Tim Van Schmidt
This is a follow-up to a previous column.
Way back in the June 28, 2021 issue of North Forty News, I wrote about sending a letter to the White House with a question for President Biden.
My question was: “Everything seems so confused and conflicted in the United States today. Where do we find hope for our country?”
I also promised to deliver his response to readers in Northern Colorado, if I should get one.
I sent the actual letter — yes, ink on a real piece of paper — on May 8 via snail mail and waited. By June 28, I went ahead and reported on the project ending with the determination that word from the White House wasn’t as important as thinking about the subject.
Then, on July 4, I sent an e-mail to the White House with a link to my story. At that time, I did receive an immediate response from the White House that my message had been received.
Well, on December 19, I received an e-mail from Joe Biden.
Here’s what it said:
“The White House
December 19, 2021
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Hearing from passionate individuals like you inspires me every day, and I welcome the opportunity to respond to your letter.
Our country faces many challenges, and the road we will travel together will be one of the most difficult in our history. Despite these tough times, I have never been more optimistic for the future of America. I believe we are better positioned than any country in the world to lead in the 21st century not just by the example of our power but by the power of our example.
While we may not always agree on how to solve every issue, I pledge to be a President for all Americans. I am confident that we can work together to find common ground to make America a more just, prosperous, and secure Nation.
As we move forward to address the complex issues of our time, I encourage you to remain an active participant in helping write the next great chapter of the American story. We need your courage and dedication at this critical time, and we must meet this moment together as the United States of America. If we do that, I believe that our best days still lie ahead.
Now, I wasn’t born yesterday and I’m well aware that this is probably a form letter of some sort. But, I am still impressed.
First of all, even though it seems like it took a very long time to get some kind of response, it’s good to know that the system of communication between citizens and the White House actually does work.
Secondly, thanks to years of covering election events as a photographer, both Red and Blue, I have received e-mails from many of the top politicians of our time — from Barack Obama to Donald Trump — and 100% of them have always asked for money at the end.
That is not the case with this message. I appreciate it that this is a standalone piece of work — beyond fundraising — that says things I want to hear from a leader.
And, in a general way, it speaks to my original question.
It’s now 2022 and we need to keep talking about where we go from here. Make up your own mind about what is said in the above message. I am delivering it for you to ponder in your own way.
But the thing that resonates for me is this line: “…I encourage you to remain an active participant in helping write the next great chapter of the American story”.
Yes, as a writer I want to do so. I’m not sure this line was even intended to inspire writers specifically — it more likely is just a way of saying let’s look forward to what’s ahead — but it works for me.
Thanks for getting in touch, Joe — message delivered. Whatever it means to other NOCO readers is up to them, but this e-mail meant something to me. I remain a willing volunteer, a writer helping to “write the next great chapter” — one article at a time.
Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins. Check out his YouTube channel at “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt”. See his “Rockin’ 2022 Window Show” at Cups Community Coffee, located at 1033 S Taft Hill in Fort Collins, thru January 31.