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Mildred Espree

Mildred Espree
Houston, Texas, USA
December 13
San Jacinto College North Campus
The young adults in the banner are my children. A Houstonian, I have spent my career as a full-time educator and writer. A mother and wife, a reader and music lover, I mostly write about what I care about. That includes poetryand short stories. This year I'm interested in politics, another hurricane, the economy, survival, cooking, philosophy. Rene, my husband, my son Jared, and my daughter Genevieve, are my favorite subjects. And yes, I love to tell stories about them and everything else I encounter on my journey.


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NOVEMBER 8, 2008 12:39AM

An Open Letter to Barrack Obama, Our President Elect

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Dear Mr. Obama,

Your triumph is the victory of all people everywhere. What I want to share with you today is why your election is a victory for me. I am a middle-aged Creole woman of many races, someone who like you, is often referred to as a mutt among us humans who value ethnicity, culture, race, geography and national pride, and that is all good. But on Election Day and for the past two years, you have gone the distance and in doing so you have ended the worst myth in American lore, that of the tragic mulatto. I can think of none else in Western literary history unless it is Christ himself who has been more maligned. From William Faulkner’s Joe Christmas in Light in August to Mark Twain’s satirical Puddin Head Wilson, the black man with white ancestry has been treated as the last and least of all characters in American Literature. That is until you gave this stock character a name and dimension as a human being: He is you – real, gracious, erudite, proud, white, black, male, Barrack Obama.

America now has to face its past and its future by rethinking its assumptions about race and purity. We have always been a part of this landscape. Rarely have we been able to say so with dignity. Thank you for working so hard. Thank you.

For you are now President of the United States of America, and like I wrote your wife Michelle shortly after the Democratic National Convention last August when I received your email about her speech: I was very moved by the humility I saw, by the grace that shone through a political land mine fraught with all the problems besieging America today, and for the first time, I saw someone in her with whom I also identified --  because of her intellect and her recognition of the strength in simply being real and honest with people about why you were there, and why she stood with you. Michelle Obama and her brother both communicated a proud black American family experience which I understood on an emotional level because their lack of guile was a profound statement which spoke to all American people in words plain and clear. When I heard her speech, about being a daughter, a mother, and a wife, I was moved to tears for the first time during the election season, so I sent in my donation, though small, on that day as I had before and would do again.

Again, not being a political being at all, and having been accused more than once of being antisocial, I respected and admired the lack of pretense and phoniness I saw in you and your family. There you were in a national venue and the message to the world was a simple: I am real, I am here, I am competent, and with your support I will have what it takes to turn this downward spiral in the American economy and national reputation around and give this country back to the American people. I admired both your community activism, your Harvard education, your professorial career and credentials, and your forthright commitment to help everyday people. I, like so many other Americans, really was sickened by trickle-down economics. Now we are facing a Second Great Depression.

When the right-wing muckrakers accuse you of buying the White House for 650 million dollars, I want them to know that, "representatively,"  it was my dollars that paid the cost for your victory. Yes mine, a retired public school teacher in Houston, Texas. I probably donated a total of $150.00 as I recall. That was a lot for me, but a small price to pay to have a voice in my country. I also talked to my friends. Called my family. Told my students. Taught them lessons about argumentation and logical fallacies. Asked them to evaluate campaign media. I also asked them to decide for themselves. My parents and theirs, as is true for all Americans who have been here for generations, have paid for this country and its government with our labor, our backs, our minds and through many generations of struggle, all the while never attaining the accoutrements of wealth and power. "We the People" are plain tired of being objectified by the mediocre with money.

I am incensed that the losing party would ever imply that you could buy the White House. That is as ludicrous as believing you can change laws without the consent of the people. We have a Constitution which has been ignored for too long. You were elected because you gave voice to the cries and pleas and needs of millions of Americans…

As our candidate, you would write to us, as would David Plouffe, Joe Biden, and Ted Kennedy. Though ill and disabled, I always tried to act positively in my small way. I’m one of many Americans and I’m proud of you. I’m also Catholic, a Pro-Lifer, a conservative Democrat, and a feminist.  I’m proud you are a part of my history and culture, only more so, I’m proud because I can honestly trust you to keep your word as a Christian and an American citizen. Mr. President, keep those letters coming. We need to hear from you. You will need to hear from us more than you listen to the media. The media can be bought and sold on a whim.

Now I want to remind you that you’re only human, remind you that God, the God of the Universe, not just the God of Christianity, requires that you keep faith with your best self at all times because you will come under attack from people who think that God only speaks to them –some of these folks are everyday Christians like me and you;  others are extreme Christian fundamentalists; some are of other faiths. All of them think they’re right and everyone else is wrong about what God wants you to do.

Therefore, I would like to remind you of Jesus’ words in the days leading up to his Cross.

“If the world hates you,

 Remember that they hated me first.

No servant can be greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.”


Mr. Obama, I can think of no other position on earth that carries a


greater burden than being leader of America, and of the world.


At this juncture, there is no role greater, or more vulnerable, on this


Earth. I know  that you know all these things.


"We the People," in America, who elected you for this


Great Cross, are also  quite aware.


Although some of us may need reminding again as we suffer through the


hard times ahead. But there is a faith perching in the soul of all


Americans, the vision of our founders' promise and the faith of our


mothers and fathers --our past greatness and our future


hopes.These are the enduring  things -- as  long as there is an America.


Finally Mr. President-elect: Don’t forget that we are here to help you. We know you cannot do this by yourself. I want to see you succeed. I’m nobody important and my greatest achievement in life has been my 31 year successful marriage and my two children. I have watched them closely all through their school years, I trained them, I taught them, I gave them hell when they deserved it, I took them to church, I taught them to work, I sacrificed and sent them to college, and I also taught them to ask questions, to put God first. I’ve had some rough years, but like most Americans, I am resilient, and like you, forever hopeful.


 Just like you launched and successfully ran the greatest grass roots campaign in history, we the people expect you to keep us in mind as you run our country. “We the People” have a vested interest in your successful implementation of our platform: Peace, restoration of the middle class, jobs, healthcare, better schools.


I, like so many people in this country and around the world, have a personal interest in seeing the People’s President, prevail. You are in my prayers. We realize you are not perfect. Neither is this world, but it's all we've got. We have to fix this mess we're in. Failure is not an option. Not for any of us.


Officially American,


P.S. With the weight of the world on your shoulders, don’t forget to be a good Daddy and husband. Michelle, Sasha, and Malia deserve your best too.


Godspeed Sir.

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Millie: I enjoyed reading the letter to President Elect Obama.

I actually think that more people ought to sit down and write out why we support him and what we actually expect him to do, especially in the short term. I think your hopes and dreams for his administration are clear and possible to actually do.

What worries me is that unless each of us is clear about why we voted for him and what we actually expect from him then we will be in for some great disappointment and disillusionment because, given the acute economic crisis, he will have to delay implementation of some of our most favored policies.

I know that, starting about two weeks before the election, each of his speeches told us that things will have to be drawn out and take longer than they would if we had a healthy economy. And, in his speech the night of the election, he again said that it will take time.

I pray that we will give him that time.

Good job.

Millie: I am overwhelmed. I am inspired to send him a letter very similar to yours, although I don't think it will be as good as this one. I cried anew when I read it. Still, President-elect Barack Obama needs to hear from every one of us who supported him in the past. In fact, ALL citizens of the US. Thank you so much for this beautiful post.
Barricade: Nauseating gristle not worth chewing.
Mildred, I love your letter. You, more than anyone, are qualified to speak to the President elect. Your letter is heartfelt, moving and I am touched. You have accomplished much in your life. Being a teacher, married for 31 years and raising 2 children is much more than most can say. You have integrity and humility which is much more than most can say. You represent a rich background which is much more than most can say. Rated and appreciated.
Beautifully written. My husband is diabled and we've been married 27 years and friends for 32 years. You are doing great work, and I like your point that each of us needs to pitch in to make the Obama presidency work. Paws up (rated).