OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA ON HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY “A PROMISED LAND” Part 28 How could I blame her for feeling this way? By even suggesting the possibility of a run, by involving my staff before I’d asked for her blessing, I had put her in an impossible spot…Why would I put her through this? Was it just vanity?

December 19, 2020

Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066

Dear President Obama,

I wrote you over 700 letters while you were President and I mailed them to the White House and also published them on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org .I received several letters back from your staff and I wanted to thank you for those letters. 

I have been reading your autobiography A PROMISED LAND and I have been enjoying it. 

Let me make a few comments on it, and here is the first quote of yours I want to comment on:

MICHELLE WAS HARDLY oblivious to what was happening. At first she simply ignored the fuss. She stopped watching political news shows and waved off all the overeager questions from friends and co-workers about whether I planned to run. When one evening at home I mentioned the conversation I’d had with Harry, she just shrugged, and I did not press the issue.
     As the summer wore on, though, the chatter began to seep through the cracks and crevices of our home life. Our evenings and weekends appeared normal so long as Malia and Sasha were swirling about, but I felt the tension whenever Michelle and I were alone. Finally, one night after the girls were asleep, I came into the den where she was watching TV and muted the sound.
     “You know I didn’t plan any of this,” I said, sitting down next to her on the couch.
     Michelle stared at the silent screen. “I know,” she said.
     “I realize we’ve barely had time to catch our breath. And until a few months ago, the idea of me running seemed crazy.”
     “Yep.”
     “But given everything that’s happened, I feel like we have to give the idea a serious look. I’ve asked the team to put together a presentation. What a campaign schedule would look like. Whether we could win. How it might affect the family. I mean, if we were ever going to do this—”
     Michelle cut me off, her voice choked with emotion.
     “Did you say we?” she said. “You mean you, Barack. Not we. This is your thing. I’ve supported you the whole time, because I believe in you, even though I hate politics. I hate the way it exposes our family. You know that. And now, finally, we have some stability…even if it’s still not normal, not the way I’d choose for us to live…and now you tell me you’re going to run for president?”
     I reached for her hand. “I didn’t say I am running, honey. I just said we can’t dismiss the possibility. But I can only consider it if you’re on board.” I paused, seeing that none of her anger was dissipating. “If you don’t think we should, then we won’t. Simple as that. You get the final say.”
     Michelle lifted her eyebrows as if to suggest she didn’t believe me. “If that’s really true, then the answer is no,” she said. “I don’t want you to run for president, at least not now.” She gave me a hard look and got up from the couch. “God, Barack…When is it going to be enough?”
     Before I could answer, she’d gone into the bedroom and closed the door.
     How could I blame her for feeling this way? By even suggesting the possibility of a run, by involving my staff before I’d asked for her blessing, I had put her in an impossible spot. For years now, I’d asked Michelle for fortitude and forbearance when it came to my political endeavors, and she’d given it—reluctantly but with love. And then each time I’d come back again, asking for more.
     Why would I put her through this? Was it just vanity? 
Or perhaps something darker—a raw hunger, a blind ambition wrapped in the gauzy language of service? Or was I still trying to prove myself worthy to a father who had abandoned me, live up to my mother’s starry-eyed expectations of her only son, and resolve whatever self-doubt remained from being born a child of mixed race? “It’s like you have a hole to fill,” Michelle had told me early in our marriage, after a stretch in which she’d watched me work myself to near exhaustion. “That’s why you can’t slow down.”
     In truth, I thought I’d resolved those issues long ago, finding affirmation in my work, security and love in my family. But I wondered now if I could ever really escape whatever it was in me that needed healing, whatever kept me reaching for more.
     Maybe it was impossible to disentangle one’s motives. I recalled a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called “The Drum Major Instinct.” In it, he talks about how, deep down, we all want to be first, celebrated for our greatness; we all want “to lead the parade.” He goes on to point out that such selfish impulses can be reconciled by aligning that quest for greatness with more selfless aims. You can strive to be first in service, first in love. For me, it seemed a satisfying way to square the circle when it came to one’s baser and higher instincts. Except now I was also confronting the obvious fact that the sacrifices were never mine alone. Family got dragged along for the ride, put in the line of fire. Dr. King’s cause, and his gifts, might have justified such sacrifice. But could mine?
     I didn’t know. Whatever the nature of my faith, I couldn’t take refuge in the notion of God calling me to run for president. I couldn’t pretend to be simply responding to some invisible pull of the universe. I couldn’t claim I was indispensable to the cause of freedom and justice, or deny responsibility for the burden I’d be placing on my family.
     Circumstances may have opened the door to a presidential race, but nothing during these months had prevented me from closing it. I could easily close the door still. And the fact that I hadn’t, that instead I had allowed the door to open wider, was all Michelle needed to know. If one of the qualifications of running for the most powerful office in the world was megalomania, it appeared I was passing the test.

LET ME COMMENT ON THESE WORDS OF YOURS BELOW:

How could I blame her for feeling this way? By even suggesting the possibility of a run, by involving my staff before I’d asked for her blessing, I had put her in an impossible spot…Why would I put her through this? Was it just vanity?

WAS IT JUST VANITY? Solomon wrote in ECCLESIASTES 2:11:

Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was VANITY and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Ultimately nothing lasts forever unless it is done for eternal purposes and the author of DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the rock group KANSAS demonstrates that:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

More on Kerry Livgren later. The Beatles were always searching during the 1960’s for a meaning for their lives. Cynthia Lennon said of John, “HE WAS ALWAYS SEARCHING. JOHN ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE TRUTH, AN IDEAL, A DREAM.”

No truer words were ever spoken. John in 1967 when the album  Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was about to come out was in the middle of some big changes in his life.  He was searching for meaning in life in what I call the 6 big L words just like King Solomon did in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

In college in 1980, my professor, Dr. Blake, talked a lot about the Beatles. He asked students to speak up because he was a big fan of rock music in the 1960’s when he lost a lot of his hearing. He pointed out that the lyrics in rock music are not always consistent. He noted that the Beatles hit “Money (That’s What I Want)” was followed by the later hit “Can’t Buy Me Love.” 

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11English Standard Version (ESV)

I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,[a]the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

John Lennon later wrote the song “Watching the Wheels” that indicated he did not care that people thought he was crazy for dropping out of the money-making music business in 1976 to help raise his son. That demonstrated to me that Lennon had discovered  how empty a pursuit of building wealth is while ignoring your family.In the article “Alistair Begg on The Beatles,” April 1, 2003, Begg noted:

The Beatles first said money was everything (in the song “Money“), then they said that love could give you anything you want on “From Me to You“, and then they record “Can’t Buy Me Love“. What do you see in this progression?

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” 

If you are an atheist then you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”

Solomon had all the resources (and luxuries) in the world and he found himself still searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

_____________________________________

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Those who reject God must accept three realities of their life UNDER THE SUN.  FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. In contrast, Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren believe death is not the end and the Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

____________

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

Kerry Livgren

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

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