Dear President Elect,
Imagine Pat a friend, a white woman and lives next door. She is in her late fifties and voted for McCain. Pat is not a raciest but she is afraid of million things. She works hard, earns a decent living -under hundred thousand dollars- and thinks your administration will eventually impose higher taxes, and distribute her money on people that are not willing to help themselves. She is afraid that your young age is a sign of inexperience, which will weaken America, and invite terrorists from the Middle East. She believes that your life story is so different than typical Americans in large and small towns, that it will be impossible for you to understand and address the challenges facing the country. Pat is also afraid that America is not ready for a black president even if the anger and/or the euphoria hands you the keys to the White House. She is convinced that many bigots still live in the closet and electing you will ignite racial unrest.
Imagine Kevin the seventy-two years old African American man. I met him the first time as I volunteered to register new voters. Kevin registered reluctantly after telling me that he will vote for the first time in his life that he knows he will be disappointed because America will never elect a black man for a president regardless of the man’s qualifications and talent. Kevin sat next to me on the election night with his big eyes hanging on the large screen for every single change in the count. He didn’t jump up and down like the rest of us every time one more state turned blue, or the number of the electorate votes went up in your column. When the anchor announced you as the president elect, Kevin cried so passionately, his whole body shook for a very long time. It was as if he wanted once and for all to wash all the bad memories that haunted him throughout his seventy-two years. Kevin cleansed himself, and by time you came up to deliver your acceptance speech, he stood up, and gave me a big hug.
Imagine Mona the twenty years old Moslem American. She will graduate next year with a major in international affairs and minor in law. She disagrees with the Iraq war, the dreadful Guantanamo Bay detention policies and practices, the intrusive Patriot Act, the unilateral approach of the American foreign policy over the last eight years, and the lack of will in Washington to help find a humanitarian solution for the Palestinian plight. Mona told me that she thinks very little can change in American policies because special interests control the system, but she is willing to give you a chance.
Imagine Tim and Lisa who never contributed to political campaigns before they sent you a hundred dollars. It was a huge decision that took days to make. They understood that their little single family house with its immaculate front yard might not survive until your inauguration. It was no fault of their own, they didn’t buy more house than they could afford, or refused to work. But Lisa lost her job eight month ago as administrative assistant, after the small company she worked for closed doors. Despite all attempts she couldn’t land another job. Tim lost his programming job last month, after his company decided it will be more profitable to do the work in Bangalore India. They are not sure what you can do to help, but they both know they need a lot of it.
Imagine the millions of jubilant faces dancing in the dusty streets of Nairobi, Mexico City, Mumbai, and chanting in the beautifully manicured squares of London, Sydney and Tokyo. For them you embody the cool possibility of an African name, with a white life story, a Christian faith, with appreciation of real Islam teachings. They danced and chanted for a world they believe you represent.
We elected you. We understand that it will not be easy.
But now, it is your turn to prove to Pat that the world can be a safer place, to Kevin that his sacrifices of seventy-two years are not in vain, to Mona that the resolve of the people are stronger than all the special interests in the world, and to Tim and Lisa that they can earn a decent living, and raise a family in their homeland.
It will take a lot of imagination and hard work. You can count on us. We know we can!