An Open Letter to President Obama & All the Women Who Will Vote for Him.

Via Trista Hendren
on Oct 24, 2012
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Four years ago, I sent you my last (nearly) $200. I was a newly single mom, learning to survive, alone, with my kids.

I believed in you.

So much so that my sister and I waited in line for nearly six hours with my daughter in her stroller, my four-year-old by our sides, so we could hear you speak. (Or not really speak—by the time we got to where you were, you were pretty much gone.)  We heard, perhaps, an echo of you. And then we heard music. Music that we could dance to. And dance we did!

I proudly wore my pink “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama” t-shirt at parties and in pictures, with a huge grin on my face. Even my then two-year-old daughter wore your shirt, proud to look like mommy. My son wore an Obama mask on Halloween and helped me cast my vote for you in November. We were, perhaps, some of your biggest and goofiest fans.

The night of your election, we wept. We clapped and we danced ecstatically.

I was so emotional, so sure of my choice. I was certain that the future would be better. I wrote on our family blog that it was the first time since I was a kid that I could remember feeling proud of my country.

But four years later, those feelings are gone and I cannot with conscience vote for you. In fact, I have thought about asking you for my money back for months. I know now that where the money really counted, it came from the big Corporations, not from broke single moms like me. And it is the broke single mothers around the world that could really use that $200 now.

You have not helped us. The plight of the single mother is no better in the U.S. today. Women on the whole still do not earn equal pay, despite the hype of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

As Jill Stein reminded us in her People’s State of the Union Address:

“One hundred and forty-six million people—that’s nearly one in every two Americans—is now living below or near the poverty level. The stress falls hardest on our most vulnerable and disadvantaged, with the majority of children, half of our elders, three quarters of Latinos, and two thirds of African Americans living in or near poverty.”

Moreover, the plight of women around the world is worse because of our wars “on terror”—the same wars you promised to pull us out of.
Photo: We, the Revolutionaries of this Ummah

As a Muslim woman, I am so tired of seeing pictures of Malala Yousafzai exploited to legitimize American imperialism. Like everyone else I deeply admire Malala. I love her—as my sister—perhaps more than most Americans will ever understand. I weep for her–I weep for all the children who are being maimed or killed around the world for senseless reasons.

What I cannot understand is why we value some lives more than others. Why are our drones killing women and children the world over?

That, I will never understand, or tolerate.

But we are stuck on our “rights.” Mostly reproductive rights.

But what rights come at the expense of another person’s life?

And, I might add that we do not need anyone to grant us the right to birth control or an abortion. As women, we have been sold a pack of lies that benefit Corporate America. Instead of fighting for our “rights,” we should be learning about our bodies. We hold every-single-thing we need within us. But we keep looking outside of ourselves for answers, and that is where we truly become lost.

So, most women, will vote for you no matter what. I know that. You’re the African-American prince we have all been waiting for. The one who supposedly supports women’s rights, too. You embody hope for all of us—women and minorities alike.

And it is not that I think that Romney is better than you—certainly not. (It’s in fact hard to believe that he could even be a viable candidate.) I just don’t feel you represent significant improvement from the Republican Party to merit my vote.

If you were ever truly on the side of women, Mr. President, you would have rallied for your female running mate—Jill Stein—to be able to debate with you instead of being locked to a chair for eight hours. Are we living in a Democracy or not?
Photo: Stan Johnson

It’s now the end of your term. The corporations have won. The one percent has prevailed. And much of the U.S. population will believe that they have won—if you are elected.

But if we look at the facts, instead of the hype that is so often presented to us, the average American has lost, and lost miserably. And as usual, women are the biggest losers.

You are not a stupid man. I don’t even believe you are a woman-hating man. But I do believe you sold out during your presidency. And I have to say, I am deeply disappointed.

Sadly, I no longer feel you can represent me—or the change our country so desperately needs now.

No matter how much we like Michelle, or how beautiful your daughters are, ultimately your loyalty has rested with men in power.

Women have bought your lies just like we buy the lines of a charismatic (but abusive) boyfriend. We’re brainwashed to believe we only have two viable choices in this election. But we hold the power. We own more than 50 percent of the vote in this country. When will we vote for ourselves?

We talk about a woman in office—but where is she? Why have so many other countries managed to have a female head of state—including many Muslim countries—but not our “progressive” nation?

My ballot has already been cast Mr. President. My question to women around this country is: When will you finally make a choice that truly benefits women?

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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About Trista Hendren

Trista Hendren is the author of The Girl God. The second book in this series, Mother Earth, will be published in December. You can read more about her project with Elisabeth Slettnes at


25 Responses to “An Open Letter to President Obama & All the Women Who Will Vote for Him.”

  1. DebSB says:

    This article is wrong in so many ways, I don't even know where to start. President Obama has done much in his first term that has helped me personally. One of the first things was to lift the ban on federal funding for stem cell research. This is important to me because my daughter has a spinal cord injury and the 8 years of lost opportunity under Bush to find a cure has prevented my daughter from walking again. Secondly, my other young adult daughter is now under my husband's insurance plan and is she is getting the preventative care she needs because of Obamacare. I also don't have to worry about reproductive rights for her under President Obama. He will protect those. Thirdly, housing and building is up in my area and my husband is working because of that. Lastly, although he needs to do more for the environment, he did get tougher on mercury emissions from power plants, improve fuel-economy standards, reduce the amount of soot that factories can release and regulate greenhouse gases for the first time. And he's not a climate change denier. I will be voting for President Obama.

  2. havemercy says:

    No president EVER will do what you expect in this article, it is politics afterall, and the president is not Santa Clause. Be realistic in your expectations of government, nothing that has been wrong for hundreds of years will be fixed in your lifetime.

  3. Trista says:

    🙂 yes, I am aware of that….but I had to say something.

  4. Trista says:

    I'm glad it is working out for you Deb.

  5. Dave Herter says:

    Great article/letter! Thank you very much for sharing! Many of us feel the same and want real change!!

  6. timothylasuremartin says:

    When more strong women like you stand up, this world will change.

  7. Trista says:

    Thank you. 🙂

  8. Trista says:

    Thank you so much!

  9. Abe says:

    Here is an enlightening post on Obama's time in office.
    "Among other things since becoming president, Barack Obama has: Signed the NDAA into law – making it legal to assassinate Americans w/o charge or trial.
    -Initiated, and personally oversees a 'Secret Kill List'.
    -Waged war on Libya without congressional approval.
    -Started a covert, drone war in Yemen.
    -Escalated the proxy war in Somalia.
    -Escalated the CIA drone war in Pakistan.
    -Maintained a presence in Iraq even after "ending" the war.
    -Sharply escalated the war in Afghanistan.
    -Secretly deployed US special forces to 75 countries.
    -Sold $30 billion of weapons to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.
    -Signed an agreement for 7 military bases in Colombia.
    -Opened a military base in Chile.
    -Touted nuclear power, even after the disaster in Japan.
    -Opened up deepwater oil drilling, even after the BP disaster.
    -Did a TV commercial promoting "clean coal".
    -Defended body scans and pat-downs at airports.
    -Signed the Patriot Act extension into law.
    -Deported a modern-record 1.5 million immigrants.
    -Continued Bush's rendition program.

  10. wckoko says:

    President Obama cannot wave a magic wand & change everything that is wrong with the US, and neither can Jill Stein. There is the little matter of Congress. It is Congress which produces the legislation which impacts your life. The President can suggest legislation, he can veto legislation (and that veto can be overridden by Congress), he can sign legislation into law. The President is not Superman. He is not God.
    Has Ms Stein had any experience in any level of government ? What makes her a viable candidate for president ? What is her platform ? Aside from her supporters dropping her name here & there in political threads, I've heard nothing about her , and haven't seen as much as one ad. Give me an actual reason why I should vote for her. Just saying that we need women in high office is not sufficient. Just look at all the female governors & people like Michele Bachmann to see women who are no different than the men who would hold their offices.

  11. Trista says:

    I agree with most of what you are saying and I think there is a reason you have seen so little of Jill Stein. She has been blocked at nearly every level. She has been blocked from advertising and blocked from debating – even arrested with her running mate and locked up to a chair for 8 hours. I think the best place you can go for information about Ms. Stein is You can also find her qualifications on her website.

  12. Erica says:

    I feel like the people who are sticking up for Obama don't know about the NDAA's indefinite detention clause. I feel that if everybody who likes Obama knew what that truly meant and how terrifying it truly is, there would not be a single Obama supporter left. I'm very much conflicted about who I want to vote for; it's either Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson, I think. I like Gary Johnson too. But that's going off subject — Obama's presidency has been filled with secrets. He has taken away a very important right from U.S. citizens, and by taking that right away, he can now pretty much take away any other right he wants to, because all he has to do is throw us in jail forever. He's done some good, but any good he has done or any good that he may do in the future, is absolutely overshadowed by the NDAA indefinite detention clause. At this point, I rather live in a cardboard box for the rest of my life rather than live my life knowing I could disappear off the face of the earth at any given moment if Obama decides he wants me gone.

  13. Steven Schutz says:

    Bravo..well said, astute observations, Thank You very much for making this known and available..

  14. Adam says:

    "Instead of fighting for our 'rights,' we should be learning about our bodies."

    How do you expect this to happen when the religious right insists upon abstinence being taught in schools rather than proper sex ed? The Democratic party is fighting for sex ed, not ignorance.

  15. Trista says:

    Sex ed begins at home. Especially now with the overcrowding and state of US schools, we can’t wait for them to teach kids properly about sex.

    There are also amazing non school related programs such as Our Whole Lives and Red Tents. If this is your top concern, I would spend every cent intended for Obama or any other candidate and buy as many copies of this book as you can for young girls. Cunt; a declaration of independence.

  16. Erica says:

    There's a lot more parties out there than Republican and Democratic. You don't have to vote democratic just to receive proper sex ed. Check out Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, and Gary Johnson.

  17. JCM says:

    Clever that you appealed at our hearts using statements like "waited in line for nearly six hours with my daughter in her stroller, my four-year-old by our sides". What's next, you are taking them to a rock concert? Better yet your grasping headline "Four years ago, I sent you my last (nearly) $200. I was a newly single mom, learning to survive, alone, with my kids." Heart wrenching plugging the stereotype of a struggling mother, considering the President had nothing to do with your divorce or having children.
    Mrs. Hendren you are a writer/author with agendas of your won; to sell books. So you expose your children online for people to relate to you. You are no better (or worse) then politicians trying to generate support.
    If this is coming across as judgement, well in part it is, as I am a supporter of President Obama. But the main reason is to state that realistically speaking, no one (and everyone) is perfect to lead our country. We all have our views and agendas and while one person pushes left, their is another one pushing right, and another one pulling back. No candidate can hold up to the interests of the masses at 100%.

  18. Sue says:

    You really did not address anything the author said here other than nitpicking at her personally. What about the state of this country? What about the drones?

    An intelligent person doesn't have to put down another to make his point.

    And the weakest person is the one who attacks a woman for her mothering.


  19. Trista says:

    If I wanted to sell books, this is not the article I would have written. In fact, nothing I have written has commercial appeal, including The Girl God.

  20. Abe says:

    Deb, you need to read this article. "Everything I am about to describe is verifiable in a variety of credible sources. If you question the sources that I provide to support my claims, I encourage you to research the stories independently. I trust you will find that I have taken nothing out of context, I have made no distortion to the record, and I have made no attempt at manipulation. I have no reason to defame or impugn President Barack Obama."

  21. Abe says:

    JCM, you need to read this article. "Everything I am about to describe is verifiable in a variety of credible sources. If you question the sources that I provide to support my claims, I encourage you to research the stories independently. I trust you will find that I have taken nothing out of context, I have made no distortion to the record, and I have made no attempt at manipulation. I have no reason to defame or impugn President Barack Obama."

  22. JCM says:

    The intent was NOT to prove any political point at all. I realize that we all have views on different issues, we can compromise in some and simple disagree in others. It's not the politics I care for. My dislike for this article is the author's methods to talk politics, from the "single mother" stereotype to the use of her children and the hollow headline.
    And if the children are part of the article, as Mrs. Hendren made it so relevant, then yes it does make it a subject to talk about.

  23. JCM says:

    Appreciate your thoughts on the matter, but it's not about the politics. I am well aware that President Obama is not perfect. We do not have a perfect candidate. But then again, we've never have.

  24. JCM says:

    Including your bio at the end of the article, leads me to believe that any publicity (good or bad) … is dollars generated. Now Mrs. Hendren I'm not saying you are a bad mother. I'm saying you have a shitty publicist.

  25. Michelle says:

    I love your pink Obama tee shirt.