Having the attention of the US president or even his office is an outstanding achievement. The president’s schedule is hectic, and, in most times, only issues of national and global interests get to his table. You definitely would not mind telling the president your feelings regarding certain critical aspects that affect Americans. A letter to the president would address an issue you are passionate about sharing and would want it resolved to save lives. But what does it take to have your letter reach the president? Former President Obama loved letters, and he shared a couple of his best with the public. Every story matters, and so does every letter to the president. Every writer’s dream is to have their letter attract the president’s attention, but what would it take to have it done perfectly?
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Every writer would be excited to have an audience with the president to tell him what he thinks about an issue. A review of some of the letters to President Obama in the White House archive is an enjoyable literary journey. On March 24, 2010, an anonymous writer from Windsor Locks, Connecticut, wrote an inspiring letter to President Obama to express her concern for the American economy, family, and home. In the letter, the mother of one little boy aged 5 outlined the struggles Americans undergo to support life during that trying time of economic instability (Anonymous 1).
In the letter, she outlines their challenges living even after being laid off. Her husband was similarly laid off and has been on and off work since he got his new employment. She expresses the fact that their son does not have any form of insurance. They have difficulties servicing their mortgage and face losing their hour into foreclosure. She expressed her frustration paying their loan while bearing the cost of taxes. Despite the conditions, the writer expressed hope for a remarkable transformation the next day. She emphasized that her desperation reflects the needs that every American underwent following the 2008 economic crisis. She tasked the president to act and ensure every American can afford a decent lifestyle.
Notably, every reader of the anonymous writer from Windsor Locks, CT, can relate her feeling to those of other millions of Americans. Every writer should, therefore, endeavor to address concerns that are a significant challenge to the population. Writers of letters to the president need to address the concerns of middle-income Americans. Similar to the anonymous writer, let the president know what Americans experience and their frustrations. It is important to apply real-life examples and experiences to emphasize the challenges outlined in the letter. A transformational letter should have the president reminded of his roles and promises to citizens.
On February 13, 2016, Aleena K., a young high school girl from Germantown, Maryland, wrote to the president, congratulating him for addressing Muslim-Americans’ concerns. In the letter, she expresses the struggles Muslim-American teens undergo in a country with Muslim minority citizens. She notes that the media is responsible for spreading the identity crisis that most American-Muslims are experiencing. In the letter, Aleena K. applauds the president for visiting a mosque in Baltimore to instill hope in American-Muslims that they have a place in society (1). The president’s address at the mosque, according to Aleena K., relieved many Muslims from the thought of negative comments targeting them and the harsh rhetoric they experience from non-Muslim citizens. Aleena K writes that the president’s gesture renewed hope among Muslims in the country because he believed in them. She concluded by asking Americans to exhibit tolerance and acceptance from both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Aleena K’s letter got to the president’s table because of the articulate expression of appreciation to the reader for his heroic action. In other instances, writers need to express gratitude to the president for the small but influential steps he exhibits. Writers should not only focus on condemning the activities of the president. Instead, they should credit efforts made by their leaders and which influence Americans’ lives. Discrimination and intolerance targeting Muslim-Americans are common and demand the support of influential leaders to end it. Aleena K’s letter, therefore, is exemplary and deserves the president’s attention. It is a motivation to leaders that citizens, including teenagers, appreciate their efforts and applaud them for positive deeds.
On March 14, 2015, Sheryl Cousineau from Kennewick, Washington, wrote requesting President Obama to resolve undocumented immigrants’ plight. She tells the story of an undocumented family she has known for fifteen years. Cousineau tells the president that the family has lived in the country trying to get an income (1). They came from Mexico to find better opportunities and make a living for their children. Their efforts to get valid papers in America have been a challenging and frustrating journey. Cousineau needs the president to feel undocumented immigrants’ condition and note that they are innocent souls trying to make life bearable. She expressed that separating families of undocumented immigrants is inhumane. She urges the president to lobby and have congress pass a bill that would protect undocumented immigrants whose interests are to work in America.
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Cousineau’s letter got to the president’s table because it clarifies the plight of undocumented immigrants who came to America with the hope of better lives. Her story of the family she has known for fifteen years makes readers feel the situation is grave and demands legislative actions. She contributed to the call for reforms to America’s immigration laws that have long been a concern to many citizens. Similar to Cousineau, every writer should ensure the letter resonates with the frustrations of victims who suffer and whose conditions demand remedy. Millions of undocumented immigrants have the sole focus of improving their lives. Cousineau’s letter makes a case for Americans to hold their leaders accountable to make reforms to their immigration laws. Every writer, therefore, should endeavor to make a case for change and reforms that would improve the lives of individuals struggling with a problem.
Ashley Young, a pregnant woman from Clinton, South Carolina, wrote to President Obama expressing her fear of contracting the Zika virus. On January 29, 2016, her letter was a response to a critical public health concern to many Americans. She demanded immediate action from the president to keep the public safe from the Zika virus (Young 1). She expressed her disappointment that should the government fail to have a remedy to the Zika virus, most children born in America would experience severe neurological congenital disabilities. She is perturbed by the level of exposure to danger, being a resident in the south where mosquitoes are common. She may not, therefore, deliver a healthy baby. She also expresses that the virus is dangerous to other unborn babies.
The president responded to Young’s letter to assure her that he shares similar concerns as a parent and father. He assured her that a team is in place mandated to expedite vaccine research for the Zika virus. He urged Young to find ways to ensure she stays safe as experts learn about the virus. Notably, Young’s letter addresses the concern of millions of pregnant women in America who are at risk of having children with congenital anomaly. Like Young, every writer should ensure they do not advocate change that affects few but all other individuals. When a writer addresses a problem that affects many individuals, the president may consider addressing it.
Another letter from Ambience Lamar, a 17-year-old student in senior high school sent to the president on October 31, 2016, highlighted a chilling experience. The teenage writer from Beaufort, South Carolina, expresses his struggles after contracting the West Nile Virus. She suffered from encephalitis that left part of the body. She had never gained her full voice back since when she was two years old. She has had impairment for fifteen years and communicated with her teachers through the phone and sign language. In the letter, Lamar is concerned with a heinous incident she experienced on August 221, 2016. A police officer in North Carolina short a male who was deaf and mute. The police officer could not communicate with the victim because of his impairment. The incident instilled fear in Lamar, who thinks that she may suffer a similar fate because of her condition.
Lamar reminds the president that police officers often fail to communicate with people who are deaf or have speech impairments. She reminds the president that every American with a disability may mat have fair treatment from police officers. She notes that the highlighted case is not the first in which police officers kill deaf and speech-impaired because of communication breakdown. Police officers’ care for the disabled should involve calling an agency to speak for them. In the absence of an agency to help the disabled, there is a critical level of misunderstanding, which triggers police to brutalize them. Lamar expresses that most law enforcement officers dealing with people who are deaf or have speech impairments regard their reactions as resisting arrest (1). Police officers, therefore, understand that the disabled individuals cannot respond as promptly as they may demand. Lamar suggests that police officers should undergo training on handling disabled citizens. Besides, police officers can use an application to alert them when they arrested an individual who has disability.
Lamar’s letter got the president’s attention because it appealed to humanity. The incidence described in the letter is tantamount to torture and mistreatment of disabled individuals, the deaf and speech impaired. Further, Lamar presents proposals to resolve the problem, and the president couldn’t agree more. The case resonates with the plight of the disabled when dealing with law enforcement officers (Valenzuela 1). When addressing the president, every writer should propose measures to resolve the concern. Lamar’s letter is an advocacy for the rights of deaf and speech-impaired individuals.
Serving in the US Army is an invaluable privilege that many desire to have. The thought of service under presidential orders creates a feeling of pride. The experience is best when you successfully serve in the great and iconic US Army and return home as a veteran. Veterans have stories, both sad and awesome. On February 2, 2014, Brandon Valenzuela, a veteran from Fayetteville, North Carolina, wrote to the president. His letter is precise and short. He applauds the president for his actions to end the war in Iraq. He appreciates the president’s decision terming it one that saved many lives. He encourages him to continue advocating morality.
Valenzuela’s letter captures an American’s desire that must transform from military and combat operations, which are archaic, to diplomacy as the new world order. The US has received criticism from human rights groups and international organizations condemning its combat operations in Ira, Iran, Afghanistan. Valenzuela makes a case for other veterans who are happy with President Obama’s decision to withdraw the army from Iraq. Similar to Valenzuela, every writer should exhibit gratefulness to the president’s office when commenting positively.
Although President Obama loved reading from the people, not all letters got to his table. Writing a letter to the president and having it published is a great success, but it demands standards. A review of sample letters that attracted President Obama’s attention reveals diverse perspectives. Every letter bears unique content and must match the criteria needed to have the president read and purplish it. This paper offers such critical skills of writing a great letter to the president. Writers must address the concerns of victims they intend to tell the president. If it is an appreciation letter, express gratitude to the president. Let the president know you are happy with the actions of his administration.
Aleena K. Letters to President Obama. Obama White House Archives, 2016, Web.
Anonymous. Letters to President Obama. Obama White House Archives, 2010 Web.
Cousineau, Sheryl. Letters to President Obama. Obama White House Archives, 2015. Web.
Lamar, Ambriance. Letters to President Obama. Obama White House Archives, 2016. Web.
Valenzuela, Brandon. Letters to President Obama. Obama White House Archives, 2014. Web.
Young, Ashley. Letters to President Obama. Obama White House Archives, 2016. Web.
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