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Joshua: “I got that inspiration from you”

Dear President Obama,

I write today to thank you for what you have done for our country, and more importantly, what you stand for.

My name is Josh and I am 23 years old. I fall into the group of Americans who were brought up with just enough to get by, and who have struggled on a regular basis. My mother was a single parent who tried to do the best she could for us (I have a 30-year-old brother, and 13-year-old sister), but we always lived paycheck to paycheck. When I wanted to go to college after high school, I was only able to attend one semester because my grandparents cosigned for a student loan. You see, my mom made too much money on paper, but didn't have any extra for my college education. She also didn't have enough credit to cosign for my student loans, and I was not able to continue college after my first semester.

Today, I am proud to say that after months of feeling down and out and struggling to find work, I am a small business owner. I’ve always loved pool and billiards, and I was able to put away enough money to buy a pool hall in my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. I have one other employee. It makes me so proud to think of where I came from and to know that not only am I a small business owner at a young age, but also a job creator, even if it’s only one job!

While I still struggle, I feel like I have an opportunity for something great, and I got that inspiration from you. Your story is much like mine (or vice-versa, rather), with a single mom who loved me and just wanted me to do better than she did—who just wanted to give me an opportunity.

I feel like no one can appreciate or understand how hard it is to grow up and get yourself out of what you were born into, unless they live through it. I hear Governor Romney and other Republicans talking about how if people just tried harder, they would make it. It sickens me that they judge what they can never understand.

While I feel like I have changed the outcome of my life, I had help, and didn’t get there on my own. I had a loving family and people pushing me, and it was still the hardest thing I have ever done. I understand that not everyone has that—someone standing next to them and pushing them to succeed.

I didn’t think I would ever find myself writing a letter like this. However, I wanted to write this to let you know that you give me hope. You give me hope that this nation can be great again. You give me hope that I will be able to give something better to my children than what was given to me. And you give me hope that people like me can become whatever we want to be, even President of the United States.

I want to thank you for giving me that hope and for providing a philosophy in your administration that encourages people like me to open businesses and strive for greatness, for helping people like me to succeed in this world, and for making me feel like I can contribute just as much to society as anyone out there.

I can’t imagine how hard your job must be, and I hope this is one of those letters that winds up on your desk at night, so I can bring you hope for a change.


Joshua, Wisconsin

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