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A letter to the President

Letter to the President:

The beauty of democracy, freedom, and America is that the people have a voice. On Nov. 6, the people spoke up and reelected President Obama. However, sometimes the people are not always heard because the politicians are too busy squabbling among themselves rather than being representatives of the American people.

Dear President Obama,

First and foremost I would like to congratulate you on your reelection. While I am an independent and was an undecided voter up until the night before the election, after hearing your acceptance speech, I no doubt believe that you have the passion to lead this country, which you love so deeply. This deserves anyone’s utmost respect. I wish you luck as you guide our great nation over the next four years.

While the president is deemed commander-in-chief and the leader of America, our government was designed so that power is split among many. It is for this reason that our founding fathers endowed Congress with the greatest authority: for it is in Congress that the people are best represented, and in America, that the people are sovereign. Congress is where bills are written, discussed, and improved upon so that they can become straightforward, common sense laws.

Except that no, that’s not what Congress does. It argues and bickers and thinks compromise is weak. It filibusters and makes back door deals. It lies and cheats and refuses to play nice. Congress is stubborn and childish and gets nothing done. The worst part is that Congress is not a fair representation of the people of the United States of America. The American people are friendly and kind and make compromises everyday. They are friends with conservatives and liberals alike. Tea Party members and hippies are neighbors, and while they may not agree on everything, they are cordial and respectful.

Mr. President, what I want, and I think the people of America will agree, is a Congress that gets along. That is why I am proposing that you create an executive order requiring that every member of Congress participates in team building activities while “Why can’t we be friends?” blasts through the Capitol Hill speakers.

Congress is a team and needs to learn to work together. The barriers between left and right, young and old, need to be broken down at a personal level so that Congress can work as a well-oiled machine and our country can make strides of progress.

Before you hire a highly recommended businessman from a prestigious human resources firm, may I remind you that we have a serious deficit and that would be fiscally irresponsible. Any camp counselor can lead team-building activities and that’s exactly what Congress needs: young, enthusiastic leaders who will inject some life into stuffy Congressmen.

So as to give you some idea of what I mean, Mr. President, may I suggest some examples.

Each state is unique and has its own special characteristics. One Friday a month, senators and representatives can pair up and celebrate what makes their partner’s state special. A vegan senator who spends his spare time surfing in southern California can pair up with an Oklahoma senator who comes from a tough-as-nails, hay-chewing, farming community. Or the artsy Colorado representative who supports legalizing marijuana can bond with the Louisiana representative known around the Hill for her delectable Cajun jambalaya.

So as not to limit ourselves to merely geographical and ideological boundaries, every Congressman shall also be paired with someone on the opposite end of the age spectrum. These partnerships will then dress up according to their partner’s favorite song from high school. So if Paul Ryan and John Kerry were partners and Ryan’s favorite song from 1988 was Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” Kerry would have to dress accordingly to best embody this song.

While the two preceding examples are on the extreme end of the spectrum, Congress would no doubt nod in its joint embarrassment and hopefully representatives would have fun and dance across the aisle.

However, it may take Congress some warming up to really commit to the idea of geographical celebration and 80’s hair styles, so allow me to offer some more conservative small group games.

In groups of no more than 10, our representatives could play: two truths and a lie, human knot, the name game, ninja, show me how you gigolo, and for the more risqué groups, 10 fingers.

I believe that our senators and representatives are just like every other American: friendly, hardworking, and proud of their beliefs. They just need to be reminded of their shared and humanity and love of country. For no matter what our backgrounds and beliefs may be, we all love America. Once Congress breaks down its incessantly useless barriers, filling the void instead with kindness and respect, can our country shine just as brightly as the American people.

Mr. President, I thank you for your hard work and the many sacrifices you have made for this country. You will always have my respect for leading America, a land of countless diversity in every facet of life, which is no easy task. If you give my recommendation even the slimmest of considerations, I will commend you for your efforts even more.


Heather O’Keeffe

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