Dom’s Mail Bag: A Reader’s Open Letter to the President

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I receive a lot of e-mails from readers of this blog. A little while back, I talked about President Obama’s view of entrepreneurship and how it ties into the notion of “American Exceptionalism” (most times it feels like “American Apology-ism.”

This week I received an e-mail from Gene Jardel of Pine Branch, New Jersey. His “Open Letter” to President Obama on American Exceptionalism is very unique and fresh. It is not harsh, but a very thoughtful and powerfully-presented essay.

Read it here and let me know your thoughts:

Dear President Obama,

For several years I have noticed charges leveled against you by your Republican counterparts professing that you don’t believe in American exceptionalism.  In as much as I can understand their reasoning, I do take exception to their accusations but not their criticisms.

For you to disbelieve in American exceptionalism, you would have had to experience it, and you never did.  American Exceptionalism is something that is earned and the rules are simple; you play harder than the next guy, you win, you work harder, you win. 

You see, here in the United States, in order to succeed, you often have to take your licks.  You get beat down, and then get up again.  Oftentimes, repeatedly.  You learn from your mistakes and emerge all the better for it. That’s just the way it works in this country and it has yielded some pretty exceptional people and things.

No, you don’t disbelieve. The actual fact, as I see it, is that you don’t even understand American exceptionalism.  Not having grown up here, that is almost excusable.  It is something that is wholly unknown to you because you missed America in your formative years. 

And that’s a shame because it was a great place to grow up and set your sights on the future. It is very unlikely that you ever played sandlot ball.  I doubt if you ever broke a bone by falling out of a tree or participating in competitive sports.  Or broke a neighbors window.

I wonder if you ever got into a schoolyard fight and ended up best friends with the other guy?  Did you ever build a hot rod?  Did you ever even dream of it.  Did you ever go fishing and catch a “wopper”?  Did you ever mow lawns for money?  Or have a paper route? Or get your pants caught in a bicycle chain?

Somehow I don’t think that you ever lived any of these things; these are just a few of the many very important ingredients
that make Americans what they are and America the idea that it is. Or was.  We call it foundation.

Here’s a question for you. A little known fact. Do you know what vehicles most millionaires in this country drive?   I will tell you: Ford F-150 pickup trucks. 

Yes, these people are millionaires, but they’re not lounging around abusing their minions, as you would have me believe.  They’re working hard to fulfill their dream; pounding a square peg into a round hole every day to meet the payroll and to do a better job than the next guy.  They want to win.  They want to do the best that they can for themselves and for their families.  Then, if they like, give some to their favorite charity or the Church of their choice. 

They earned that right. You see, that’s how it works here in the U.S.A.  Do you have an inkling of any of this?  To these people, “fair share” means work harder, earn more.  “Eliminating waste and fraud” isn’t just a catchy phrase that goes along with a toothy grin, it’s part of their daily survival.

American exceptionalism is distant and strange to you. And because these building blocks that are so unique to Americans were denied to you as a child, you are forgiven.  You are absolved for ignorance of our way of life.  It wasn’t your fault. 

But in pardoning you for this transgression, I would ask you one favor:  Would you please stop telling the successful people of this country that they don’t deserve what they spent a lifetime earning?  Please stop taking from the people that are pulling the wagon and giving it to those that are riding in the wagon.  Please stop pilfering from those that work for a living and giving to those that vote for a living. 

In other words, learn about us before you tell us what’s best for us. 

For generations, people that were “yearning to be free” have come to this country.  Many have sacrificed everything just to get to “the land of opportunity”.  Many knew nothing but a lifetime of hunger and poverty. They fought religious and political oppression and many surrendered all that they owned just for the opportunity to be here without a penny in their pocket.

This episode of our country’s history poses a question.  If your vision of this country ever comes to fruition, where then will we go?

Gene Jardel
Pine Beach NJ

19 Responses to Dom’s Mail Bag: A Reader’s Open Letter to the President

  1. Bill September 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Would you please stop telling the successful people of this country that they don’t deserve what they spent a lifetime earning? Please stop taking from the people that are pulling the wagon and giving it to those that are riding in the wagon. Please stop pilfering from those that work for a living and giving to those that vote for a living.

    The sad part is that it is so ingrained in the liberal playbook that it what they are about. They believe in the politics of envy. When the President said “you did not build that” it was very telling. How can they defend the following?

    During his 3.5 years in office, he has racked up $5 trillion in new debt, only to see that 3 million fewer Americans are employed now than in Jan. 2009.

    He even said when he started his term :
    . “A year from now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress,” Obama says. “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

    Well there has been no progress. all we have heard is excuse after excuse. As a coach many years said to a baseball player who made excuse why he made an error Make the play not excuses.

    Time to put another player in the game.

  2. Domenic Corsaro September 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Dear Dom Giordano,

    I never did any of the things that President Obama may not have done, either. None. I worked my way through La Salle College, back in the 60s, taught literature in secondary school for twenty years, do not own a Ford pickup, never played sandlot ball, nor done any of the things that you say our president has not done. What does that make me? Are you lumping me in with him. Heaven! I’m not president and I’ve never fallen out of a tree, either. Nor have I ~ nor have you, I suppose ~ ever been elected president of the Harvard Law Review. I’m horribly confused about just exactly who I am. Am I exceptional or not? I have a Graduate Degree in Communications from Temple U., but I do not feel that I have the benefit of “exceptional-ism,” whatever it is. I think it’s a made-up word that appeals to wealthy Republican snobs. Racists, too. I’m sorry if I do not fit your definition of exceptional. I’ve taught for decades, raised a family, made and lost $5 million in the market, but I do not feel exceptional. What’s wrong with me? I could use your help in fathoming this “exceptionalism” that is so important to you. Your friend, patronizes ~ yes, that’s a word ~ your president, and you do not give a good g.d. about it. I’d defend you on that point, but you do not have the character to defend your president. Shame on you. SHAME ON YOU! Domenic Corsaro, One of the good Siciliano Italians.

    • Dom September 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      Wow, quite harsh Domenic. I do not think the author’s letter/essay was condescending; he merely was speculating why President Obama on countless occasions seems to dwell on the philosphy that an individual’s success surely comes at the expense of others. Hard work, taking risks are a distant second to the “spread the wealth around” and “you did not build that” view he advocates.

      I do not understand how believing that America is “a shining city on a hill” is racist. We’re not a perfect country; but if we were not an exceptional country, why have generations of people from all around the world seek to come here?

      By the way, in terms of claiming I do not “defend” the president, I have publicly stated on numerous occasions that I believe he has tried to improve education, for example. It does not matter if a Republican or a Democrat is in the Oval Office, I will defend/support them when they deserve it…and challenge them when they deserve it as well.

    • Neil Kane September 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Mr. Corsaro,
      What Mr. Jardel was saying, I believe, used elements of metaphor and symbolism. You seem to be using some hermeneutic of literary fundamentalism in your unfair criticism.
      You seem to be shocked that you might be “lumped in” with Pres. Obama. I myself would be horrified since I think his policies have been, let us say, ‘exceptional’, though not in a very benign sense. I don’t think Obama has truly had the kind of childhood and growing experiences most Americans have had. (I believe the Rev. Al Sharpton stated that in a rather vigorous way about Mr. Obama.) If you want to strain out gnats and swallow camels, feel free. Your insouciant use of the word “racists” is sad and tedious.
      Lighten up.

  3. Domenic Corsaro September 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    P.S. I do not expect you to have the character to “moderate” and post my remarks on this B.S. point that your Blog buddy, Gene Jardel, Pine Beach NJ, has so impressed you with. His condescending tone impressed you. You are easily impressed, Sir. His argument sits on a false premise, and you have fallen out of your tree in not seeing that and in not faulting him for it. Instead, you credit his patronizing tone by Re-posting it on your Web site. I’ll not “Confirm” to follow you unless I see an intelligent critique, from you, that excoriates your earlier adulatory opionion of Mr. Jardel’s shallow premise and foolish analogies. Has Obama ever fallen out of a tree? Does he own Ford pickup truck. Are you serious? He’s our president before the entire free world and you praise Mr. Jardel for asking the dumb questions of Obama that you both think have some to do with “American Exceptionalis.” Give me a break. I’m beginning to wonder if the people who follow your Web site are adults. Or adolescents posing as adults.

    • Dom September 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

      You are welcome to call my radio show to express your opinions further, Domenic. I will give you a fair shot at impressing my audience with your position. Just refrain from any further insults about the people who read or contribute to this blog.

  4. Patricia September 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Domenic Corsaro ~ One thing I have learned while being “on the fence” and being a sponge listening to both sides before the election is that liberals are quite insulting, extremely sensitive, provoking & wildly defensive like an adolescent. I might fall off the “fence” instead of “out of a tree” right into the right….. Yes Domenic….it’s’ me….Patricia

  5. Bill September 3, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    I do not understand how believing that America is “a shining city on a hill” is racist

    Dom

    It is racist because they say it is. I have had political discussions about president Obama’s policy to be told I object to his policy because he is black. I was channel hopping the other night and stumbled onto msnbc to hear supposedly intelligent people tell the audience the code words that mean racism.

    Is the following code for racism?

    During his 3.5 years in office, he has racked up $5 trillion in new debt, only to see that 3 million fewer Americans are employed now than in Jan. 2009.

    Had to ask.

  6. Patty September 3, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    I LIKE the letter and think it was well intended and composed!

  7. Larry Cohen September 3, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    With all due respect to Domenic my family is from
    Bensonhurst Brooklyn which was only Jews and Sicilians.

    Why don’t you look it up on line and you will see
    half the names on the stores are Italian names
    on the store fronts.

    Sicilians ,that had never seen a school in Sicily ,
    couldn’t be stopped from opening up stores
    in Brooklyn and living the American
    dream.

    And just to disprove your view that America
    is not an exceptional country he should take
    a trip to Italy and try to open up a bakery.

    No insult to the wonderful Italians ,you have to get
    a permit from the govt to open up ANY business
    and “the permit never comes”.

    Same people, different country !!!!

    If you think I am a stooge of the right
    got to Brooklyn and then get yourself
    a cheap ticket to italy and do your own
    investigation.

    Then you will see the difference
    between Europe and here.

  8. Don September 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Extremely well written piece! And, the retort by Domenic serves to underscore the fundamental differences between Progressives and their opposition: we, the “opposition” tend not to resort to vicious personal attacks, crudeness, and vulgarity. The Pee-party Progressives continue their environmental pollution of reality while urinating all over the Constitution.

  9. Gerry September 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    This is a very well written letter and I do agree with the writers points as it is hard to understand things you never experienced. That is not to say you have to play sandlot ball or get your pants caught in the chain but you have to experience the things all of uor neighborhoods provided us a sence of becoming a part of the greatest country in the world, at least it was at one time, and hopefully will be again. Many will say if you are against Presidnet Oboma you are a raceist, well I disabree with his policies and those he has surrounded himself with but raceist no, Colen Powell is balck and he would have gotten my vote and many of my others I know. I have been involved in health care law for over 20 years and there are studies that have concluded that if you want to reduce the need of health care you need to make people healthier the Obama plan will reward those that overeat, do not exercise and tax those who are staying in good health. Do you know that you will be paying 15% on the sale of your home in 2013 to pay for Oboma care? Before you support someone know what he is about not just the color of his skin. Learn what it means to grow up in America to be part of the melting pot. President Obama had a unique opportunity to unite America he is a biracial man and should have said like the races are united in him he will work to unite the races in American. Instead he has chosen to distence himself from his white heritage and cling only to his African American heritage. The writer is correct if you don’t experience it you can’t understand it.

  10. Norma September 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Gene’s letter is brilliant. You can tell it is written by a regular American guy who probably was in the military. A good upstanding American. Domenic C’s response was the typical liberal response…”It’s all about me”. Get off your high horse, Mr. C. Gene just gave some examples of things Obama doesn’t know about. I’m sure there are lots of things you have done that he doesn’t know about either. If you don’t feel exceptional in your own right, I feel sorry for you.
    My grandparents came here from Italy, just as yours probably did. They worked hard and raised 6 kids. THEY were exceptional in my eyes. They loved this country, as do I. I have a red, white and blue flag hanging in front of my house and I’m not ashamed to put my hand over my heart when I hear the national anthem.

    • Norma September 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

      Done

    • Liz September 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

      I loved Gene’s comments. They are the way he sees it. We all see things through the filtered lenses of our own personal experiences, which I believe was the very point of Gene’s analogy. Obama’s filtered lens is anti colonization, anti captitalism and a dream of his father’s to redistribute the earnings of those who work to support those who choose not to work. I.e those who vote for him. Obama’s brother said it best when he said “my brother takes care of the world so therefore because I am part of the world, he takes care of me.”. This of course, is the premise underlying socialism-communism.

  11. Larry Cohen September 4, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    What is so frightening about the left is that they are supposed
    to be the educated class .

    This is not the beginning
    of the twentieth century when communists and socialists
    gave noble speeches and nobody had seen
    these systems in practice.

    Obama is from Chicago and he knows
    these systems have collapsed Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland , Camden,
    Newark, and half of Phila already .

    He is attaching “noble intent ” to what is going
    on in Phila city counsel .

    Do you think Phila city counsel is
    trying to solve America’s problems
    every day when they meet ???

    We know the system Obama
    is advocating. We are trapped
    in it.

    Obama is telling is if we only send
    city counsel more money they will.

  12. Bruce G September 5, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    Republicans may be better served espousing the crux of Mr. Jardel’s letter. They support that our President denies American exceptionalism while Mr. Jardel adjudges that he, the president, right down to his very core is plainly unaware that such a thing even exists. Thus yielding in great part his “fair share” political philosophy that seems borderline socialistic to so many of us.

  13. Bill September 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Thus yielding in great part his “fair share” political philosophy that seems borderline socialistic to so many of us.

    I am amused when liberals talk about fair share. Of course they determine what is fair. Logically how can you talk about fair share when close to 50% pay nothing? Of course when has logic been a part of a liberals thought process.

    I was having a discussion once with a liberal colleague. he was going on and on about the rich and the poor and fairness etc etc. I asked him how much he had in his wallet. He had 50. I only had 10. In order to be fair I said he had to give me 20 dollars. He kept his 50.

  14. Bill September 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    As the hard IRS data has shown for years, the top ten percent of wage earners in this country pay 70% of all the income taxes collected. That means that these Americans paid 70% of Obama $3.5 trillion budget in 2010. That means that these Americans have been forced to pay 70% of every goddamn Obama budget since he was sworn in. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% of wage earners managed to pay only 1.85% of Obama’s $3.5trillion.

    According to liberal logic the bottom 50% is paying their fair share and the top ten percent is not!

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