Dear President Joseph Robinette Biden,
I hope you are well, and ready to celebrate the upcoming holidays with reverence and joy. Lord knows, you have earned a few family days, in fact, I hope you have several moments when you are not worried about all of us. I am looking forward to a few days like that myself. You see, I’m a high school teacher of English, and I know for sure you understand what that entails, in terms of never being too far removed from your work life. My wish for the both of us is to step away for a minute and rejoice in the wonders of the season.
So, why am I writing you? Well, that’s a simple one to answer. I just want to say thank you. I get the feeling you might not hear those two words enough from people. I must admit, they carry great weight; I know this firsthand. Most days I stand at my classroom door as my high schoolers exit, and we exchange niceties as they move on to their next class, like thank you, or have a great day, or for those headed to play in a basketball game or participate in a musical or theatrical or dance rehearsal, granting a best wishes, best of luck, or some such salutation. At the end of my day, I am the one made richer by all the recognition and gratitude I hear back. But perhaps you don’t get such gracious greetings with such ease. So, thank you, for all you do.
What do I want to say beyond that simple phrase of homage? Well, that is a harder question to answer. You see, like many Americans, I am dismayed by the arrogance and pessimism that some of our citizens are displaying. I could, if I chose, give a party-affiliation label to those people, but let’s just call them nihilists for they lack the principles that you and I were raised with, those that rule our conduct. They have shaken off the obligation to support those in need, they have become righteous by their own importance, and they are so fearful about change that they can only look backwards. They think arming their 15 year old sons with a deadly weapon their privilege. They think storming the Capital and killing the police their destiny. They think voting against the rights of all citizens to vote or denying the right to choose (only when it comes to abortion mind you, not vaccinations) their role. By and large these people are filled with animosity and anger and plenty of misinformation. Ironically, many are struggling financially themselves, yet oddly have thrown their fate into a group of wealthy politicians who certainly don’t give one thought about them. Not in any real sense. Not in policy. Somedays it seems that the nothingness of their lives is all that drives them.
But, here you are. Asking Americans to wear a mask. Get vaccinated, if not for themselves, then for the hundreds of thousands of elderly or compromised citizens who are too fragile to survive COVID-19. You ask Americans to give a damn about voting rights. Ask Senators to work together to right our troubles, regardless of political party. Oh boy, you ask a lot. Does anyone remember what caring for someone else feels like? What sacrifice feels like? What our predecessors felt like when they sent their sons to war? Those who oppose you are so far from self-sacrifice that it is hard to see the way back to an US. Yet, here you stand, still asking, with an earnest commitment to us, for Americans to care again.
I want to thank you for thinking about building back our bridges and roads. Safety isn’t always an easy feeling while driving over these 1940’s bridges up here in Vermont. I am also grateful you think about our families who struggle with affordable childcare and life-granting medication, those same families who sometimes have to make hard choices about adding another mouth to feed. I am very grateful that you think about our war-torn and often broken veterans, who sacrificed careers and aspirations but now beg for handouts in our crossroads. Your genuine humanitarianism is more than lip-service; it is an active striving and for that I thank you too.
It feels like dark days are upon us and there is no end in sight. But our response, like many do this time of year, is to light our home even brighter, with deliberate intent to spread cheer. I have heard that through faith we can find hope. I like that notion. I have great faith in you Mr. President. You are our Grand Pop-pop. At least that’s what I imagine I’d call you if I ever had the chance to thank you in person. Regardless of any mid-term results or polling survey, know that this constituent is thrilled that you reside in our White House, and believe that you and Jill will chart the best way forward through these hard times.
As December rolls along, remember what your dedicated effort is all about and keep your focus Joe. Without a doubt, the very nature of Democracy as we have known it for decades rests on your shoulders. Sure, there has been and will always be division, but I put my faith in you, more than anyone, to have the vision needed to unite our disparate states. I am in awe of your determination and your drive to keep your promises to the American people. We will be a better place if you prevail; regardless, I will always be grateful for your efforts.
All my best wishes and goodwill to you and yours,