The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

A letter for the purple folder

Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

NW Washington, D.C. 20500

It’s only one stick of a commemorative Barack Obama stamp on the top right-hand corner away from being mailed.

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    A sealed envelope with my name on it addressed to the White House. That may be considered a terrorist attack and grounds enough to send me a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay. Then again, if former President Bush never read his mail, there may be no precedent for this.

    But given the possible ramifications, what better place than page 4A of The Daily Illini to print a letter to our new president?

    I’m aware that for this message to have any meaning, President Obama would have to read this issue of the newspaper and specifically my article. There are better odds that I’d get a role in “Slumdog Millionaire 2.”

    But a certain purple folder may have a different opinion.

    In an ABC News blog, Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper detailed how every day President Obama is given a special purple folder that contains 10 letters from Americans who have “taken the time to sit down and write to their president.”

    Apparently the letters, which were chosen from a pile of thousands, are read by President Obama.

    Senior Adviser David Axelrod said Obama absorbs the messages and is able to “focus on the real problems people are facing.”

    About 50 percent of the letters are about the economy, while some contain encouraging words.

    This pastime helps Obama burst out of the D.C. bubble and exposes him to information that isn’t from officials but derived from experiences of the American people.

    Each day, two or three lucky people get a response written by the big guy himself.

    If Obama has time to listen to what his citizens have to say, why can’t I feel the pulse of everyday Americans and break out of my own weekly bubble of avoiding all social interaction when writing?

    So with a pencil, a notebook and a dream, I took to the street and compiled this letter to President Obama:

    Dear Mr. President,

    A middle-school aged girl sitting next to me on a bus gave me a lecture, even though she admittedly didn’t know much about the economy, about how people and businesses are in dire need of your guidance to turn it around. The boy next to her asked if there are any secret “beast” weapons in the White House. He then told me his name was Barack.

    DI columnist Scott Green penned this question:

    “With the economy in a ditch, you alone have the unique ability to make a difference for people on a personal level. So I guess what I’m asking is: Will you blurb my new book?

    P.S. Can I call you Barry?”

    Billy Wendt, an indifferent/apathetic observer had this to say: “Hey Barack, what about those of us who don’t have aids? You know the ones without the jobs/homes.”

    Former DI columnist and former employee of yours George Ploss wants to know if you still let Malia and Sasha listen to Chris Brown and if you delegate everything to Michelle. And what your first “dump” in the White House was like.

    Abel Haile, your African “brotha” (as he said) asked if you had the power to b****-slap anyone in history, then who would it be?

    I’d like to know your opinion on how the media is being too “nice” to you, and how an archbishop warned that American Catholics should avoid a “spirit of adulation bordering on servility.”

    Was your nap on the Oval Office sofa amazing? Were favorite television shows your motivation for moving from Thursday your prime-time address to the nation? What do you think of those creepy commemorative plates? Any thoughts on a popularity poll that ranked you higher than Jesus, Gandhi, Honest Abe and MLK Jr.?

    But seriously, Mr. President, if we make it into your purple folder, feel free to respond. We’d love to hear about the Portuguese water dog joining your family this April.

    Sujay is a senior in biochemistry. He has some videotapes to return.

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