maps, one showing passenger rails, and the other showing totals railroads.

    http://www.trainweb.com/maps/amtrak.html

    http://www.mapsofworld.com/usa/usa-rail-map.html

  13. Susan Stark Says:

    Troop Eagle,

    Thanks for your input.

    Actually, since 9/11, train travel has increased because of the pain-in-the-ass airlines. It’s now up to a two to three hour wait before boarding the plane. Here are two maps, one showing passenger rails, and the other showing totals railroads.

    http://www.trainweb.com/maps/amtrak.html

    http://www.mapsofworld.com/usa/usa-rail-map.html

  14. Susan Stark Says:

    To Anonymous 1:23,

    If things don’t start changing for the better, eventually it will get to the point where people don’t care about American Idol anymore.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    To Susan:

    I pray that day comes.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    To Susan:

    I pray that day comes.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    > I'd rather wade through dozens of anonymous trolls

    No, really, you wouldn't. You would be long gone and would not bother to read these comments at all if the moderators let that much crap through.

  18. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Hallelujah! Testify Sister Susan!

    I agree 110 percent with your column.

    Unfortunately, nothing you propose will be put into action. Americans have no attention span, no capacity for thinking things through logically, no ability to learn from history as their recall doesn’t extend beyond the previous week’s episode of “American Idol.”

    This is why I’m looking at rural land, stocking up on a year’s worth of provisions and medicine as well as guns and ammo.

    We’re going the way of the old Soviet Union and I’m going into survival mode.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Number Two:

    We need more nuclear power plants to provide the non-fossil-fueled power for all those trains, electric cars, etc. Or we can continue to pretend that someday solar and wind generation will make up the difference.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Number Two:

    We need more nuclear power plants to provide the non-fossil-fueled power for all those trains, electric cars, etc. Or we can continue to pretend that someday solar and wind generation will make up the difference.

  21. Susan Stark Says:

    To Anonymous 2:34,

    These were my words: We need to wean ourselves off of oil and gas, as much as humanly possible.

    I said “as much as humanly possible”. We would definitely still need petroleum for transportation, but the amount would be drastically reduced under the alternatives I mentioned.

    And as for nuclear power, I have one word for that:

    Chernobyl.

  22. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Hey Susan,

    Great point about Chernobyl. I spent two months in Ukraine two years ago, almost half of that in Kyiv, which is only 40 miles southwest of Chernobyl.

    Even though Kyiv avoided the worst of that disaster because the prevailing winds blew from the southwest, there are still a lot of people from that city who suffer incredible health problems. My translator still suffers skin problems connected with that disaster 20 years later.

    My landlady actually took a tour of the disaster site. It costs about $300 American. She described mushroom caps the size of dinner plates and fish that normally grow eight to 10 inches reaching two to three feet in length.

    As a visitor, I was warned against buying any used gold, silver or antiques. There’s actually a problem with looters salvaging that stuff and selling it to unsuspecting tourists. I get enough radiation from my TV. I don’t need it on my flatware.

    Lastly, nuclear energy is not as plentiful as those in the industry would have us believe. Supplies of uranium are expected to last about 50 years at the current rate of consumption.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    “And as for nuclear power, I have one word for that:

    Chernobyl.”

    Same boring trite comment by a non-mathematician/nuclear scientists. Trite trite trite. Even though the rest of the world got over it and the whole story behind it is interesting all the liberals still yipe about Chernobyl. You know, there is a nuclear power plant about 50 miles away from DC. If it blows up DC goes with it. Do you think the government thinks for a second it isn’t safe?

    Really people in your mindset are a lost cause. There was 3 mile island yet I hear no one mention that nowadays.

    Whatever, Chernobyl bu hu hu. A freak accident which is literally impossible to be replicated… (Read more about it and find out why. I’ll give you a hint there were 3 and 2 left only 1 remained…)

  24. Anonymous Says:

    “And as for nuclear power, I have one word for that:

    Chernobyl.”

    Same boring trite comment by a non-mathematician/nuclear scientists. Trite trite trite. Even though the rest of the world got over it and the whole story behind it is interesting all the liberals still yipe about Chernobyl. You know, there is a nuclear power plant about 50 miles away from DC. If it blows up DC goes with it. Do you think the government thinks for a second it isn’t safe?

    Really people in your mindset are a lost cause. There was 3 mile island yet I hear no one mention that nowadays.

    Whatever, Chernobyl bu hu hu. A freak accident which is literally impossible to be replicated… (Read more about it and find out why. I’ll give you a hint there were 3 and 2 left only 1 remained…)

  25. Fouad Says:

    I liked how you suggested mass transit rails, numerous time. They have had high speed rails in Europe for a long time, even in Canada and Seattle Washington but not in the rest of our country.

    After reading your views on the Gaza Massacre, on the Russian Georgian war and on this issue I now have a request for you.

    Marry Me!

  26. Susan Stark Says:

    Yes, I remember Three Mile Island, but Chernobyl made that disaster look like a Sunday picnic in comparison. To this day, babies are being born with horrible birth defects. And by the way, that’s two disasters. If there can be two, there can be more than two.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Susan,

    Again, you got it extremely wrong. 3 Mile Island was not a disaster. Last time I checked it didn’t explode. Or else Jimmy Carter would not have been at the inauguration with Obama.

    The extremely lame argument from the left again. You haven’t done your research. Chernobyl will never happen again. Why? The Chernobyl plant was one built out of an outdated prototype. There were three built and two were taken down and new ones built. Chernobyl was on the list when this happened.

    Again, Chernobyl is completely incapable of happening again. But I wouldn’t expect you to know that.

    It’s sad the harm it caused the population but that is absolutely no reason to stifle progress. How many coal miners that helped power your monitor died or will die from the black lung?

    And here comes the lame counterattack. Well thats why we need hydroelectric plants and dams. Is that why European countries are going with them? Or are they going nuclear? The latter is the answer.

    To sum up, you obviously have no clue about what happened at 3 Mile Island. I guarantee you also have no clue of what happened at Chernobyl. And I will bet my legs that you have no d@mn clue how a nuclear power plant works or operates.

    Again there was one, not two. And that one was a complete fluke. I have no doubt you will completely disregard my argument and go with your own touchy feely argument and ignore all scientific knowledge and facts. Yet I bet you wholeheartedly agree with the global warming theory; and you would discredit those who have actual hard data…

  28. Susan Stark Says:

    Anonymous,

    What the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters prove is that if something can go wrong, there is usually a statistical chance that something WILL go wrong.

    And as a very astute poster above just stated, uranium is not a renewable resource. Why invest in something that will be obsolete in just a few decades? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    And please don’t blame me for black lung and mining disasters. These are the fault of the negligence coal companies who refuse to provide minimal standards of safety for their workers.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Susan,

    The very “astute” poster is completely ignorant of what is going on. They actually have found that nuclear waste can be turned back into usable nuclear fuel. The only reason it is not a reality yet is because of people like you and him who waste so much time and money on other resources.

    Black lung and mining disasters are not inherently the companies fault. It’s a dangerous job which even with the most security (which by the way impedes a lot of efficiency) it is still a dangerous job.

    Again you keep calling Three Mile Island a disaster. I am not sure what you mean by disaster when everything worked exactly as it should… In fact preventing a disaster.

    Also it is worthy to note that our current technology is more advanced by leaps and bounds.

    I bet you don’t drive, fly, swim, etc. You must be at home in a bubble scared to go anywhere because statistically you are in more danger walking down the street then being in a nuclear accident.

    It in fact is completely idiotic to use one disaster (which again is impossible to replicate with today’s technology) as an excuse to use a renewable source of energy which we should be using and investing in the technology to make it safer and self-sufficient. Again most advanced countries are using nuclear power as their power source. Why can’t we? Last time I heard France is not in a nuclear fallout…

  30. Angelo Says:

    The US had numerous nuclear meltdowns several hundred times the release of Three Mile Island. They were never reported.

    look up “Santa Suzanna Field Laboratory”

    it is just one of many, I would guess. Afterall, it was kept secret for almost 50 years.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Angelo,

    The reason the USSR was not able to keep Chernobyl a secret was because it was a obvious. In this case, if they managed to cover it up for 50 years then it was not so obvious.

    Unless you believe the idiotic idea that the government can in fact conceal things for very long, then it wasn’t a real issue. The whole idea of the government cover up makes me nearly die of laughter.

    We are talking about things that happened 50 years ago and they were few and far between. Like I have said many a times the technology is far more advanced by leaps and bounds than it was then.

    So quit crying about accidents that happened in the past and let progress move forward.

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