Sound Off

Open Thread: Your Letter to the Next President

Sheryl Oring wants your thoughts for the next boss. Click to view. hide caption

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What would you like to tell the next president?

We'd like to know — and so would artist Sheryl Oring. Using an old manual typewriter, Oring will be taking dictation on Monday in Bryant Park for letters to the next commander-in-chief, as part of her project "I Wish to Say."

You can get in on it now. Drop your letter to the next president (in less than 400 words, if you can) in the comments. We'll ask Oring to include some of them in work next week.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Dear Mr. President,
I hope, I hope your name is Barack Obama!
If so, I will be in Washington, D.C., for your inauguration, praying that at this turn in our history, as at so many others, America will be blessed with the courage, unity, compassion and smarts equal to the tasks facing humanity.
Len Edgerly, Denver and Cambridge, Mass.

Sent by Len Edgerly | 8:55 AM | 5-16-2008

Dear Mr. President,

I would implore you to end the siren call of a growing fascist culture in this country. You have said that you will begin pulling out of Iraq upon your election; I would call upon you to expand this policy to include all military outposts stationed in some 150 countries around the world. Much as the British Empire faced following the Second World War, we too have overextended our military in a failed quest for an "American colonization". This has placed an enormous strain on our economy and status in the world, while shifting the burden to military families who suffer in silence. We must draw down the military and reinvest our tax dollars in education, health care, infrastructure and renewable energy. Ron Paul has written very eloquently about this policy shift - we have lost our way trying to police, bribe and occupy unwilling nations. The "war on terror" is not fought with occupation and heavy armaments; it is waged with diplomacy and counter intelligence. End the failure of Jingoism, the antithesis of what our founding fathers had envisioned for a nation built upon the rights and freedoms of all, not just the citizens of our country.

Leigh Cutler
Montpelier, VT

Sent by Leigh Cutler | 9:17 AM | 5-16-2008

Dear Mr. President,
Please bring respect back to the White House and to the halls of congress. No more name calling. Deal with problems before personal scandals result in political fights that are embarrassing on the international stage. Be responsible for your decisions, just as I am responsible for mine. Remember there are those of us who still actually pray for the leaders even if we do not agree with their decisions. Lead wisely and listen to as many voices as you can from the common man and woman rather than the insulated politicians in Washington. Do your best so my children can respect you even if they do not always agree with you!

Sent by T. Weiss | 9:32 AM | 5-16-2008

Dear President,
Please, just be nice. Try to make this country an honest place, a pleasant place where people want to live. Do this without trampling on the dignity of others and destroying our earth. Try not to be exclusionary either. Is that so hard?

Sent by laura | 11:09 AM | 5-16-2008

Dear Mr. President,

Please nominate only Supreme Court jutices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. It's a bad decision based on poor juris prudence, without a shread of constitutional justification to support it. At least two, and potentially three, nominations will be part of your Administration, and it will leave a lasting legacy of your Administration to have this monstrosity overturned and have the debate over the sanctity of life return to the State houses, where it belongs.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 1:08 PM | 5-16-2008

Dear Mr. or Madam President,

Welcome to your new job. I hope someone's shown you how to find the bathroom and a hot cup of coffee. As one of your new bosses, I have a few requests regarding your conduct in the office.

Firstly, please own up to your mistakes. I will respect you if you say "I messed up" and then take aggressive steps to rectify the situation. If you get arrogant or pretend like I and your other 300-plus million bosses are dumb, you will lose me very quickly. Please keep a few close advisers who disagree wildly with you and will challenge all your great ideas, perhaps even people outside your party (it's a shocking notion, I know). Alternate viewpoints lead to robust, well-informed decisions. If someone's not doing their job, for heaven's sake, show them the door. Promptly.

Be brave. Be humble. Be curious. Be thorough. And then, be decisive.

Take deliberate steps to restore our standing with international neighbors. We are disturbingly short on good friends. Also, I don't expect you to hug a tree, but do what you can to protect and heal this planet from the myriad of ways we are abusing her. She is in trouble, which means we are in much bigger trouble. Please don't reward the obscenely rich with more riches. Please extend aid, inspiration and incentives generously to the ragged remainder of the middle class and the poor. Take very, very good care of the farmers, and I'm not talking about the big guys. Lift up our teachers. Support our students. Reward honorable effort generously, but make sure people earn ongoing rewards. America was not built on a free lunch.

Wear your personal faith proudly, but lightly. Show respect to those who are on a different spiritual path. The Oval Office is not a pulpit. Keep church out of your legislation and out of our Supreme Court. Every so often, get back in direct touch with the people who elected you, and even the people who didn't. Listen intently to what they tell you.

Eat well. Exercise. Take time to sleep. Reserve time for your family. Keep children around you to remind you who you're really working for. Maybe get a dog. Do the best you can. Make us proud. You can do it.

Sent by Caroline S. | 1:27 PM | 5-16-2008

Dear Mr. or Mme. President.

Congratulations on your new job. I can only imagine how grueling it was getting there.

My son is only 17 months old. Hopefully, he will have a long and happy life.

But, I worry all the time for him. I guess all mothers do.

The world's climate is changing so rapidly. I worry that California won't have any water because the snowpack will always be inadequate. I worry that our beautiful National Forests will be filled with dry and dead trees. I worry that all he will know is time of instability and human suffering due weather changes, failed crops, and terrible storms.

Please do what you can to save this world of ours. This mom would really appreciate it.

Sent by Teddy King | 1:29 PM | 5-19-2008