Reporter's Note: President Obama has asked for Americans to offer ideas about running the country. So I am writing a letter every day, even on Friday the 13th, when presumably there is some risk involved. Duty does not know fear.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
Loved the speech to mark Lincoln’s birthday! You were really in quite fine voice, and considering the difficulties you’re having with these Cabinet nominees dropping off, I was particularly impressed with your relaxed manner and wonderful message. Those giant Leroy Neiman portraits of Lincoln behind you were an excellent touch. Although, I must say, I’ve never been particularly fond of his work. Neiman’s not Lincoln’s.
You were wise to stress that particular message from Lincoln; the idea that together we can accomplish such great things, while divided we can so easily fail at even simple tasks. I have believed that for so many years. The biggest enemy most armies, businesses, political parties, and PTA’s face is themselves; their own inability to get past petty grievances, jealousies, rivalries, and overinflated egos. I suppose most of us could even say that about ourselves.
Still, even if we can master such things, sometimes bad luck does come along.
A good number of your predecessors were superstitious. Franklin Roosevelt, I have read, was afraid of the number 13. William McKinley wore a lucky carnation in his lapel. (Although, it must not have been terribly lucky, considering how his days ended.) The Reagans paid attention to astrology. Abe Lincoln himself apparently put some stock in the notion that dreams could predict the future. I hope he was wrong. Otherwise, I’ve got one terrifying day of running from a pack of angry chimps coming up.
I won’t bother asking if you are superstitious. I already know about your “I always play basketball on election day” thing. I’ve also heard that you like toting around a few lucky charms. Aside from David Axelrod, I mean. Of course, I don’t know if you’d really consider that a superstition or just a custom.
In any event, don’t be worried if some bad luck comes your way as your presidency moves along, whether on Friday the 13th or on any other day. Because of your position, I’m sure the misfortune will feel greatly magnified and perhaps pretty hard to bear. But remember that just like we all stumble into bad luck sometimes, we benefit from good luck too. We both have good jobs, nice families, our health, and lovely houses. In America these days, that’s pretty lucky.
Don’t walk under any ladders. Call when you can.
For more of the Foreman letters, click here.
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