THE BLOG

An Open Letter to Michelle Obama

10/06/2011 02:28 pm ET | Updated Dec 05, 2011

Carla Bruni wrote in her memoir that you were disillusioned with being First Lady: "It's hell, I can't stand it!" you said. Maybe that isn't true, but just in case it is, I thought I'd mention that many on the left share your feelings. Almost thirty percent of Democrats are so upset they want to dump your husband before the next election. We're all disillusioned.

When Barack was elected he promised he would close Guantanamo. To liberals like me, we were embarrassed that our country was torturing people in secret prisons in Poland, Syria and, as it turns out, even Libya. Using Orwellian doublespeak, Bush and Cheney re-framed the word "torture" as "enhanced interrogation" or "rendition." When confronted about violating the Geneva conventions, all we got from them was as a smirk.

So we voted for "Change" and thought at least our national embarrassment would come to an end. But three years on, Guantanamo is still in business, Michelle. What happened?

We voted for your husband because he had the courage to oppose the Iraq war. The implication that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11 was a lie. The allegation he was developing nuclear weapons was a lie. On the wings of two national lies we invaded a country that never even threatened to attack us. We killed, maimed, and blinded as many as 300,000 Iraqi citizens all told.

Your husband promised after he was elected to get us out of there in sixteen months. Well, we're now going on four years. We still have 50,000 troops there and are begging to stay longer. What happened Michelle?

Why not investigate the individuals who duped the American people into this war: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Pearle at the very least. The Brits had their 'truth commission.' Tony Blair was required to testify. Why not us?

Today we are killing people, either with drones or jackboots, in six different countries: Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. And it is costing $14 billion per month to do that.

We didn't vote for Barack Obama to increase the defense budget -- but he did. And we certainly didn't vote for him to take Bush's "freedom agenda" and expand it to six separate fronts, but he did that too.

What happened?

Detroit's inner city is 85 percent African-American. A third of its residents live below the poverty line as do 49 percent of its children. In the next few years Detroit will be closing half of it schools because it can't afford them. The city is $350 million in debt.

If your husband closed down these wars and repatriated those taxpayer dollars, you could rescue Detroit in a heartbeat. Ditto for Cleveland, Chicago, Newark, and the rust belt. One month's war budget could just about do it.

The unemployment levels in this country are atrocious, but African-American unemployment is twice that of whites. Where is Barack Obama? What happened to him? Where has your husband gone?

In his campaign for the presidency, he spoke forcefully and convincingly about South Korea selling us a million cars a year but only buying 5,000 cars from us. He deplored the trade imbalance in front of a group of American autoworkers, but since his election nothing has happened. South Korea, China, and Japan still engage in obscene protectionism and currency manipulation and continue draining America of its manufacturing jobs.

Isn't it about time for a come-to-Jesus conversation Michelle?

Over 186 countries voted to condemn the U.S. embargo of Cuba, but it continues. We thought things would change with your husband, but they didn't.

Just think of it: the communist government of Vietnam killed 50,000 Americans, but since the Vietnam war, we kissed, made up, granted them most favored nations status, and now enjoy both free travel and booming trade. Why not for Cuba?

Cuba never killed any significant number of Americans -- less than 40 by my reckoning. Why continue the embargo? There were only two nations opposed to the U.N. vote. Why is Barack walking this path? Why is he making us a rogue state in the eyes of the world? We thought Bush cornered the market on that and all of these embarrassments would come to an end with Barack's election. They haven't.

Your husband made a great speech in Cairo. Superb! Eloquent! A new vision. A bold decision to help create a Palestinian state. It set the Arab world on fire, and may even be a reason why the Arab Spring is underway, but he retreated from that big time. A complete reversal.

Again, the United States will be among only a handful in the U.N. who vote against Palestinian statehood. The right wing, intransigent Benjamin Netanyahu even said your husband deserved a medal for his reversals. Not much of an endorsement and certainly not why I voted for Barack Obama.

Isn't it time for some serious pillow talk, Michelle?

George Bush eviscerated the American economy with his insouciant, look-the-other way orgy of speculation, corruption, greed, and cronyism. Eight million Americans were kicked out of their jobs. Two million were kicked out of their homes. The average American saw his life savings reduced by twenty-five percent, thanks to them.

But where are the indictments? Where were the investigations? Who went to jail for ripping off the American people? Even the head of the SEC who ignored the biggest thief in American history, Bernie Madoff, is living comfortably and thoroughly enjoying being off the hook.

Why not come back to your base, to your ideals, to the reason you came to Washington in the first place? Maybe it would seem less like hell if you did.

There is still time to get out of Iraq. We can leave as early as December. We can still change our Afghan policy too. We took out bin Laden, and that's enough. Enough of nation building. 60 percent of Pakistanis consider the U.S. the enemy. Ditto for a large share of the 25 million Pashtuns. Let the religious fanatics and opium drug lords figure out what to do next... without us! No need to stay.

We could be out in a few months. Your husband, the commander-in-chief, can do that all by himself.

He can still close Guantanamo, and he can still make every effort to lift the embargo on Cuba.

Instead of kissing up to the Tea Party in hopes they won't shut down the government, shut it down yourselves! Use the power of the presidential veto to stop all legislation until Barack's agenda is approved: No more Iraq! No more Afghanistan! No more Guantanamo! No more Cuban embargo! And a vote to support not oppose a Palestinian State!

Time to fire the advisers who murmur in your husband's ears that he should be killing people simultaneously in six different countries. Time to hire new ones who whisper instead: "Save Detroit, not Kabul!"

To be utterly candid, Michelle, it is said that no president was ever reelected with an unemployment rate over 7.2 percent in the last fifty years, and you are never going to make that. So the odds are you're going back to Chicago. Your hell will be over, but, you know, you can return home in one of two ways. You can say to yourself "Well, we sold out the people who elected us, continued and expanded the Bush-Cheney wars, pandered to the Republicans, extended the tax cuts for the richest 400 families in America, kept the embargo on Cuba alive, opposed a Palestinian state, and then got kicked out of the White House by a disillusioned electorate."

Welcome home!

Or you can say something quite different: "We reversed course, stood up for our ideals, acted decisively on ending these wars and on doing what we were sent here to do. We kept Detroit's schools open, and even though we lost the election, we can stand with our heads held high on the record of the first African-American president in American history."

Thirteen months left.

Time to talk to Barack, Michelle!

Jerry Kroth, Ph.D, may be contacted through his website, collectivepsych.com