It has just been revealed that Barack and Michelle Obama wrote a handwritten, heartfelt letter to the Parkland, Florida, students who survived the February 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and who went on to inspire a movement for common sense gun control law reform. The Obamas did not publicize the letter themselves, which makes it seem all the more heartfelt – instead Mic somehow obtained the letter just today. According to The Hill:
The Obamas thanked the survivors for speaking out against gun violence and helping to “awaken the conscience of our nation.” The former president and first lady closed by telling the students “we will be there for you.” The letter, dated March 10, was obtained by Mic on Wednesday. “We wanted to let you know how inspired we have been by the resilience, resolve and solidarity that you have all shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy,” the Obamas wrote. “Not only have you supported and comforted each other, but you’ve helped awaken the conscience of the nation, and challenged decision-makers to make the safety of our children the country’s top priority. Throughout our history, young people like you have led the way in making America better. There may be setbacks; you may sometimes feel like progress is too slow in coming. But we have no doubt you are going to make an enormous difference in the days and years to come, and we will be there for you.”
Mic tweeted an image of the letter in its entirety, adding “EXCLUSIVE: Here’s the letter @BarackObama and @MichelleObama wrote to the
#ParklandShooting survivors. In it, the former president and first lady tell the teens that they’ve ‘inspired’ them, and commend them on ‘awakening the conscience of our nation.'”
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s the letter @BarackObama and @MichelleObama wrote to the #ParklandShooting survivors. In it, the former president and first lady tell the teens that they’ve “inspired” them, and commend them on “awakening the conscience of our nation.” https://t.co/FOQYVguNFw pic.twitter.com/xEPHE6iUL2
— Mic (@mic) March 21, 2018
The contrast between this thoughtful, inspiring personal letter and the impersonal response of President Trump, who had to be told to say “I hear you” in a meeting with student survivors, could not be greater. Trump made initial promises to go against the NRA and back multiple gun control regulations, but has stepped back from many of them, including Trump’s initial indication that he favored raising the legal age to own long guns to 21, matching the legal age to own handguns. That age restriction seemed a very common sense measure, as it is ridiculous for society to decide someone under 21 can’t drink alcohol responsibly, hence the age 21 for legal drinking, but can use an assault rifle responsibly, so a legal age of 18 suffices. The lobbying of the NRA, its huge financial contributions to Republican candidates, including Trump, and its energized voters have led to lax gun control laws that do not match the sentiments of the majority of Americans.
It is time to align gun control laws with the sentiments of the majority of Americans, as opposed to the sentiments of the NRA. As President Obama tweeted the day after the shooting, “We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.”
We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we're doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 15, 2018
This is a reminder of so much of what we miss about the Obamas. People want a president (and a first lady) who have genuine empathy, who listen to the people they govern, who care about us, who are personal, respectful, and who use their office to help the people of this country. Unfortunately, all of those qualities are missing in the president we have now, who is a selfish, greedy bully.