December 19, 2012
The President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”
Dear Mr. President,
I am not an activist — I am a voting American. I am not religious — I believe we are all connected by something greater than ourselves. I am not a pundit — I am a human who feels moved to speak.
I am not afraid of guns. I am afraid of a world that thinks it’s routine when my public school teaching sister, Sara Pakkala, has to explain to her Tucson kindergarten class why a Congresswoman, a child and their neighbors were gunned down in their neighborhood grocery store parking lot.
I am not afraid of losing my civil liberties by regulating hateful words on public airwaves. I am afraid of a world where Washington never takes action to invite Jenna Swann, a Blacksburg 4th grade teacher, to the White House to honor her McGlothlin Award for Excellence in Teaching — but the Super Bowl Champions get a high profile visit every year.
I am not afraid of human frailties and personal mistakes. I am afraid of a world where the same Blacksburg 4th grade teacher is forced to stop building healthy habits by doing yoga stretches with her class — because yoga is considered a “religious exercise.”
I am not afraid of the fiscal cliff. I am afraid of a world where our values align with fighting over the definition of “rich” when our teachers are forced to use their own money to have supplies for their classrooms.
I am not afraid of the future, Mr. President. I am afraid of our destiny if we don’t start respecting the impact of our thoughts, words, actions, habits and values. We are a nation ready to change. We just need our leaders to give us a voice.
Stephanie Anne Koehler