Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dear Mr. President

(I originally wrote this letter in 2005. It seems that not much has changed. As usual with letters and emails I send to the White House, I had printed my address and phone number at the bottom, just so the Secret Service would not have trouble finding me. )

Dear Mr. President;

I want to thank you for making my job so much harder.

I spent today counseling four students here at Boston University.

One has had his National Guard unit activated, and will be going to Iraq within two months. He has just started his senior year here at Boston University, and would really liked to have finished his degree. Now, he will be withdrawing from school and flying to Iraq to fight in a war that he does not support. It is likely that he will return maimed, psychologically scarred, or in a box.

One just found out that her brother was killed in Iraq this week, just a few weeks before he was to come home. His unit had been kept in Iraq for almost a year longer than they were supposed to have been there.

One just found out that because of the budget cuts that you have proposed, her financial aid package has been drastically cut, and she will be unable to afford to continue studying here at Boston University. She has just started her junior year, just declared her major, and is a brilliant, articulate young woman who now thinks that she will have to finish her college career at a local community college. You, as a Yale graduate, should understand that graduating from Massachusetts Bay Community College will certainly not give her the same opportunities as graduating from Boston University.

One student came to me so upset about the lies that you and your administration have told, that she is withdrawing from Boston University to attend college in Canada. She spent this weekend with her grandmother and was shocked at how obtuse and complicated the new Medicare prescription drug plan is. She reports that her grandmother has stopped taking pills essential to her health because she can now no longer afford them and can't figure out how to get the new plan to pay for them.

This was a group of four students on one day here at one University. They are all voters. They are all citizens. They are some of the brightest and best of our young people and through the direct actions that you and your Administration have promoted, they are all now disenfranchised, disillusioned, and disgusted with you, your politics, and the United States Government. It is no wonder that your approval ratings are so low, and lower even still with this age group.

So you have put me in the position of having to spend time trying to explain to these students why this is happening. How do I explain to these young people that their Government cares more about an illegal war that kills, about federal spending priorities that favor military might over the development of the mind? How do I explain to them that they need to look at the bigger picture about how all of this is eventually going to make America stronger?

I don't actually expect, Mr. President, that you will see this email, since it is reported in the news that you rarely look at information that does not fit with your world view. I hope you do see this. I want you to know how you are affecting the American people. Do you realize that the profits from just one of the oil companies over the past year would completely wipe out all student loan debt currently owed? Think about how much stronger the economy would be if the brightest and best of our citizens were not paying thousands of dollars every month in student loans? Or, think about how much stronger our economy would be if we did not have to worry about how we were going to care for ourselves and our parents as we got older?

I will not defend your policies or laws to my students. Your government is an utter failure. You had a surplus going in, now we have a deficit, and defying every logical precept, you continue to cut taxes when we are at war. We were at peace. Now, we have attacked a country that was not a threat, was not involved in 9/11. Your policies are an utter failure. There are people in America today who are more hungry, not less, who are making less money than five years ago, not more, who are worse off now than when you took office and it is all your fault. You can no longer blame any of this on the Democrats, this is all yours.

So, thank you, Mr. President. I will continue to see students for counseling who will need my services as a direct result of the lies, warfare, budget cuts and disillusionment that you have perpetrated on the American people. As for my students, I pray that they will be safe, will be able to finish college, and will be able to take care of those they love. You should sit with me for an afternoon and listen....


Anonymous said...

i really don't envy you brother.

James J. Olson said...

I's not all bad, really. I like being available for the students. As you can probably tell though, I will be leaving Boston University for another ministry soon. College students are a hard but rewarding group to work with.