Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama (and a Writing Lesson)

Dear President Obama,
Congratulations, I’m glad you won, and please accept my apologies for having beaten you up over the past several months. But somebody had to do it - truly.

If I can digress from politics for just a second, I will tell you why – the reason, absurdly, lies in the art of memoir (writing about one’s own experience). The first rule of writing memoir is the writer must acknowledge his/her role and responsibility in any bad situations endured (or in writing class if you want to sound like you know what you’re doing, the magic word is “self-implication”), and also to remember not to excessively villainize the person who harmed the writer, without somehow also humanizing the rotten jerk. Because if the writer does either of these, human nature leads the reader to try to find the good in the villain (creating sympathy for the wrong character) and to look for the ways in which the writer was less a victim and more pathetic, ridiculous or just plain annoying.

So all that to say, Mr. Obama, with the media singing your praises left and right and the people with whom I work on a local political issue here in Oregon, literally looking at me like stunned salmon and beginning to weep at the mere mention of your name – well, please just understand that I had no choice but to try to be the voice of reason. I had no choice but to point out that “hope” is just a useless poetry-store word, nee you get an F minus minus if you use it in an actual poem in writing school. I had no choice but to explain that you’re one human person. A human person who will be an infinitely better president than W (but then who wouldn’t be?), but a human person nonetheless, and you have a long road ahead of you.

It won’t be long now before you’ve pissed a bunch of people off, and all those excited young people become disillusioned, and then finally (finally!) I promise I will be here to tell them, you’re not so bad, you’re just doing your job. And a very tough job it is, indeed.
All the best,
Staci Schoff

2 comments:

Anjali said...

That's too funny. We don't have many people like that here in Red State. I bet that did get annoying!

Tiffi33 said...

I think that is absolutey a WONDERFUL letter...and I agree!
in PA we were a blue state (somehow..despite the majority of Pa voting red..go figure...)