Before You Become President (Dear Barack Obama)

Jose Vilson Jose

Barack Obama, Lincoln, Experience

Barack Obama, Lincoln, Experience

Dear President-Elect Barack Obama (or whoever handles your mail),

Like you, I’m just one man
A writer with a vision, a community organizer with dreams
Of an America where my President and Governer are Black in skin
Wise in their decisions
Vigilant in his ways
Persistent in his pursuit of justice
To do right by the American people
But sometimes I wonder if I’m asking too much from a man
Who preached change and hope to this author
When the sun rose over the White House,
It dawned over America the constant shadow
The last incumbent left upon the land
We live in a state where his ashes from the leaves in his stems
Float from sea to war-torn sea,
We see no refuge, but plenty of refugees
Your former opponent had enough houses to provide them shelter
And your future crib has enough rooms to put over a roof over these babies,
While water washes over former Cajun homes
Earthquakes crack brick
Brisk match-quick winds conflagrate rooftops of the rich and poor
Mayors and governors ignore the people’s will
Turn local governments into fiefdoms with a little money and a lot of PR
I’m not expecting you to work Messianic miracles
Walk across the Mediterranean,
Bring peace to Gaza and the holy lands,
Rub bandages to the Chinese protester prisoners
On their knees hoping for some restitution from this dictator authoritarianism
Sweep poverty from Russia and the Phillipines
Hold hands with the victims and survivors of diseases, infections, and afflictions in Darfur,
Zimbabwe, South Africa, and all points in between
Though I might ask you to pass around a basket with 1 loaf of bread and 1 fish,
And in the time it takes you to get a million or so fans on Facebook,
Have it FedExed to Oakland, CA,
with enough produce to feed the mourners
Of Oscar Grant and every dead civilian killed on account of their skin
Or their will,
Or their economic status,
Or who they choose to love,
Or whether they look like they belong in the land that postpones equal opportunity at will
So before you get cozy in the Oval Office,
Where many men have either uplifted or destroyed the lives of millions in one fell swoop
I want you to know that I’m proud of your successes
I want you to know that the shades that the White House now produce
I want you to know that this country, more than ever, needs your calm demeanor
Your spirit
Your willingness to listen
Your ability to champion the people as much as you champion yourself
As the sun sets, the shades on the other side of 1600 Pennsylvania now dance in your honor
Those shadows really the souls of MLK, Rosa Parks, Robert F. Kennedy, Madelyn Dunham
And the thousands of people who were laid to rest just for the one moment
And I want you to know that the Bible you’re asked to put your hand on,
You can hold
Wrap your fingers around it
Seize it for yourself first
But seize it for the rest of us who never could
Seize it for the rest of us who can’t
Seize it for the little boys and girls who haven’t yet …

Jose, who doesn’t want to wait …