"The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”Russell Kirk
The following is a letter to President Obama from Cody J. Carbone, a J.D./M.P.A. student at Syracuse University. Dear Mr. President,
I wanted to write to you to express my current
feelings and opinions on the current state of our newest adversary, ISIS, the “Islamic
State of Iraq and Great Syria”. I am not an expert, nor will I portray one in
this letter. I am just a student, concerned, nervous yet optimistic. I assume
the latter will dissipate with old age, but there are a few things I am
confident I do know.
I know you are not in the business of having
Americans killed. I know you are in the hottest seat in the world. I know you
believed you could achieve everything you promised back in 2008. I know you
have tried. I know you care about our country, more than your score on the back
nine. I know you know that we are the greatest country in the world. I know you
know that we are being threatened.
I know a few things sir, but I seek more. I am a
22-year-old law student, still describing myself as “precocious”, living off
student loans and stocking my kitchen with store brand cereal; I splurge on the
good milk. I do not know what its like to be you and I may never will.
A few days ago I watched you through my TV screen. You
presented a soft look; beige suit, white shirt and peppered hair. You presented
a hard truth; we do not have a strategy to combat ISIS.
I don’t know ISIS, but I have studied them. I know
they thrive off publicity, mentions, tweets, posts, and press conferences. Mr.
President, anytime they hear their name they become more and more legitimate.
How do we discredit them sir? Aren’t we number one? Aren’t we the biggest and
the most powerful? Why aren’t they scared? These are some of the things I don’t
We are fighting an ideology, much bigger than any
army. We are fighting people who cannot be taught to think otherwise, people
who learn their whole lives that death is better than life. We are not fighting a war, but a mindset. They
are beheading Americans, murdering children, blowing up schools. What is our
“We don’t have
a strategy yet”. Mr. President, are they beating us? Are they thinking one step
ahead of us? You have left me frightened, hanging on to a three-letter word
like “yet”, and somehow you have simultaneously eased the minds of ISIS members
across the globe. Why are they laughing at us now? I am not an expert Mr.
President, but I know you could have done better. I know you will do better.
I will not discredit this letter by burning my
political party’s seal on the outside envelope. Terrorism affects us all. This
is a letter from a student to his leader, looking for guidance, looking for a
strategy, looking for answers. I expect you will do better next time.
People will come up to me and ask me why I authored
this letter. My answer is simple. I want you to know that I support you.
Regardless of my political beliefs, you are my President. I want to believe in
you. I want to think that next time you step up to that podium, I will be
proud. I want to know we are working on something. I want to know that we have
I know you care Mr. President.
Cody J. Carbone
A Proud American
Cody J. Carbone is a J.D./M.P.A. candidate at the Syracuse University College of Law and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is Vice President of the Student Bar Association. Cody can be reached at email@example.com.