Dear President Obama,
Seven years ago, I met my husband, and seven years ago, I met his Obama shirt. As a card-carrying, registered Democrat, it was a shirt he wore with both pride and honor.
I hated it.
See, I had grown up in a Republican family and had been bred to despise all candidates and platforms blue. So when he would ask me to wear his shirt from time to time, I vehemently denied. I wouldn’t be caught dead.
But then something funny happened.
As I graduated from school and began to spread my wings, I learned to separate my political viewpoints from those of my parents. I started to examine my world, both political and otherwise, with fresh eyes and an open mind. I gave myself a clean slate. And you made that bare tapestry your own.
Throughout the next seven years, I would watch you log achievement after achievement, despite steady opposition and a dearth of proper acknowledgment. I’ve seen people call you the worst president of all time, despite objective measures that indicate the contrary. After all, this presidency has been one for the history books. The Dow Jones has hit unprecedented highs. The automotive industry has set all-time sales records. We recorded the longest streak of overall job growth in United States history. And I can actually fill up the tank of my environment-killing SUV without filing for bankruptcy.
Were things perfect? No, of course not. But they seldom ever are. And why should the standard be perfection anyway? You’re only human, after all. Your turkey pardon jokes prove as much.
No, for me, the standard is improvement; and by that measure, you’re every bit the success you set out to be. Unemployment is down. Wages are back on the rise. And while one could point to an increase in debt, that’s only one side of the coin, as our deficit has shrunk considerably. The main attack on your performance has been the underwhelming GDP growth, but such a criticism rings a bit hollow to me when, before you took office, we were migrating in the opposite (read: negative) direction.
Call me crazy (and I’m sure many reading this will), but criticizing a man for only marginally improving the economy when we’re coming out of the second greatest recession of all time would be like criticizing a homeless man for only finding a way to move into a studio apartment and not a mansion. To me, context matters...