By Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
You’ve been a part of this movement for a long time, so I wanted to tell you this exciting news myself:
Next year, OFA is fully combining forces with the redistricting effort of my former attorney general, Eric Holder. We’re going all-in on the fight against gerrymandering — because for all the hard-fought progress we’ve achieved together, the lack of truly representative government has too often stood in the way of change.
Now, that structural gridlock has been frustrating, no doubt. But if we capitalize on the opportunity to reverse these undemocratic and unrepresentative maps, the bounds of what is possible will fundamentally change.
With maps that deliver on the promise of equal representation, our political leaders will be forced to actually prioritize the will and well-being of the American people on the most pressing issues of our time. Think about how different that would look than what we’ve seen recently:
- Political ideologues who’ve spent eight years obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act and undermining its overwhelmingly popular, life-saving protections for pre-existing conditions.
- Washington politicians who’ve refused to acknowledge even the basic science of climate change — let alone the ever-growing majority of Americans demanding action to address this urgent crisis — and handed over policymaking to big oil and big polluters.
- Elected officials in the pocket of the gun lobby who’ve blocked common-sense gun laws in the midst of a uniquely American epidemic. We’re talking about measures supported by 70%, 80%, 90% of voters that would prevent tragedies, and they often can’t even get a vote.
- We’ve even seen Republican lawmakers in heavily-gerrymandered states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina write legislation to strip power from Democratic governors immediately after voters turned out in big numbers to elect them.
This isn’t how democracy is supposed to work. But we’ve got the chance to fix it.
Over the next few months, as we move toward this movement’s exciting next chapter, you’ll hear more from our friends at the redistricting effort — people like Chairman Holder and Executive Director Kelly Ward. They’ll let you know how you can plug in and be those all-important leaders in your community as we organize for this critical fight.
In my farewell address, I talked about the sacred responsibility of citizenship. I called on each of us to be “anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.”
For more than a decade, through so many iterations, that’s exactly what this movement has done. And I couldn’t be prouder of what OFA has accomplished. Each time I’ve summoned you for new challenges, you’ve answered the call and exceeded all expectations. You have inspired me and reaffirmed my faith in America.
So I’m turning to you again. I’m asking you to be those guardians of democracy — to fight alongside me as fellow citizens in the hard but rewarding pursuit of a more perfect union.
I’m making redistricting a top priority, because there is no issue it doesn’t touch. There is no better opportunity to bend the great arc of history toward justice. And to bend it, we’ve all got to push together. I hope you’ll join me. We’ll be in touch soon.