Happy Birthday, President Barack H. Obama

Mr. President,

I didn’t expect to wish you a happy birthday today, but since I wrote a column for the Fox  Forum (aka FoxNews.com's Opinion section) on President Bush’s birthday last month, I thought I’d extend you the same courtesy.

First of all, in all fairness, whoever became president in 2008 would have faced extremely difficult challenges. Just as President Bush faced the Sept. 11 attacks and the domino effect that followed, many catastrophes occurred during your own presidency that were beyond your control – the financial crisis, the earthquake in Haiti and the BP oil leak in the Gulf.

These catastrophes arguably would have occurred irrespective of whoever was in office at the time, and it is unlikely any president could have swiftly resolved them.

During the presidential election of 2004, I was at the Democratic National Convention when you spoke about America coming together with bipartisanship.

I was interning for U.S. Senator John Kerry’s legal team at the time, and I was moved by your passion to unite America.

Your bipartisan speech stood out among the ultra-left, anti-capitalist, anti-American sentiments that were whispered in Boston that year.

When you ran for president in 2008 however, I was stunned at your disdain for my country, our Constitution and the free enterprise system. Your bipartisan position quickly evolved into a disdain for George W. Bush, and you blamed him for everything you could.

I have tried to understand why you side with our enemies. You show respect to communist dictators like Hugo Chavez, and have declined to act on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threat to become a nuclear power and destroy Israel.

When the people of Iran cried out and asked for America’s support, you did nothing.

They turned to America – they turned to you, Mr. President, and you said nothing until it was too late.

President Bush had a dream of transforming Iraq into a democracy, but you recently announced that we’re withdrawing forces on August 31 despite the progress that is being made.

When you first arrived in the White House you did something very telling – you returned a bust of Winston Churchill to England, telling them, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Why you would discard the presence of a man who is recognized for standing up to the Nazis – the worst evil in the history of the world – a hero, who was committed to saving the Jews when few others cared as much, is deeply concerning.

Did you do this because you disagree with a hawkish stand against evil?

Your entire foreign policy seems to be designed to weaken America not strengthen her.

Is this because you believe, our neighbors would feel less threatened if America were less powerful?

Power is not evil in itself, Mr. President. It is only evil when it used to exploit or abuse.

I know America is imperfect. America once allowed slavery. It is a dark stain on our history and a tragic shame that it was ever a part of our history.

President Lincoln however, used his power for good to end slavery, just as Presidents Roosevelt and Truman used their power to end the Holocaust, Presidents Kennedy and Reagan challenged communism, President Clinton ended genocide in Bosnia and President Bush liberated Iraq.

In the past hundred years, America has used her power for good around the world. We have liberated countries, stopped genocide, ended slavery and transformed tyrannies into democracies.

We are the good guys, Mr. President. We are the heroes. We are the shining light of hope for those people in Iran who desperately want the freedom we take for granted. We are the hope for the world, and you are our leader.

I do want to wish you a Happy Birthday, Mr. President, because unlike many Republicans and even Democrats who have abandoned you at this stage, I still believe in you.

In fact, President Bush believes in you as well. I’ve heard him support you when he speaks in public.

It’s not too late. It’s not too late to show patriotism.

It’s not too late to show respect to our allies.

It’s not too late to become the president you dreamed of becoming when I saw you speak in Boston in 2004.

You can become a great president, but if you want your country to believe in you again, you need to do the one thing you haven’t done yet.

need to believe in your country – the United States of America.

Stop trying to change what we are – and believe in what we’ve been. America has made her mistakes, but she has also been the noblest country in the history of the world.

When you finally learn to believe in America, I promise that America – will believe in you.


Jeffrey Scott Shapiro

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is the co-founder and National Organizer of Honor Freedom (http://twitter.com/honorfreedom), an organization dedicated to promoting democracy abroad. He can be reached at jshapiro@ufl.edu.

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