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An Open Letter to Barack Obama

November 10, 2008

Dear Mr. President-elect,

After the last election, I wrote to President George Bush. While he never actually acknowledged my letter publicly, I know that he was a big fan of the Google and trust he saw it somewhere.

I don’t believe in perfunctory niceties, Senator, so I’ll level with you. I voted for the other guy. Actually, I voted more for the lady with the other guy, but that’s a whole ‘nother letter. Even so, I’m excited for our nation in some respects. It will be interesting to have a president with at least a sliver of coolness. I’m too young to remember JFK, but you’re closer to him in iconic standing than any of those I’ve known. I’m proud of America. We have evolved to a point where an African American can get elected to the highest office in the land. My adopted daughter – African American and Latino descent – is 2 years old and will never remember a time when this was impossible. That is progress for all of us.

No doubt, there are a lot of people clamoring for your attention right now, and that’s not likely to slow up much, so I’m going to get right to the point on a couple of things that mean a lot to me. You might want to even bookmark this page. File it under “nutty evangelicals” if it helps you find it again later.

I’m concerned about national security. The past seven years have shown us that there are some very bad people in the world and the reserve a special kind of hate for Americans. I know you’ve talked about sitting down with certain people who’ve been labeled terrorists, believing that it’s better to talk to our enemies than to ignore them. Please do not oversimplify the world scene to a disagreement between neighbors that can be settled on the patio over a couple of cold ones. I know a lot has gone wrong – particularly in the last four years – but you have to admit, for all the things that blew up and burned down on President Bush’s watch, he managed to blow them up or burn them down overseas, not within our borders.

I’m troubled by our financial situation. I’m not horribly concerned about Wall Street, because I’m convinced that most of the value that has been lost on Wall Street was not value at all, but rather hype. Decades ago, a CEO woke up and asked “are we making good widgets?” For the last few years, a CEO wakes up and asks “what’s our stock price?” It’s a very different perspective that lends itself to an intricate form of gambling where value is derived speculation rather than production. We could stand to get back to producing a few things. What does concern me, though, is people losing jobs or finding themselves upside down with easy credit. I vote you prop up employers as necessary and crack down on ridiculous credit terms. Yes, people should be smart enough to understand the idea of “too good to be true…”, but they’re not, and to teach them all a lesson the hard way right now is going to make the value of our homes plummet even though we’ve been responsible enough to make the payments.

I am burdened for the lives of the unborn. My gut says that you have regretted that “above my pay grade” comment you made to Rick Warren since the moment you said it. My gut also says that you have a nagging question….one that arises when you look at your beautiful little girls. In the dark of night, when you slip into their room to take one last peek, I think you hear the whispers in the walls. “Before I formed you in your womb, I knew you… ” I won’t argue science or religion with you, Mr. President-elect. Just stare hard at your daughters and ask three questions “When did they begin? How do I know? What if I’m wrong?

Sir, you are in my prayers. You are about to undertake a job that no man would have unless he loved America. I believe that you do. I don’t believe you to be any more sinister or righteous than your campaign opponent was, and I will pray for your encounter with the Living God just as I would for whoever else won. May you know Him and experience Him fully, and may your leadership over our nation reflect that encounter.


Randy Bohlender


12 Responses

  1. Love it! If he doesn’t read it, his is truly missing out. 🙂

  2. PS Don’t push FOCA…

  3. “The Google”… haha that is almost as funny as someone who called me over to help them connect to “goggle.com”

  4. Randy, this is great bro. In a time where the “voice” of the church sounds like it is speaking 20 different languages, it is great to hear someone speak straight forward, and from the heart. I appreciate your candidness and while I know we agree on the points you made up, it is nice to hear someone talk about praying for the guy and wanting to believe the best dream in God for him, instead of presupposing that God has “hardened his heart.” You’re the man.

  5. This is very refreshing, Randy. It’s my hope that you are speaking the mind of the praying community in our nation. Thanks, man!

  6. oh for more people in the world who articulate like you and represent a group of people that just don’t seem to fit in on either side. don’t be alarmed if you see this showing up in random places. i mean, not like I’m gonna copy and paste it anywhere or uh…yeah…or anything like that…

  7. Randy, love the letter. Is the “one” in the last paragraph supposed to be “won”?
    I enjoy a well written letter that adresses real issues in a sensible, yet stylish fashion.

  8. Kristi – you’re right on the edit! Thank you! I wrote that half asleep and have been correcting typos on it all day!

  9. Great thoughts! I’m having to work really hard at keeping my heart at a good place as a result of the election. Your letter is a great illustration of how to live successfully in the tension without either flipping out or checking out! Also, I like it that someone is willing to ignore the bullies and admit that they like Sarah Palin.

  10. Thank you Randy! I teach in a small Christian school. A lot of my students came from homes that supported McCain. However, I had a few students that their parents supported Obama. I personally voted for McCain. When I came to school on Wednesday after the elections, a lot of my kids asked me how I felt about Obama winning. I told them this, Yes I am upset. However, I am a Christian before I am an American. I know that my God is in control and he works good through everything. I told them our job now was to pray for Obama, and to love him. That is what we are called to do. I think a few of them were astonished at this. However, I felt convicted to tell them truth.
    Thank you for sharing your heart! God bless : )

  11. I think I wrote this. Are you sure you wrote it (j/k)?

  12. […] first posted a version of this letter to Barack Obama on November 10, 2008, addressed to Mr. President-elect.  He never did acknowledge […]

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