Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Open Letter to Chuck Todd

Dear Mr. Todd,

After 6 years of watching President Obama from the vantage point of the White House Press room, you decided that he was "The Stranger."

In contrast to your conclusions, I'd like to offer a couple of examples of people who have watched/experienced him from a different perspective.

First of all, Joshua Dubois described how the President interacted with family members of those who had been killed at Sandy Hook School in Newtown. In other words, at the most profound moment of loss they're likely to experience in their lives.
Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break.

And then the entire scene would repeat—for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss.
On the other end of the spectrum, here's how Ava DuVernay described her experience with Barack and Michelle Obama at the screening of Selma at the White House last week.
President Obama’s introduction of SELMA in the presidential screening room, the quality time he and the First Lady took with us before and after, the stories he shared with my editor and cinematographer, the praise she gave our dear cast, the handshake he gave my father, the hug she gave my mother, the laughter, the smiles, the extra time they gave us all long, long, long beyond when we were scheduled to go, the warmth, the respect, it was just beyond exquisite.
Now...perhaps the experience of families who have lost a loved one or those who have created a profound movie about one of the most important eras in this country's history don't strike you as important to the political assessment of a president. From your perspective, how he interacts with the press and movers/shakers of the DC establishment is probably much more significant. If so, that raises the question...A Stranger to Whom?

Offered for your consideration,

Nancy

P.S. If you weren't aware of the events I described above, this might be why (more from Dubois):
And the funny thing is — President Obama has never spoken about these meetings. Yes, he addressed the shooting in Newtown and gun violence in general in a subsequent speech, but he did not speak of those private gatherings. In fact, he was nearly silent on Air Force One as we rode back to Washington, and has said very little about his time with these families since. It must have been one of the defining moments of his presidency, quiet hours in solemn classrooms, extending as much healing as was in his power to extend. But he kept it to himself—never seeking to teach a lesson based on those mournful conversations, or opening them up to public view.

5 comments:

  1. Sorry thank you Nancy LeTourneau for the letter

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Now...perhaps the experience of families who have lost a loved one or those who have created a profound movie about one of the most important eras in this country's history don't strike you as important to the political assessment of a president. From your perspective, how he interacts with the press and movers/shakers of the DC establishment is probably much more significant. If so, that raises the question...A Stranger to Whom?"


    Spot on Nancy. Thanks.

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  3. Mr. Todd has been hermetically sealed for all these years. He watches nothing but his own reflection, so of course he never sees the Souza photos of the President interacting with hundreds of thousands of people. If he doesn't pal around with the movers and shakers - and Todd fancies he's one of them - then, well, the President must be 'A Stranger'.

    No.

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  4. This is not a bug. This is what he is overpaid to do.

    ReplyDelete