, Salem, MA

March 9, 2013

Letter: Obama's missed opportunity

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I have been looking back at a couple of letters that I wrote and I found one from four years ago, wishing our newly elected president, Barack Obama, well in guiding us during his new administration. It is as follows:

It’s time to be Americans again

Last Thursday marked the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, an American president who put country before party. He was proud of his accomplishments of freeing the slaves and keeping America strong and whole, while winning the Civil War. He was a man of true conviction and principle ... a great American!

Today, Feb. 17, 2009, marks the 100th birthday of my father, Cmdr. J. Alex Michaud, an admirer of President Lincoln. My dad was a great patriot, teacher, business leader, philanthropist, husband and father. He was part of the “Greatest Generation” and was in charge of the largest group of PT boat squadrons in the world during World War II, commanding 14,000 brave men and women. Like all Americans of his day, he fought to protect the very principles of freedom that Lincoln worked so hard to preserve 100 years earlier. I miss my Dad since his death six years ago. He loved his family, business and community and used his success to contribute unselfishly to the benefit of those less fortunate than him, while doing so without fanfare. Anyone who knew him knows what I mean.

Over the past several years, the country has been wound up in partisan politics with labels like liberal Democrat, conservative Republican, religious right, far left, etc. We seem to have lost our direction. Greed by some seems to be the rule today with one scandal after another.

Over my lifetime, we have lost some really great politicians. Men who worked together for the good of the people they served. Men like Congressmen William Bates and Nicholas Mavroules, Reps. Frank Hatch and J. Michael Ruane, and Sens. Kevin B. Harrington and William Saltonstall, to name a few. They were men of principle and courage.

Today, we have elected the first African-American president, an accomplishment that Lincoln may never have thought possible. President Obama is also a great admirer and student of Lincoln, quoting him often. While we all wish president Obama well, it is my sincere hope that his greatest legacy is more than solving the current economic problems or ending an unpopular but necessary war on terror. I hope that his greatest accomplishment is bringing us together and making us proud to be Americans again. I think that men like Lincoln and my father, who fought so hard to protect that label, would agree, that would be his most important legacy.

Now, here we are, four years later with a missed opportunity, a nation with no leadership, more divided than at any time in recent history and in debt to the tune of more than $16.5 trillion and growing. Politicians constantly say that the “rich don’t pay their fair share,” and I wonder what kind of nation our children will inherit. I find myself hoping for a turnaround in thinking, but I have a feeling that will never come. A piece circulated on the Internet pretty much highlights the problem:

Prince of fools

The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but the citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be far easier to undo the follies of the Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man as their president. The problem is much deeper and more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the “Prince of Fools” should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their president. The republic will survive a Barack Obama who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.

Americans have always appreciated what those who came before have left for them and have always tried to leave things better for those who have followed ... until now. Our children will never know the America that I was left, grew up in and have worked so hard to preserve. We seem to have become a nation of takers, funded by those who, according to this cheerleading president, “don’t pay their fair share.” If it were not for the contributions of “those who don’t pay their fair share,” we would not have the great hospitals, museums, universities, cultural institutions, national parks, etc., etc ... I think that you get the picture. Isn’t it ironic that the loudest critics of the wealthy are the ones who benefit most by their generosity? What we need now is a real leader who can lead us back to being proud to be Americans again.

My wish for this president and his legacy, four years ago, has been missed, and he has not had the time nor the desire to lead us back to our true strong greatness as a nation. Maybe he will realize that a desk comes with the job of president of the United States and get off the plane long enough to see that there is quite a lot of dust that has accumulated on it over the past four years.

All that I can do is pray to GOD that we all wake up soon and put the kind of leaders in office that should have been there all along!

Biff Michaud