Dear President Obama,
I wasn't planning on writing you a farewell letter but, the events over the last 48 hours that culminated with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President-elect of the United States of America, have compelled me to do so. I write this letter to express my sincere admiration for you as a person, and gratitude for all you've done for us in your career as a public servant- first as a community organizer, then legislator in the Illinois State Senate followed by the U.S. Senate, and finally, a two-term President who inherited a nation at war, and a global economy in free-fall.
I know that, with Donald Trump's election, you must be asking yourself what you could have done differently. You must have moments where you reflect on your last eight years and think, "Was it me?" Mr. President, at the risk of quoting an oft-parodied scene from Good Will Hunting, let me just say, it's not your fault...it's not your fault...it's not your fault.
Trump's rise to becoming president-elect was borne out of an obstructionist Republican Party that exploited racial animosity and xenophobia from the minute you took the oath on that crisp January morning in 2009. Throughout your tenure as President, Republican lawmakers often resorted to veiled references to your heritage, faith, and upbringing to suggest that you were somehow unfit to lead Americans as their President. By the time it was primaries season earlier this year, those racist and xenophobic seeds that the Republicans planted, had blossomed into a Republican primary ticket with candidates who seemed better suited for a scripted reality show, rather than our nation's highest office.
We all know how it ended so I'll spare you the recap but, I'm writing you to tell you that you and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with your two daughters, Sasha and Malia, rose above the vitriol and cynicism that encircled your time in office, and gave Americans an exemplary model to admire and abide by. I guess I'm writing this letter as a sort of therapy, to cope with the fact that the next four years look very dark for minorities such as myself. It hasn't even been 48 hours and already, we are seeing a rash of hate crimes across the country committed in Trump's name. So, this is also my way of tapping into the hope you inspired in people who believed that the America you envisioned for all of us was within our grasp. As I write this letter, a part of me fears that maybe this America is rapidly slipping farther and farther away. But then I consider the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that generations before us overcame to achieve freedom, suffrage, & civil rights, both here and in my parents' native country of India, and I'm comforted. Because history teaches us that only a dogged persistence coupled with an unflinching conviction in justice as a necessary element for human co-existence, as necessary as the oxygen we breathe, will bring about the America you heroically tried to will into existence these last eight years. Eight years that went by way, way, way too fast.
So Mr. President, thank you for all that you've achieved for the People and, thank you for...
...singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" at the Apollo