Our View: Mr. President: Stop by for visit to Valley

02/15/2011 3:25 PM

02/17/2011 5:40 AM

Dear President Obama:

We invite you to visit the San Joaquin Valley on your trip to the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday.

In fact, we think your visit here should take priority over your stay in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. That’s because our Valley represents the worst of the problems facing America — few jobs, underwater homeowners, scary school dropout rates, drugs and gangs you know the litany from your days as an organizer in Chicago.

But we also offer a vital solution to these problems — our people themselves. Your wife met some of us in May 2008 when she gave the commencement address for the first four-year graduating class from UC Merced. Back then she told the graduates: "You too can have the same transforming effect on the city of Merced and this entire nation. Make your legacy a lasting one. Dream big."

First lady Michelle Obama sensed goodness, hope and our burning desire to get better that hot windy day nearly three years ago.

But we need you to witness for yourself -- even briefly -- what has made Merced the poster child for bad economic news in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Economist, the Financial Times, Forbes and, just last week, USA Today.

We’ve got problems. Sure. But we've also got the people willing and able to solve them. If you take just a little time to show us that you identify with us -- the folks at the bottom of the American Dream — then we can conjure the enthusiasm and energy to tackle, with your help, the problems that have plagued us these past four or five years.

Hey, there’s a world-class airport right here just made for Air Force 1. And we can give you the world's tastiest almonds and some other delicious homegrown treats to take back for your daughters.

Your State of the Union called for us to "win the future." We're all for that. A visit by the president, however short, would show us and millions of Americans in the same boat as we are, that we can and will win the future together.

Respectfully yours,

The Merced Sun-Star

Editorials are the opinion of the Merced Sun-Star editorial board. Members of the editorial board include Publisher Debra Kuykendall, Executive Editor Mike Tharp, Editorial Page Editor Keith Jones, Online Editor Brandon Bowers and visiting editor Mary Hofmann.

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