Dear Mr. President,
After last night's debate, you addressed a rally of your supporters and the press in Florida. But then I repeat myself. You chose this occasion, in front of a live audience of 11,000 or so to riff that Mr. Romney suffered from "at least Stage 3 Romnesia."
Mr. Obama, you are an ass. Not just an ass, but a colossal ass.
Are you so far detached from regular Americans that you don't realize hundreds of thousands of Americans struggle every day against that evil bastard cancer? Do you not realize that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month? Or maybe you just thought that NFL players suddenly decided that hideous shades of dayglo pink were dead sexy?
Mr. Obama, my wife's father was recently diagnosed with Stage IV (or Stage III, depending on the assessing specialist) squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx. We call him Poppy. Not the cancer, but my father in law. Poppy's cancer has invaded his thyroid cartilage and has spread to lymph nodes throughout his neck, and perhaps farther. The doctors do not know for certain.
I wrote extensively yesterday on Poppy's struggle with cancer and my family's struggle coming to terms with his mortality. I wrote of our grief. I wrote of our decision to rely on God and one another as we move forward together towards whatever outcome awaits Poppy, whether remission or death. I wouldn't expect that you'd read my piece, as you're a very important and busy man. Frankly, I wouldn't expect that you'd understand it had you read it, as we're one of those families in Upstate New York that bitterly clings to our God in times of trouble.
What I do expect from a grown man, and more so from the sitting President of the United States, is an understanding that your words are not merely words, they are the acts of a great nation. And the acts of a great nation have consequences. Traditionally, American presidents have carefully marshaled their words for maximum effect in service of well-though out objectives. Think John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, or Franklin Delano Roosevelt's declaration of war.
Not you, Mr. Obama. You chose to go the other way. You toss out unfunny one-liners, probably written by a staff of twenty-something speechwriters with no real world experience, without a thought for your words' impact on others. You are the most dangerous of men: a man with near limitless power, but without the wisdom to use your power properly.
But let's return to Poppy. In case you were wondering, Poppy started his cancer treatment yesterday. The doctors filled him full of poison, attempting to kill Poppy's laryngeal cancer without killing him. It's a fine dance, one doctors are still perfecting. As an added bonus, the doctors also are irradiating Poppy's tumor, burning the cancerous cells into oblivion. Poppy has the pleasure of having his head immobilized (essentially bolted to a table) for 20 or so minutes daily so the technicians can precisely target his tumor. It's an awful regimen, but preferable to Poppy's alternate course.
Poppy's alternate course was a full laryngectomy, which would have rendered him speechless for life. You know the surgery. It's when they lay open your neck like a high school biology class frog, pull out everything that looks like it may be cancerous including but not limited to your voicebox, then knit you back together as best they can, but this time with a hole in your throat where you talking parts used to be. As an added bonus, Poppy would have had to relearn swallowing and if that went well, then how to swallow without inhaling his food. But that assumes Poppy lived through the surgery in the first place, which was not a given.
Did I mention Poppy had a feeding tube installed? You see, Mr. Obama, the radiation will eventually burn Poppy's throat so badly he will not be able to swallow. Or speak. Just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe it's for the best anyway, since the cisplatinum being pumped through his circulatory system would likely have made him vomit up his meals anyway. I'm certain Poppy's five grandchildren, two daughters and wife will look back fondly on this holiday season, trying to be of good cheer for the kids as Poppy fights for his life.
But cancer's a joke to you, a throw away line, right Mr. Obama?
Mr. Obama, I try my best to each my children respect for our leaders, even when -- no, especially when -- I disagree with our leaders. Please tell me how I explain to my children that the sitting President of the United States finds cancer, the disease that is slowly eating their grandfather alive before their pre-teen eyes, funny? My kids are roughly your kids' ages: 14 and 11. Would you make a joke about cancer if their beloved grandmother, your mother in law, was stricken with the disease?
As Americans, we have the right to expect our leaders to behave better, to measure their words, to consider consequences. You have utterly failed on each count.
Your words were careless, ill-considered and damaging. Damaging to Poppy, damaging to my wife and damaging to my kids.
I stand by my assessment of you, Mr. Obama. You are a colossal ass.
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