Letter from an Iowa Rest Stop
3:11 PM, Aug 16, 2011
At a fundraiser in New York, President Barack Obama compared himself to Andrew Cuomo and Martin Luther King Jr. "I think that we forget when [King] was alive there was nobody who was more vilified, nobody who was more controversial, nobody who was more despairing at times. But what he understood, what kept him going, was that the arc of moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”
Letter from an Iowa Rest Stop
16 August 2011
Sitting here, at this ghastly Des Moines rest stop, totally cramped on my bus (repurposed, by the way, from the Black Eyed Peas 2004 Elephunk Tour – props to my man, will.i.am!), waiting for Plouffe to bring me a packet of beef jerky and an espresso, I can’t help but think about how much I remind myself of Martin Luther King Jr. He too did something with buses, I think. And he was, like me, criticized a lot.
Since arriving in Iowa, a number of “people” have asked me, “Why are you here, instead of running the country? What about the economy? Jobs? War? Blah? Blah? Blah?” I should not stoop to answer these questions, as they are coughed and hacked in my direction, plebian sputum clinging to each syllable, by people with no interest in trying to understand the complex economic issues that have imperiled my reelection bid.
Here’s the thing you’ve got understand. I am here in this . . . place . . . because injustice is here. You see, America, what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. And since I am a great orator (like Dr. King, Abe Lincoln, Cicero, etc, etc), then you must simply be failing to listen properly.
You say I am a bad president. You say that I have increased our debt burden with failed stimulus plans, that I have forced an expensive and coercive health care plan on you, that I lack clarity and leadership in my dealings abroad.
But again, I must reiterate: I saved the country from the greatest depression, like, ever. If I didn’t pass the stimulus, we would have been totally worse off than we are now. Like way, way worse off. The only reason we aren’t even better off is simple, and it is something all great leaders (me, Dr. King, FDR, Lincoln, Cicero, Moses, Joe Montana, and so on) have had to contend with: bad luck.
You see, in the middle of our amazing, miraculous, Lazarus-ian recovery, our economy took some major hits from some really bad headwinds. First, there was the Arab Spring. Oy, that Arab Spring! Knowing such uprisings would adversely affect our skyrocketing growth and employment rates, I did my best to discourage those rabble rousers in Egypt and Syria and Oman, or Yemen, or whichever one it was. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on our side, and their attempts to achieve basic human dignity have dampened our recovery in ways that will be difficult for you to understand, and I’m sure you’re not really interested in hearing about them anyway.
Also, as you may recall, there was an earthquake in Japan. This was really bad luck for us—for me, in particular. I worry that the radiation has seeped into the fish over there, or something, because my base, which loves sushi, has just not had the same love for me since then. I worry about their health, I really do, my friends.
As I once said (right now): Bad luck is the scourge of greatness, the enemy of justice, and the rival of prosperity. So I believe, and so did our country’s greatest men. I ask you: Did people criticize Thomas Jefferson when he said, “The price of freedom is frequent bad luck.” Did people slam FDR for labeling the day Pearl Harbor was bombed as “A date which will require us to curse our bad luck.” Did people jeer when Patrick Henry demanded, “Give me liberty, or at least some decent luck. Seven come eleven…” I think not. No. They cheered. They high fived. They fist bumped. All across this great land of ours. This is completely unfair. You all should really think about what you’ve done.
Anyway, I don’t really write a lot of letters anymore. I prefer Twitter. I am afraid this letter is perhaps too long, well over 140 characters. And I fear that it might not be delivered properly by the postal service, which really sucks lately. I can assure you, I would have tweeted this if I had been in my comfy chair at the White House (another reason I need to be reelected—I love that chair! LOL). But, what else can one do while sitting on a bus, in a pleather captain’s chair, sipping a completely burned espresso from Starbucks (ugh, thanks a lot, Plouffe!), other than write a really great letter like this one.
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