President Obama, thank you for being our president for the past eight years, for trying your best when many tried to falsely accuse you, for being a gentleman when you were maligned in ungentlemanly manner and tone, for always insisting that America was a shining beacon to the rest of the word, and for doing all you were allowed to do to show our country as a leader and an example of freedom to the world community.
I don’t say that you were perfect, no man is, but I am so proud as an American that you and your wife Michelle and your two daughters were preeminent examples of a world leader and his family for all to see. Our country’s position as a positive influence in a chaotic world is stronger and more influential because of your actions as our president.
I say this as a patriotic Southern white man, who grew up in a segregated society, who never dreamed that a mixed-race man who looked like a black man could ever be elected as my president. I grew up in a town that would not let “colored” persons enter the front door of a restaurant, that would not let “colored” students go to school with us, and whose mayor was the local wizard of the KKK. I say this, proud that many of our country’s citizens have moved beyond the society I saw as a young man, and with confidence that we will continue to move further beyond that dark part of our history; although there will be, as we have seen too often, steps backward as we move forward. The forces of politics, prejudice and intolerance were, too often, able to divert and blunt many of your efforts on our behalf, but you continued to be a persistent advocate for progress, fairness and tolerance.
I appreciate your immediate acceptance of the election of the Republican candidate for president, and your welcoming of the president-elect into the White House, even though you had been grievously and unfairly maligned and insulted by that same person. I appreciate that you are a loyal American, confident that our tradition and history of peaceful transition of power was more important than differences between the old and the new heads of state.
From your comments, I know that you feel the same way that I do . . . that we hope we were wrong about the president-elect, and that he will grow into a good, compassionate and intelligent leader of our great country. I sincerely hope that our new president will learn from your example, and if so, we will all be the better for it.
But, for now, I am so proud to be an American in a America that was smart enough to elect you as our president; a America that valued intelligence and courtesy over prejudice and exclusivity, freedom and tolerance over fear and hate.
Thank you, sir. We are much the better for knowing you, and I wish you and your family the best in the future.