I am writing because your election is critical to mankind. I do not believe this to be hyperbole, but the obvious deduction anyone can see. The reason your election is critical is because you understand team. The team concept is based on the participation of everyone on the team. The coach does not decide the outcome, the players, mankind, do.
ESPN is the place America goes to understand team. Each of us is drawn to the colors and mascot of something we believe in, our team. I am a proud member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, and my colors happen to be this Nations. My mascot, the Eagle. Mr. President, you are my coach. We are in the fourth quarter and we need a Hail Mary like on Monday Night Football last night.
But winning the game isn't always the best outcome. Like the game last night the Seahawks won, but the victory wasn't just. It lacked justice. Everyone saw the problem but because the officials understood the rules wrong the wrong team won (understand that I am a die-hard Seahawks fan). The common people want justice, they want their team to win, but it has to be fair, played out by the rules.
The fact is I want every one in mankind to be on the team. But our election right now defines the almost impossibility of this. If Mitt Romney wanted to help America he would start building team instead of building division. He would stop the campaign and ask the People to please consider his candidacy, and then let his actions define him. He would not fight you Mr. President, he would ask you what he could do to help mankind. Then, he would look to the man, woman, and child on his right, left and center and ask, what can we, those of us here, what can we do to help mankind?
That is team building. John F. Kennedy told us all, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” This was not a question, or suggestion, but direction. And President Kennedy provided opportunity, Peace Corp, and other programs directly linked to the betterment of mankind.
What if the system denoted by the idea welfare were a program of enrichment and not donation. That everyone receiving government aid would have to help mankind everyday in order to receive compensation. This simple act puts responsibility back into the individual, creating agency.
The unemployment line would go away if each unemployed person was talked to individually and helped with a game plan, not just money, and the idea of training. But individual contact that will tailor a program for each individual. Sure, it will take money, but putting people to work is what we have to do right now. By hiring qualified people to assess each unemployed person across the country, and then using computer databases across the country, people can be matched to jobs across the country.
I understand team because I volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America. In fact, last summer I was the Head Commissioner for a Scout camp in the Grand Canyon Council. I have been a scout my whole life. From Cubs, through my Eagle Scout award, and on throughout my life. I simply do not remember not being a Boy Scout.
Scouting is the very definition of team building. But what's more the organization, like thousands across the country are interested in more than themselves and can be understood as team building organizations. The USA needs to be thought of as a team building organization. Seeing the medals of US Olympic athletes gives each of us a thrill. How can we make the feeling of simply being an American that same thrill?
I have a lot of ideas about team building; along with something I call prisoner theory. I call it prisoner theory because I spent around 10 years in both Federal and State prisons. During that span, if I wasn't in prison, I was on the street with my wife Michelle, shooting heroin, and also engaging in the act of living.
Mr. President, I had fallen a long way from high school swim team captain. I've attached pictures of me of the last ten years, or so. Currently, I am pursuing my PhD in English at the University of Louisiana @ Lafayette (quite a progression, from prisoner to PhD). But getting my doctorate was not on my mind the last time I got out of prison-Limon, Colorado, 1999.
Instead, I wanted a cigarette. I wanted to eat; I wanted to get rid of the fuchsia button up and slightly too tight pants. In other words I wanted to take care of myself. So I began the process of doing that. I learned to take responsibility for my actions instead of blaming everyone else for my problems. I guess I grew up. But I also saw my responsibility as something greater than taking care of myself. I saw the responsibility to take care of my fellow man.
At the time, living in a halfway house, I joined Narcotics Anonymous (NA). I'd been clean for a while in prison and found it rewarding to help other people stay clean while I did as well. Helping is seen as a part of the process in NA. And through this process I took on several regional roles in NA and found myself a passionate person, able to articulate my passion (as a camp commissioner I can rally the hardest audience in the world, 12-18 year olds).
During these first years out of prison I built a plumbing business from hard work. I had purchased a home four years after walking out of prison. I was seen as a productive member of society. Until, the economy. It is enough to say that without the details, because the details are messy. This was under President George W. Bush.
I was bummed. Lost everything, again. I wanted to re-enlist but that way was closed because I was a convict. So, I went to school. In 2005, I had my high school diploma. In 2008, a B.S. in Journalism, and then in 2010, I received my M.A. in English. It was almost impossible to get into graduate school because of the competition and the fact I had to mark yes to the question, have ever been convicted of a crime? This question has kept me out of many places, and the upper echelon of higher education has been one of those places.
The bottom line is that hard work, even impossible work, can be done. And team is the way it needs to happen. It is time we answered a new call to arms: Change (we as a people need to change ourselves before we can change the country). Mr. President, I believe I have a unique perspective on this and several other issues. I would like to discuss them with you, or your representative. I think I can help you retain your post.
And all I am asking is that you put me in coach.
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
February 13, 2013
Dear Mr. President,
Your address to our country on the State of the Union last night was a breath of fresh air. I was at once excited about the future possibilities for our country as I was made aware of the great burden humanity must take on to overcome Global Warming. This is the cost of our moment in history. This is our great gift and our ultimate responsibility. We are stewards of our planet and must gather every resource in order to save us all.
Mr. President, I believe that this moment is perfect for so many of your visions. America is ripe for social change. And you are definitely a tuned to what I agree must be done to future boost our economy and aid in the stewardship of our planet. Today, we must assure ourselves that there will be prosperity long into our future. As a country we must build for this expansive future. Always looking to the newest trends and technology. You emphasized this very important point Mr. President, “Let's get it done.”
In your address Mr. President you outlined massive projects you envision being accomplished during your presidency. One of these projects is repairing our Nation's bridges so that our infrastructure does not fail our countries growth. This is a perfect example of the gaps inherent in so massive a government. But you pointed out correctly that our government needs to be more effective and less wasteful.
Another of your most valid points is the state of higher education in our country. Today Mr. President, I have over $100,000 in student debt. I do not regret the education I received as it has helped to fashion the thoughtful and caring individual I am. Student loans are an example of the greatest our government can achieve. Virtually anyone in America who desires a higher education can find avenues to pursue that education. The problem, as you pointed out, is the extreme debt generated by pursuing higher education.
What I purpose is a combining of the problems outlined in your address. Why not have those who have used government money to achieve higher education help America using the exact skills they were trained for? How many civil engineers are currently out of work and drowning in financial aid debt? And the state of our countries infrastructure is in appalling condition. By establishing a process of loan forgiveness for those who are willing to pay back America a process could be started that brings our Nations brightest to the center of service.
I recently wrote you regarding an idea I have for improving international relations in Afghanistan and the beginning of the process of building Afghan leaders to serve their own people. Imagine if this could be carried out in the form of loan forgiveness? That is, I give of myself to pay back my financial aid debt.
I agree that Global Warming is an issue that must be answered. Why can't those who our government has paid to get educated help in this and almost every problem currently facing our Nation? I understand that the administration of this proposal would be very large, but I believe that individuals seeking debt relief from their country could be used to administer the whole program.
One of the problems faced by every recent college graduate is a lack of practical experience. Suppose that our country establishes a system of loan forgiveness based on a post-graduate model where the individual gains valuable experience while paying off their debt? I imagine many corporations in America would favor a program of positional training based upon loan forgiveness.
Let's get it done Mr. President. We can use those trained in education to spend a 2-year pay off period in which they provide quality education from pre-school until high school. The resource of recent graduates that have massive financial aid debt is an ever-growing community, one that would readily agree to a way to get further training and freedom from education debt.
And with their debt forgiven, these highly trained and educated individuals will spend their hard earned money on our economy instead of simply paying off interest on a debt that will follow them for nearly 30 years.
Mr. President, I only want to help you to insure America's future is forever bright. We are a great people sir-and we simply need a chance to become greater.
Your faithful servant,
brian edward malnes
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
October 12, 2012
Dear Mr. President,
On November 4th of 2008, I walked into my local polling place believing I was breaking the law by voting for you. I believed this because no government official ever told me my franchise had been restored. Your election was so important to me that I believed I would go back to prison by casting my vote.
Mr. President, I am a multiple time loser having been convicted of several crimes over a period of years. The reason and nature of these crimes is not important. What is important is the fact I lost my rights when my first conviction was handed down in 1991. And since then nobody has given them back to me.
Voting is thought of as one of America's most sacred rights. Since the Civil War the issue of voting rights has occupied much of the significant political activity of government. Several Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have ensured the right to vote. But not every American can legally vote in the upcoming Presidential election.
Because the right to vote for the prisoner is a state issue there are millions of Americans who cannot participate in the most fundamental political process in our democracy. And not having a vote means that the individual has no voice in the United States of America. In essence, they are not citizens at all, merely bystanders to the American Dream.
Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” But the prisoner has been systematically deprived a voice to demand anything. In fact, freedom itself is a difficult concept for the prisoner.
Mr. President, I feel I must assure you that I am not interested in letting anyone currently in prison to be set free. I believe in the concept of justice and understand the necessity of a correction/rehabilitation system of some kind. But the idea of taking away rights, such as the right to vote, is morally reprehensible to me.
Many advocates of the prisoner have stood firmly against injustice. Groups such as The Sentencing Project and Amnesty International work tirelessly in support of the prisoner; however, the prisoners themselves are not actually heard in a meaningful way. This is due to the elimination of rights deemed unalienable by your predecessor Thomas Jefferson.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These fundamental rights are the real basis on which America was created. And yet, these same rights have been taken away by a judicial system based on a morally principled majority. It is done because that is the history of America. When someone is convicted of a crime his or her rights are taken away. It is the “eye for an eye.”
Ayn Rand wrote, “'Anything society does is right because society chose to do it,' is not a moral principle, but a negation of moral principles and the banishment of morality from social issues.” And for a morally principled majority it has been deemed necessary to remove human and civil rights from American citizens.
Part of my personal citizenship is the fact I served my country. I am a proud member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and consider myself a patriot. And yet, because I committed a crime my right to vote was taken away-but why? I broke a civil ordinance by stealing, but how does that constitute the removal of my right to vote? If it is simply a matter of making bad decisions, well, shouldn't people who have filed for bankruptcy also be disenfranchised? How about the politician caught in a lie, should they be disenfranchised?
Rights are indeed a slippery slop. I know you understand rights Mr. President because you are a Constitutional lawyer who went to law school. Would it surprise you to know that I am a Constitutional lawyer who read for the law like U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert H. Jackson? The difference of course is that my reading for the law happened in prison, and because of my conviction I will never be able to take the bar. I cannot become a lawyer due to bad moral character, according to the State of Washington.
If I were an attorney I would spend every minute using the American legal system for something worthy of its international acclaim. I would legally challenge every limitation of civil and human rights, including those on behalf of the most reprehensible characters in our society, the prisoner.
Mr. President, I am writing you because no one else will listen to me, and because I believe in you. You won the election of 2008 promising change. What better change than the restoration of civil and human rights.
I will continue to write to you Mr. President. And I hope one day my words actually find there way to you. You are the living representation of Hope and your continued presidency is the only way the process of equality can even begin to start.