Dear President and Mrs. Obama,

For the past eight years we in this country have watched you inhabit the enormous roles of President and First Lady, giving your positions the respect and humility that such an honor deserves. Elegance can seem like a mild word, until it is snatched away and crudeness, arrogance and immaturity move in to replace it. Then elegance takes on a larger meaning, spilling over into dignity, empathy, respect. Elegance is a state of being that everyone should aspire to, but few possess.

In the face of unbridled racism, which included a concerted effort to de-legitimize you, President Obama, by claiming that you were not born in America, you never descended into pettiness or counter-attacks. As the First Lady would later say, When they went low, you went high. Through the tragedies of mass shootings, you rose to the task of comforting us while allowing us to see the raw emotions of anger and frustration that a civilized country could be awash in guns and unwilling to do anything about it.

It would never have occurred to either of you that mocking or belittling other human beings is acceptable behavior and when a man who wanted to occupy the office you held was heard making a crude and obscene comment about women, you both again rose higher while sharing how deeply shattering such behavior was to you, not only as President and First Lady, but as parents. Elegance is a balancing act between honesty and restraint. between dignity and the hot blood of pure emotion.

You understood the balm of humor and the truth of tears. You were there to encourage us, to inspire us, and to mourn with us. Many of us wonder what is going to happen to America now, when elegance will be replaced by petulance and pettiness. How can America be respected when the man elected to lead America shows only disrespect for its citizens, its press, and the freedoms that have made this country unique?

Hopefully we learned from your example and we can, collectively, decide that dignity, empathy, and respect cannot be banished by one man, or one administration. You were elegant teachers, it’s now our turn to be diligent students. It is not a political statement, but an achingly human one to say that we will miss you.



  1. Joan robbins says:

    Thanks for saying what we all feel.

    • david plenn says:

      I couldn’t agree more with every word you wrote. We’re lucky we got to experience these last 8 years. I will always be thankful for the Obamas and hope that someday we’ll see a return to that kind of class again. Until then, fasten your seatbelt and sharpen your sign-making skills.

    • Kevin Harris says:

      As usual you are indomitable and in comparable

  2. Rocky Gordon says:

    That was perfect! You have a lot of class yourself, Patti. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Aaron says:

    Well said patti. We can only hope for the same respect from the new president elect, but shamingly to be brutally honest, that will not be the case. Awesome letter, and I will be extremely sad come Friday morning! Sincerely, Aaron

  4. Robert DuPont says:

    Thank you Patti for sharing your Beautiful Letter to
    The President And First Lady Obama . and so true
    They both are from Good Stock and Good Breeding .
    They were raised to Respect all and take the High Road
    That some people could certainly learn From

  5. Laura Cordovano says:

    We are going from a high minded pragmatist to an ego centric CEO whose only aim in life is to make money. He sees the presidency as a money making brand opportunity. I don’t understand how people are not seeing this. It’s all about the $$ for him and he will tap into our lowest set of values. I am beyond depressed over this turn of events and can only imagine how you must feel hearing him every Me the name of your father over and over as if to put himself in the category of a compassionate conservative. He is not fit to shine your fathers shoe shiners shoes

  6. Karen Erickson says:

    Patti, your letter is lovely and I couldn’t agree more! You are compassionate, intelligentand and behave with dignity. I admire you and what you stand for.

    Thank you!

  7. Edward Jenny says:

    I really hope that Americans on both sides of this immense challenge ahead of us as a nation and the world of mostly our allies in Peace and Dignity, will step up and take on the role as students of the last 8 years of the Obama’s very impressive examples you defined. Beautifully and simply offered. Thank you.

    Be well, Peace.

  8. Jeanette L. Davie-Peters says:

    An eloquent letter. I wish I had said that, and I’m glad you did. We will miss the Obama’s and all the grace they commanded under fire. We need to remember the 44th President and keep aiming high, regardless of how low they go.

  9. Michael Prichard says:

    Thank you, Patti. It is an honor and a joy to know you.

  10. Debra F. Cole says:


    I can not find the words to express the eloquent words you wrote.

    I am moved to tears as I shared with close family. The your Father was an ICON and so was President OBAMA.

    When we all reflect on everything your Father and President Obama did to bring unity and equality and ethical values to the USA that was so in need of healing and rebuilding.

    Perhaps, each President does bring their personal life experience, but I thought I would never live to see our country so divided and elect someone so unfit to run Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policies.

    I hope their is divine intervention that stop this train wreck.

    Patti, I am so proud that you to the higher road as always, with grace and transparent justifiable heartfelt compassion.

    Hugs and wishes to you and Gracie,

    Debra F. Cole


  11. Erika Griesemer says:

    So true and elegantly said.

  12. Larry C. says:

    Beautiful Patti.

  13. David Marks says:

    Oh, Patti, how beautiful a parting passage to a family so enriched in what human beings must strive to be, in every respect. Friends and people gravitate toward you for this and many other unique qualities; your ability to say that which is so true and so positive, in a manner succinct and richly expressed. Your voice, of course, comes from the depth of a giant of a father, a man who never allowed negative name calling and stupidity to denounce him, or suppress his persona. Your father was a man who shared the ability to see the goodness in all people, except, of course, where evil existed, and even then, he comported himself with poise and care. Patti, brava, and I join you in your goodbye to a beautiful and abundantly exquisite first family and president.

  14. Amelia says:

    Beautifully written, by one who knows one.

  15. Mikel Miller says:

    Wonderful words, Patti. I applaud you, and share your sentiments.

  16. Andrea. From Michigan says:

    Perfectly said.

  17. Marian Wing says:

    Thank you for taking on the cause of animals all these years.
    Thank you for your voice on so many issues, always speaking from your kind heart. You have been the voice for, and of so many MW.

  18. Thank you Patti! Well said with the grace and elegance that is you. I feel like we have all not said enough words of appreciation to the Obamas.

  19. Rita F says:

    Your own kindness and respect to humanity allow you to put into words what so many of us feel, regardless of political ideology. Elegantly said, Patti.

  20. Jeff Sherman says:

    Your mother and father were amazing. Love to you Patty

  21. Marian Wing says:

    dear Patti, you wrote so emotionally yet gently the powerful words that come from your heart: ” Elegance is a balancing act between honesty and restraint, between dignity and the hot blood of pure emotion…..Elegance takes on a larger meaning, spilling over into dignity, empathy respect. Elegance is a state of being…….You are able to write these words so eloquently because they are already within you, within your being. This soulful message does not come from the head, the intellect, but from the intuitive knowing voice of experience within you. My emotions well up each time I read it. it is framed on my wall and I shall give it to my granddaughter. Best wishes, Marian

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