Point of View Columns

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear President Obama –

I am writing to you to convey a sense of dire and urgent situation in which this nation finds itself and to ask you to strongly consider bringing your very special gifts of communication and sense of justice back to the political arena. Not with an occasional speech or podcast, not with an op-ed from time to time, but rather going back into the arena as if the life of this nation is at risk, because it is.

As someone who has counted himself as one of your most ardent supporters I certainly understood the need for you to take a respite from that arena after you had been a central part of all of the political and social battles in this nation and around for the better part of ten years. If anyone ever deserved to take some time for self-care for yourself and for your family, it was you.

But it is important to note that you decided early in your career that you wanted to be “somebody” in the socio-political movement and you pursued that goal with remarkable focus and tenacity. Only you know when you decided that you could become president, but you did become President of the United States in January of 2009 (I was there in Washington freezing with millions of others) and many in this nation were ecstatic at the historical import of your inauguration as well as the potential for existential change that your presidency represented.

You spent the next years not only as the Chief Executive of the federal government, you were literally the voice of Hope and Change – to quote one of your campaign posters. Millions of people believed in you and your message, and by any rational analysis your presidency was a success. After all, recovery from the financial crash of 2008 and the Affordable Care Act as well as the inspiration that you brought to a generation of Americans who truly did believe in Hope and Change are certainly indicia of that success.

After you left office we were glad to see that you and your family were doing well after enduring unprecedented and irrational hate and opposition not seen in American presidency since Abraham Lincoln. And we understand that you, as a person committed to respecting precedent, would retire gracefully as have your predecessors.

It should be pointed out that times are different now. At the end of his presidency Ronald Reagan was on his way to dementia and not likely to have participated in national debate on issues if he wanted to do so. When he left office George H.W. Bush had no real role in the development of the issues of the day and when he left office Bill Clinton was glad to have avoided impeachment and was focused on enriching Clinton, Inc. And of course, George W. Bush was happy to go back to Texas and become a painter.

But President Obama – the nation needs your vision and your passion and your unique ability to make people think their way through the clouds of fear and anger and hate and even more fear. The neoconservatives have claimed the high ground in the Supreme Court and they are aiming for the same result in Congress come November. We are at a tipping point in this country.

Your voice can be a counterpoint to that aspect of the Democratic Party that wants to defund the police. Your voice can be a counterpoint to the neoconservatives who are tearing down the democratic infrastructure of American government while pretending to preserve it.

You can make a difference because Americans will listen to you. You are needed to speak truth to power. You are needed to speak truth to lies. You are needed to change the political landscape so that nonsense no longer makes sense. You should have no doubt that many others will follow your lead.

Majoritarian democracy barely exists in America as this is being written. Republicans are a minority party yet they control 30 state legislatures and 28 governor’s mansions. Republicans are a mere single seat from controlling the United States Senate. Minority rule, when fully implemented will make this nation a 21st century version of South Africa in 1948. And as intelligent and observant and well-read as you are, you know that this is not an exaggeration.

There are many voices out there Mr. President, but your voice is special, it always has been. This country needed you in 2008. This country really needs you in 2022.

Unless and until this trend towards minority rule is stopped, our children will live in a country where they are no longer full citizens. You are not the Savior of America, but you can help to save America.

Please listen to all of the voices – Douglass, DuBois, King, Malcolm X and Lewis and so many more who raised their voices in the face of absolute adversity. You have to the power to do what they tried to do – change America for the better.

We need for you to speak and write and appear on all the media options as if you were running for office again, except this time you will be running to save this nation.

Please Mr. President – come back onto the playing field.

Team America needs you.

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7 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Barack Obama

  1. Robert Bennett says:

    A far more impactful effort to defeat the continuing rise of fascism in the United States would be the prosecution of Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for attempting to overthrow the government of the United States. A mass movement may be necessary to embolden the “Justice Department” to do just that, and thereby adhere to the prosecutorial norms that are established for all those who “break the law”.

  2. Frederick Wiley says:

    Thank you Professor Ford, your analysis are proven in facts. We do need such…an eloquent, and brilliant thinking former President to reach people. To continue the inspirational messaging needed to get out and vote. We need his vision and we need them now. I agree to approve this appeal to Honorable Barack Obama. Please help America. Peace.

  3. Let’s not have history repeat itself we have to make better use of the Black media in all forms to control our on narrative. We can no longer rely on one person.
    We also have in my opinion an opportunity to awaken the African diaspora until that happens we will never be truly free,

  4. Paula Rice says:

    I would fear for his life if he became more visible and vocal. The insurrectionists would raise their ugly heads again.

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