Dear Mr. President

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations. I’m not sure I have ever seen a greater example of the phrase “media darling.”

These past few days have been a celebration of your reaching the pinnacle of political power in our country and, perhaps, the world. Once again, congratulations.

The Bible is pretty clear as to the attitude God would want us to have toward leadership. In Proverbs 21:1 it says that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord and He turneth it whithersoever He will.” I realize you are not a king, but you are our leader.

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Paul also wrote in Romans that we are to submit ourselves to the governing authorities rendering to them, therefore, their due. As holder of the office of the Presidency of the United States, there is certainly a respect due.

Even without the biblical admonitions, we would be foolish to not wish you well. It is in our best interests for you to be successful. We find ourselves “in quite a pickle” and the more successful you are, the better we will have it, so blessings to you.

I thought I would write you a letter and put in my requests early. (No, I’m not going to ask for a bailout.) I have just a couple of things that I would like to see happen in this country.

First of all, there is this question about race. In the spirit of full disclosure, let me say that I am a white male. I hope that doesn’t matter.

Many were surprised that you, an African-American, won the election. I was not. I knew that in this country of opportunity that one day we would have a president of color. We have always said that a person can do “anything he or she wants to do if they would work at it.”

I am not nave. I will admit that there are still pockets of racism in this country, but, by and large, I think we have made great progress in leveling the playing field. We are pretty close (we may not be there yet, but we are pretty close) to the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.

He once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I think you were elected president by the perception of the electorate that the content of your character was sufficient for you to become president. Quite obviously, the color of your skin did not prevent you from achieving the highest office in the land. Now here is my request.

Do you think we might begin to put aside the question of skin color? Do you think we might all be simply Americans now? Can we begin to eliminate the hyphen as we describe ourselves?

I have an English heritage, but I wasn’t born in England. I have never thought of myself as English-American. I’m comfortable with who I am, but I don’t think that I deserve any advantage over another because of my English ancestry.

Mr. President, I understand this is sensitive territory. I don’t seek to disparage any race of people. I’m talking about the United States of America with an emphasis on united. This request will take some time and I know you have other priorities, but the health of this country will be better when we all consider ourselves in the same boat.

I have only one other request, at least for now. This request involves a group of people who you might not notice, but these people are very important to this country.

The group includes all those Americans, regardless of color, who understand responsibility. I would like to see them rewarded for the way they responsibly fulfill their duties.

These are the people who work hard to pay their way through life. They sometimes work in jobs that they don’t like, but they realize that there is no free lunch. If they have families, they provide for them.

They buy houses and cars they can afford, even though they sometimes get into situations where they don’t know how they’re going to get by. They make ends meet somehow by cutting back or getting another job. They pay their taxes and keep their insurances up to date. They are contributors.

Please treat these people with great respect. Find ways to encourage them and help them. Don’t get on their bad side. King George III of England did that way back in the 1770s and you don’t want to go there. Just treat them with fairness and they won’t give you too much trouble.

Mr. President, there are a few more things on my mind that I would like to talk about but I think you will be busy enough these next few days and weeks. Just try to think about these two little items and I’ll be praying for you.