A ball of emotion was stuck in my throat when I heard your promise for hope and change during your 2008 presidential campaign.
Both were certainly needed for the vast majority of Americans.
Deeply wounded on September 11, 2001 we had never healed, thrown instead in a war that made no sense at all.
You were indeed the hope and change we yearned for.
In addition, your election brought our country an immensurable dose of admiration from the rest of the world.
Traveling abroad was once more a pleasure, and I never missed an opportunity to brag about being an American citizen when visiting my native France.
After all, we, people judged on the other side of the Atlantic as imperialist and racist, had elected for President not only a man who spoke about social and economic issues but also an African American. We had chosen someone who was then on the side of the poorest and the marginalized.
But basking under other countries’ love for our new President, as if he were also theirs, wasn’t soon enough.
The changes you promised during a passionate campaign that brought so much good among all of us, didn’t happen.
Disenchantment replaced idealism when the man we had elected let the House of Representatives become Republican again.
At least, I, and other liberals thought, he will be himself again when campaign time arrives.
After all, grass roots movements and small donors contributed largely to the success of your election.
Alas, for 2012, Mr. President, you aren’t different from any other presidential candidate.
Today, you are visiting California, my home state. Attending one of the fund-raising luncheons or dinners hosted in your company costs as much, and often more, than a year of salary for many Americans.
And you prefer of course the company of Facebook and Google to the small businesses that incarnate the unique Californian entrepreneurial spirit.
Even if I am disappointed that you skip Central California, where I live, I understand why you focus instead on the small pockets of the state where money is kept, where housing keeps rising, and where big donors painlessly open their checkbooks.
After all, here in Fresno, I am also working on fund-raising dinners to finance one of the top public charter schools of the state and one of the best of the country, several times featured in national media as a role model school.
I am told that in our school, families believe the fund-raising dinners are only for an elite, that they can’t afford a meal that costs $150 per person, and that we should find other ways than ask for money to provide quality education to our children.
So today, Mr. President, I wonder what is happening to America when hope and change only rhyme with money.