When President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to his fourth term, Kansas editor William Allen White, a staunch Republican, wrote: “We who hate your gaudy guts salute you.”
President Obama: We have never hated your gaudy guts. And we acknowledge that a majority of our fellow citizens of this Great Republic have saluted you and conferred upon you for the second time the office of President of the United States.
We thank God that more than 120 million Americans voted in a peaceful and orderly election. That alone is a wonder of the world. (You will pardon us, Sir, if we also thank Heaven for the Twenty-second Amendment, another legacy from FDR.)
Our favorite portrait of you is the inaugural cover of The New Yorker.] Over the past four years, we have written more than 600 columns singly and together about your administration’s policies. Throughout those years, we have kept the high promise of that Inaugural Portrait in mind. We have endeavored always to remember that you hold the office held by Washington and Lincoln. We believe that office deserves respect.
We also recall the amazing spectacle of millions of Americans attending your first Inauguration. We feel deeply what your taking the presidential oath must mean, especially to our fellow citizens whose ancestors survived the horrors of the Middle Passage. Those forebears came here in chains. For our fellow citizens of African descent, your rise to the presidency holds profound spiritual and historical meaning. With our fellow Christians, we share a belief in the redemptive value of suffering.
We must in all candor admit that we have opposed most of your policies.
We believe your administration daily fails to recognize the God-given right to life. We assert that what was wrong in slavery, what was wrong in segregation, is what is wrong in abortion. It treats millions of humans as less than human. TIME’s Joe Klein admits that ultra-sound makes it “impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being.” Mr. President, your administration denies this reality every day. Abraham Lincoln said it well: “Nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon.” President Obama: Are not unborn children so stamped?