I haven't always supported you. I haven't always liked your policies or ideologies on certain subjects. For a long time I considered myself to be a Republican. After spending a couple years in college as a political science major, I now identify as an Independent.
But I've done a lot of thinking over the past month as I've observed the primary process. I've watched the way political contenders present themselves in the public sphere, and it's been disappointing to say the least.
I've watched candidates make bizarre statements. Donald Trump has said that he would "bomb the s--t out of ISIS" and "take out their families." He has claimed that Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs and crime" and are "rapists."
I watched as Trump told the world that "Islam hates us" and "a total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" would be ideal.
I've followed the perpetual scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton - her emails in particular. At a fundraising event in Iowa, she said, ""You may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves."
I've watched candidates sling mud at each other, sinking to a new level of "low" each week. Topics of conversation have been penis size, hand size, facial features, hair type, and attractiveness of spouses.
This is the first presidential election I have the privilege to vote in. And you want to know something Mr. President? I'm not a big fan of any of the candidates.
But as I've watched the chaos that has been the 2016 primary season, I've also paid close attention to you. I've watched your speeches - both past and present. All of them are diplomatic yet firm. I recently saw you speak at the White House during your annual Easter Egg Roll. That's actually what prompted me to write this.
Because you sir, regardless of what people (or myself for that matter) may think about your political actions or inclinations, have been a complete and utter class act.
For 8 years you have been someone that embodies intelligence, pragmatism and rationality. In virtually every instance, you have handled yourself with grace and candor.
I haven't seen you make a joke about the size of someone else's body parts. I haven't seen you comment on the attractiveness of another man's wife. I haven't seen you carelessly burn bridges with countries or their leaders or make racial slurs about their cultural practices. And, now that I think about it, I haven't seen or heard of a single scandal being even remotely connected to you.
In a speech at a joint session of Congress in 2009, you said, "We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it's easy, but when it is hard."
The President of the United States is someone who, whether they like or not, is a symbol of what the American people stand for. Therefore, dignity and respect should be ideals held in high regard by each of our presidents. Presidents should project a self-image that America can relate with and proudly display to the rest of the world.
I'm sure there were times when you wanted to lash out. When you wanted to say something out of anger or take vengeance on someone or something because the situation was unfair. Maybe you wanted to make fun of someone's appearance or make an ill-advised joke out of pure frustration, but you didn't resort to such petulance. You stayed above the fray. You didn't compromise your image and you upheld your ideals even when it was hard.
You once said, "The future rewards those who press on. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I'm going to press on." Once you leave office, I have no doubt you will do exactly that Mr. President. I just hope that when our country is forced to press on, it's with a president that has half the integrity you displayed over the past 8 years.