Dear Mr. President,
Words are clumsy, feeble tools, but they are the only means at my disposal to fix in your mind the gratitude I feel for you. I am doomed to thanking you with words that by their very essence could never be sufficiently precise or potent. Please accept these words, inadequate though they will be.
At the risk of introducing what probably will seem to be a non-sequitur, may I respectfully pose a question? Do you, Mr. President, know why it is the case that young boys share universal detest for literature such as Wuthering Heights? It is because no possible arrangement of words could directly communicate an experience into the mind of a reader, let alone the particular experience of love, on which appreciation of Heights hinges. An author – even one as talented as Emily Brontë – cannot string together words to extract an experience from his or her own mind and insert it into the reader’s. Words can only remind a reader of an experience he once felt. At their very best, they direct a reader’s mind to an experience he once had, and say “that experience, the one right there in your mind, that’s the one I’m referring to now.” A young boy’s mind simply has insufficient experiences to which to anchor Brontë’s words, that they might carry the intended meaning. That’s why young boys detest Wuthering Heights. Plus it’s boring.
All of this carrying on about words is not a foray into metaphysics, Mr. President. It is a prelude to a tragedy that you and I must mutually acknowledge. The simple fact is this: it is not conceivable that the gratitude I feel for you could find a counterpart in your mind. You have taught me a new kind of gratitude, and I fear that you have never had another “you” in your life to have created a suitable mental referent for my words. So I’m stuck with task of describing the indescribable.
At this point, I am going to take a liberty. I now profess to speak on behalf of all of us. This is no longer a message from me. It is a message from us.
You are not merely someone for whom we feel a vast depth of gratitude, so that our primary task is in verbally quantifying the incalculable. This is not a case of us being simply so very grateful for you. Conjure to your mind a blackhole, Mr. President. One cannot sensibly pose the question of whether such a thing is massive. By its nature, it is possessed of so much mass that it has punctured space and time. So of course it’s massive – it could not be otherwise. Its massiveness is assumed by its nature. The very nature of our thankfulness for you assumes massiveness. We feel a kind of gratitude for you, that if even vaguely understood, would make the scale of our gratitude a self-evident matter.
We could not have hoped for you, for we did not know we needed you. And were it the case that we somehow chanced upon such knowledge, we would not have known that you were who you were. Forgive us. Who could have guessed that one man might be bold enough to face down a vast incumbent media apparatus? Who could have guessed that one man might be wise enough to reduce the invasive ideologies loosed upon America to their true philosophical “nutritional value?” Who could have guessed that one man might be strong enough to defeat cynical congressional orchestrations and to reveal the occupants of our legislature as participants in a broader project of societal destabilization? Who could have guessed that one man might be brave enough to stand up in the face of persecution and probable prosecution? We could have guessed none of those things before 2016. And now we have no need of guesswork, for you have laid matters bare.
There is a serpent lurking in the American Garden, Mr. President. It is cunning and subtle and ancient and new. It slithers about seeking the ruin of our national soul. Now is the time for bravery. Now is the time for strength. Now is the time for calculated deft action. Now is the time to crush its head. Now is the time for you.
We have discerned the signs of the times. You are appointed, and your hour is at hand.
A grateful nation thanks you. We know these words are insufficient. We know the true nature of our gratitude eludes the outer reaches of language. But we must speak, and you must know: we are ever so grateful. Thank you, Mr. President.