Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features >  Washington Voices

Mr. President, are you ready for this?

Dear Mr. President:

The journey of many begins with you. I have never written to a president before; never believed my voice mattered. But this is a historic time with a change we can believe in and for the first time I do believe we can make a difference.

I’ve seen presidents enter office on a bevy of good intentions only to exit in a caldron of disgrace. Watched them wave victoriously one moment then staunchly thrust their arms into the air and flash the victory sign while boarding Air Force One in resignation with the threat of impeachment biting at their heels.

The essential element that softens the glaring, sometimes ruthless images and truths of a past administration is time. The controversies and fraught policies that begot the Great Depression, Vietnam, the Iranian hostage crisis, Iran Contra, Watergate, Whitewater, have diminished into shadowy memories erasing the pain, anger and, all too often, humiliation of America. I can only assume that time will also soften the harsh discord left by George W. Bush’s administration; perhaps not.

But this is a new day; the dawning of a new era, literally, when the simple word “change” commingles with hope and with it emerges the dream that, once again, America will be the country our forefathers envisioned. The land of the free remains because we are, equally, the home of the brave.

You’ve given us this hope Mr. President. This new administration is not only ushering in political change but your inauguration will also set into motion a change in our own hard-hearted world of prejudice and hate.

Many are waiting for the initial mistake that will cause fingers to point and tongues to wag. And it will happen, Mr. President, for that you can be as sure as your daughters never letting you forget about the new puppy they’ve earned. Are you prepared to meet these times with dignity and sure-footedness? Are you prepared for a new puppy? Somehow I think you are.

America is a country that sets its sights on achieving greatness but within that scope comes the heavy burden to reach the goal. The choices made and directions taken can be onerous. Are you ready for this burden, Mr. President? Somehow, I think you are.

Perhaps the most telling of a presidency is in the pictures. Like so many before you, the beginning portraits boast a confident person, filled with a ready spirit and desire to change the course. Four years later, the pictures tell a different tale altogether.

Your step into history is knee deep in war, a failing economy and a disheveled, disheartened country that will, no doubt, tax the very core of your presidential aspirations and personal integrity. Are you ready for this step, Mr. President? Somehow, I think you are.

Hope is hardwired into every person. Americans, however place hope and belief on symbiotic pedestals that defiantly snub the tragedies and failures of a previous presidency and give rise to a newfound optimism for the new one.

And so, on Jan. 20, 2009, we, again, hardwired in hope and downloaded belief into our eternal memory that the vision of a united, prosperous, strong yet compassionate America will, once again, shine under your leadership.

The journey has begun. Are you ready for this, Mr. President?

Somehow, I think you are.

Contact correspondent Sandra Babcock by e-mail at