An Open Letter: America still needs you, Mr. President

In the age of Trump, there's still a need for hope and change, Smith writes.

Lee Eric Smith, | 1/19/2017, 12:41 p.m.
In the age of Trump, there's still a need for hope and change, Smith writes.

But there you were in Chicago, Mr. Obama. Reminding us of the best of America. Politely but firmly calling out partisanship in politics; telling us to get out of our comfort zones and look for common ground with other Americans. There you were, in front of God and everybody, getting emotional while you talked about your beautiful, brown-skinned wife, and bragging on your daughters. There you were challenging us all, regardless of how we voted, to get engaged and stay engaged with shaping our democracy.

There you were, at the end of your presidency, just like you were at the beginning — inspiring hope, rallying America to change.

My hope, Mr. President, is that you take a few weeks off, decompress, kiss your wife, hit the links, play a few rounds of golf. Get some rest.

But when you come back, I’m praying you return to campaign mode. Unleashed from political office, I’m hoping that you will use your gravitas, your humor, your wisdom, your oratory, your common sense to speak to the soul of our great nation. I’m asking you to lead a movement of the people, like you did in 2008.

I’m not calling for you to lead a coup. I’m asking you to speak to the best of America, to remind us that regardless of skin color, religion, party or state, we are all Americans.

I’m asking you to help us realize that line you made famous when you burst onto the scene in 2004: “We are not the red states of America, or the Blue States of America. This is the UNITED States of America!”

We are at a critical time in our nation’s history. Given the contentious nature of the campaign, the KNOWN tampering by Russia and his pre-presidential behavior, it’s no stretch to say that a Trump presidency could cripple our nation for decades to come — unless We The People step up and say otherwise. We The People need someone to remind us we can do that. President Obama, we need YOU to remind us we can do that, Mr. Obama. Consistently. Frequently.

What will your legacy be? I believe it won’t take long for America to appreciate the Obama Administration. I believe you’ll go down as one of the greatest American presidents ever, mentioned in the same breath as FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan. But I dare say that your presidency won’t be the biggest part of your story, Mr. President.

Your legacy is still being written.

Lee Eric Smith is an associate editor of The New Tri-State Defender. He’s also an author, speaker and the creative force behind the online project “A Message From God.” Visit