Dear President Barack Obama,
Before you set off writing the next chapter of your life, I want to take this occasion to thank you for your service to our country and to the global community.
Thank you for your alerting the world to the threats and dangers of “crude nationalism” presented in the guise of “popularism,” which feeds on people’s fears and prejudices resulting in the separation of people and nations from one another.
Thank you for your audacity to hope for a better, more inclusive country and world, one that comes closer to fulfilling our founding goal of ensuring liberty and justice for all, one that cherishes our diversity while truly exemplifying E Pluribus Unum.
Thank you for your brilliance of intellect that guides your every decision, and filters the noise and distraction in the cacophony of voices around you.
Thank you for your charm that often disarms even your most ardent skeptics once in your presence.
Thank you for your commitment to the most important of your priorities, your family, by never allowing your work to cloud your connections with loved ones.
Thank you for your dedication in protecting the environment by working to save and sustain the earth for current generations and those yet to come.
Thank you for your dignity in how you express and carry yourself, even when others do not reciprocate in kind.
Thank you for your empathy in reaching out to the marginalized, dispossessed, and scapegoated among us, and in attempting to bring them into the center of our society.
Thank you for your fortitude among the onslaught of obstructionism cascading like torrents from across the ever-widening aisle.
Thank you for your gentleness in redefining the truly gentle man in a world and a nation of increasing toxic hyper-masculinity.
Thank you for your grace under tremendous odds by those who have attempted to bring you down from the beginning of your tenure, and in the face of the incessant barrage of criticism and attacks on your very humanity and your qualifications to hold the highest office in the land.
Thank you for your heroism in never giving up even in tough times when the hill you have chosen to climb in the distance is, in fact, a seemingly unassailable mountain the closer you approach it.
Thank you for your humor and your tendency never to take yourself too seriously, and your ability to roast yourself when the occasion calls for it.
That you for your integrity, which you are never willing to sacrifice in exchange for mere material or political rewards.
Thank you for your judgment in keeping forever on course and attentive, preventing you from swerving into potentially dangerous political terrain.
Thank you for your kindness that comes forth in your treatment of the people you meet, especially when you are in the company of the youngest among us.
Thank you for your love of people, love of country, love of service, and your evident love of life itself.
Thank you for your mensch-ness (Yiddish, “a person of integrity and honor”), the qualities that have secured your place in that great pantheon of “the good.”
Thank you for your mindfulness in concentration, focus, study, and understanding of self, and your ability to “be here now” at the moment.
Thank you for your nobility, that virtually indefinable quality emanating from deep within.
Thank you for your oratory precision in presenting a clear and sustained message, and in mobilizing your enthusiastic supporters to rally beside you.
Thank you for your patience in seeing the big picture and in continuing your course in reaching your goals, even when others deposit giant boulders to block your way.
Thank you for your pragmatism in your continued efforts to unite the disparate states of the fractured United States of America.
Thank you for your pride in your multiple identities, and in serving as a positive and constructive role model to others who may have never imagined reaching the pinnacle of their potential.
Thank you for your principles, which you never sacrificed for the sake of mere expediency or popularity.
Thank you for your quick wit that often delights your supporters and challenges your detractors to raise the level of discourse ever higher.
Thank you for your respect for other nations, and by so doing, bringing back respect for our country and for the office of the presidency from people and leaders worldwide.
Thank you for your steadfastness to diplomatic negotiations in conflict resolution whenever and wherever possible rather than the raising of arms.
Thank you for your temperament, one of the most, or possibly the most, crucially important quality in functioning effectively and responsibly in the highest and most critical position in our country.
Thank you for your understanding of the full enormity of the awesome responsibilities you inherited upon election, responsibilities you have never shirked, relegated, or denied.
Thank you for your values that serve as the foundation of your beliefs, actions, interactions, responses, and initiatives.
Thank you for your vision in seeing the true potential of the United States to ultimately attain the end goals in this great experiment in democracy.
Thank you for your warmth and your willingness to listen and truly to hear others’ opinions in carefully weighing numerous options before coming to a final decision.
Thank you for your xenial nature allowing people who do not know you well to relax in your company.
Thank you for your xenophilia amid conditions where some political leaders and would-be leaders promote xenophobia to divide and conquer in their quest for power.
Thank you for maintaining your youthfulness in your boundless exuberance and optimism, especially when the going was difficult in repairing a ruptured economy and bringing peace to an endangered world.
Thank you for your continued zest for life, and for serving your country and the planet these past eight years during all the ups and downs in world and domestic events on this roller coaster called “politics.”
Though you may take all I have stated as too high a praise, know that you are loved and truly admired by a great many people around the world. Even though I have never stated this before to any politician—well, except to Eleanor Roosevelt who was not a politician in the electoral sense—I say it to you now.
Barack Obama, I love you very much! I will miss you as a part of my life on a daily basis. I predict, though, that you will conduct one of the most exciting and impactful post-presidencies in our history.
I can also see in my mind’s eye your return for an extended stay in the White House:
We will remember to go high when they go low: MICHELLE IN 2020!
Go in peace and health my friend,
Warren J. Blumenfeld
Photo credit: Getty Images