An Open Letter to President Obama

Summary
A message I sent to President Obama today, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. It's terrific to have a President and staff who understand how to use technology! (If you agree with the thoughts described here, please take a moment to go to that page and express yourself.)

Eric Armstrong
TreeLight.com/Health

Dear Sir:

First, congratulations on the clear thinking--something Washington hasn't seen for at least a decade.

Second, it is clear that you look at things from a systems perspective. (I.e. How does does everything fit together?) So we have energy policy as a solution for job creation, global warming, and foreign policy freedom. Brilliant.

Then there is the observation that "the economy requires consumers to operate", and the changes you contemplate to restore the middle class.

Of course, these things have been pointed out before. It is just a relief to have a leader who "gets it", and who is at the same time strong enough to stand up to the lobbyists who now effectively run our government--to the detriment of all but the moneyed elite.

I know you have a lot on your plate right now, and you may be aware of the impact our food supply is having on American health. If so, you may well be planning to tackle that issue after health care reform is enacted.

That plan that would make some sense. After all, when the government ensures health, we ALL pay when someone gets sick. That fact creates a significant incentive for prevention--something which does not exist in our current system. (But which does exist in countries with social health care, which is why they have so much better health than ours.)

From a systems perspective, we have agribusiness poisoning the planet and consumers, food producers who include ingredients that are detrimental to long-term health, a fast food industry that uses those ingredients to excess, and drug companies who create pills to manage the resulting symptoms.

In that system, no one has any incentive to prevent disease. In fact, each of the major players has a major incentive to do just the opposite, because the strategies that produce long-term disease also happen to maximize short-term profits. (The only taboo for the industry, it seems, is killing customers quickly. Long-term harm is not considered an issue.)

I therefore urge you to reform the American food supply and, following the European example, make illegal those substances and practices that produce long-term disease and disability, shortening the lives and prolonging the suffering of so many who live within our borders.

(Again: If you are consciously choosing to defer these issues, I fully understand. But in case you aren't, I wanted to be sure that you are aware of them.)

Respectfully,
Eric Armstrong

P.S.
Watching you address Congress the other day, I thought to myself: "This is a man I would gladly take a bullet for." I'm smart. But you are smart and you are making a difference. I could not be happier that the populace chose so wisely. That choice is one of the only silver linings in the difficulties we now face.

(My other cause for happiness was in the selection of your running mate. Vice President Joe Biden was my pick from the early presidential candidates. And this is the only time in memory that my choice made it past the primaries!)

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