Letter to President Obama and response (2014)

Around April-May 2015

About the same time I wrote to Governor Kate Brown et al, I sent a brief note to President Obama. I composed this letter at the library on SE Belmont Avenue. While I was writing the letter, and frequently while I was using those computers at that time, strange people would populate the terminals around me (by this I mean, they appeared to be in disguise and/or acting theatrically bizarre) and, while unlike at the Portland Community College labs I rarely had trouble with my accounts being accessed remotely while on the network, this day was an exception. I originally thought I would send the letter by mail, and was composing it as a Microsoft Word document. Because of my experiences getting my work altered on networked computers, I had by this point developed a habit of copying my work as I went along, so it would potentially be available as a “backup” on the clipboard. So at some point, I moved off of the Word document for a moment, maybe to check the address on the browser – and then when I went to continue writing, it had vanished. As soon as I noticed that, a homeless-looking man at a nearby computer said out loud “where is it?” I did however, have the document copied onto my clipboard, so I just decided to send it quickly through the whitehouse.gov web form.

One thing I remember about this is that shortly after I sent the letter, I heard something on a morning TV show (Today show, probably) about President Obama responding to a boy’s letter about school shootings (my memory is the boy was in Chicago). Looking back, I see the President received a letter like that in December 2014. In any case, I received his response, I think to my Portland Community College email address, sometime in April or May 2015, as I recall. It seemed like a semi-personalized response, because I had started out the letter to him complimenting him on something (I can’t remember what) and showing appreciation for the First Lady having an organic garden, and the response from him began “Thank you for your kind words.” The main point I had made in the letter was how our rights were being violated, listing all of the laws I knew were being violated as I had done in the Kate Brown letter. Obama’s response thanked me for being among those fighting “against cynicism.” This was not something that made sense to me, so maybe the letter was less personalized than I’d thought. In any case, he didn’t offer any solutions to the problem at hand.

Months later, somebody, not me, deleted the response from President Obama off of my Gmail account, and all signs that I had ever contacted him.