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Hope was mentioned now and again as you campaigned for the office you will assume in January. We have some hopes we’d like to see you fulfill once there.
This is not simply a wish list. Failure to pursue honorable courses of action threatens this nation in ways most of us don’t care to imagine. We don’t care to forecast, for example, what might become of our country if our largest banks and other companies tuck our hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money into their pockets and walk away, leaving many of us without homes and jobs.
The first and largest of our hopes is that your election proves we have adopted a standard voiced by Martin Luther King Jr., that a man be judged not by the color of his skin but by the quality of his character.
We hope America will move back to a place of honor on the world stage. For that to occur will require the undoing of a number of evils written into American history by the current and past administrations. It will require that we return to the idea that only Congress can declare war, and that Congress step up to the job it was established to do.
Practices such as extraordinary rendition, torture and the use of signing statements have become common and accepted. We must prohibit them from being performed by Americans so we may exercise our moral duty to condemn them elsewhere.
We must put meaning back into our voicing of the concept that war is to be used only when peaceful efforts fail.
If reasons exist to abandon the ideals or the system of checks and balances our forefathers established, let’s have discussion on the national level, through the officials elected to represent us. Many lives were sacrificed to free us from the tyranny of a king. Many of those who witnessed and suffered in that struggle gathered and fought another battle, to forge a constitution that guaranteed tyranny would remain in the past.
That guarantee, and the trust of Americans in the government we hire to serve us, have been violated by recent administrations. Tyranny is once again upon us, in the form of national leaders, for example, who deem acceptable and necessary the monitoring of citizens’ conversations.
In describing your support of a bill that would protect us from government spying, you said, “No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people — not the president of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed.”
We hope you will redraw those lines, and pull this nation back to its proper side of them. We admire the strength of your statement and the American values embodied within it. We hope you will return to that philosophy and abandon the mindset that terrorism justifies the sacrifice of our rights.
Our hope extends well beyond the time you will serve in office, Mr. Obama. We hope you will raise the bar for those who follow you into the White House.
You, sir, will take the helm of a nation that once reigned as a shining beacon of hope to people around the world.
The task ahead of you is gargantuan. Please know we’re solidly behind you when we say: We have the highest of hopes in you.
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