Dear President Obama:
I doubt that this will ever reach your desk. In truth, I doubt that it will be read by many. But I write this because as an American it is something I need to say, however great or small the audience.
You and I were fortunate to have the presence of our fathers as a significant influence in our lives. While our mothers provided us with love and sensitivity our fathers provided us with guidance. At least I know that my dad gave that to me.
Allow me to take a moment to introduce the man who helped shape my life.
He was a first generation American. He came from a family of seven siblings. He never made a fortune, nor did he ever do anything to embarrass either himself or his family. He was an ordinary person.
My father taught me the things that he had learned from his parents. Those were simple things. He taught me honesty. He taught me charity. He taught me common sense. These are valuable things – worth more than all the gold on earth.
I hope that these are things you learned from your father and will pass on to your children. You could leave no greater legacy.
My father never gave a speech in his life. He had no need for that. He taught me that “actions speak louder than words.” In any event, he was not an orator. He was a doer. His actions did indeed speak louder than any words he might have spoken. That was always a guiding light for me.
My father had a true concern for his fellow human beings. He never turned down a request for a hand-out from an indigent person. He had a humility and realized that, if circumstances had been different, he might be in that poor soul’s place. He was generous because he was humble.
My father grew up poor, eventually raised himself up through hard work and approached life in a very logical way. We call this “common sense” – but as we both know, “common sense” is the rarest commodity on the planet.
One of the things my father taught me – and he taught this lesson over and over – was to respect other people. It mattered not to him whether they were rich or poor, black or white, important or unimportant. All people were equally important to him.
One of the earliest lessons he taught me was about being punctual. My father used to say that if you were late to an appointment, you were being disrespectful of the other person. I mention this because of your recent episode with a reporter, Neil Munro.
I heard a great deal of commentary about whether this inappropriate outburst was out of frustration at your being late for the press conference. In my opinion, that is not an excuse for rudeness.
But, Mr. President you are consistently late for your many press conferences or for the announced time of your numerous speeches. And I can’t help but think about what my father said about punctuality. I was surprised that anchor Brian Sullivan on CNBC made that exact point.
I respect the office you currently occupy. More importantly, I want to respect the person who is its occupant. After all, it is not only the most important position in the country but in the entire world.
Please show some consideration for those who put you in that position by respecting the ordinary people who elevated you to your present status. Please work to keeping your appointments in a timely manner.
President Obama, as an American I wish you well on this Father’s Day. I hope you teach your children as well as my father taught me.