Sunday, April 11, 2010


I recently learned that Barack Obama, ever since day two of his presidency, reads 10 "unvetted" letters each day.

I hadn't heard about "un-vetted" things, till McCain picked Sarah Palin without having her thoroughly checked by his campaign managers. "Worknik," an online dictionary, says "unvetted" has been looked up recently, 494 times, and generally refers to an appraisal by a veterinarian. (I'm chuckling -- a vet might have warned us that Palin's bark is worse that her bite.)

A black binder "briefing book" arrives every evening at the White House before 8 p.m. President Obama takes it upstairs to begin his nightly reading. The book contains printouts of speeches, policy recommendations and scheduling notes -- also a purple folder, which Obama often reads first.

A memorandum is clipped to the purple folder. "Per your request, we have attached 10 pieces of unvetted correspondence addressed to you."

What it means to me is that the man, the guy, the confident, energetic Obama who ran for President despite all the negative comments -- it won't work, it'll never happen, it's impossible, you don't have a chance -- and ugly remarks, attacks on him as a Black, threats against him and his family -- the man in the White House is still the same strong, confident, energetic guy.

It's hard to believe; but it's ... well ... it's reassuring, affirming, to have this bit of news tucked away in my side pocket (along with pictures of T-shirts printed with Psalm 109.8, willing wearers to assassinate Obama and his family.)

It means Obama is un-wavering in his goals, despite a very difficult year. The things that would confuse me, depress me, make me question what I'm doing -- polls, and the poorly functioning, stalled Congress -- are not distracting him.

What the President did with Health Care Reform was what he decided he had to do.

I think it means that Obama is not thinking about himself, and a second term. He is focused on what he knows the country needs

My sister Doro, my housekeeper, is Black. (I call her "my sister" because she is my sister and friend.) I hear her, nowadays, repeating what she's heard from other Blacks and the television news -- "Obama isn't doing what he promised. He isn't helping us."

I've told her, firmly, strongly -- he is. Doro nods, but doesn't believe me. She can't see the changes, or feel them. Although almost everything in her home-life is subsidized by the city, state and federal government, she is uneducated, stuck in the way that her family, her friends, her neighbors, and their friends and neighbors are stuck.

Yes, Em, her white sister, has told her about the unvetted letters, and I will keep telling her about the other ways Barack Obama is helping us at home and abroad -- saying "Thank God, thank you, and all the Americans who voted for him -- we have a great leader, a man we can trust in the White House.
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