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November 21st, 2011
07:43 PM ET

Letters to the President #1036: 'Back to the future'

Reporter's Note: The so called super committee in Congress is having a very bad time trying to reach a deal, which must be depressing for the president.

Dear Mr. President,

Did I stumble into some sort of rip in the time/space continuum that has thrust me back into the past? I woke up today to news of riots in Egypt, a collapse in Congress over the debt, a guy plotting to set off bombs in New York, and an economy that seems as if it's simply frozen in place.

Seriously, it feels as if nothing has changed since January, which is kind of spooky when you think about it. Thank goodness Kim Kardashian is helping us keep track of the time by getting married and divorced quicker than a cat on a cockroach.

That said it is not a good thing for people to start feeling as if time is standing still. I know, because this weekend I ran a 52 mile road race and trust me…between miles 30 and 50 it felt as if the clock had stopped stone cold. It was just mile after mile after mile after mile of torment with no sense of making any progress. Up a mountain, down a mountain; into a creek, out of a creek; around one corner, onto the next corner. It was awfully hard not to quit. But I stuck with it. Despite the monotony, I looked for each sign of progress. I pressed on, and eventually I staggered across the finish line, cold, tired, and hungry.

I mention this because a) I’m rather proud of having pulled it off and, b) because there is a lesson in the effort.

Simply put, sometimes it does feel as if nothing at all is changing; as if we are in a terrible rut from which we may never emerge, and that can be discouraging. But that’s when you have to rely on your training and experience to keep you trudging on. Sure, maybe it feels as if we’ve slid all the way back into last winter at the moment, but with more pushing, more effort, more striving, perhaps we can get everything moving again. And why not? After all, the alternative…just sitting down by the side of the trail and weeping…won’t help at all.

Hope all is well.

Regards,
Tom

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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