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Day 529 – Letter to Canada: A Short Letter on Tariffs. Sigh.

Day 529 – Letter to Canada: A Short Letter on Tariffs. Sigh.

Dear Canada,

We get it. We have no idea what our president expected. We have no idea why your tariffs on our products should be a shock to anyone.

We are kind of jealous that you have Justin Trudeau.

We hope that pressure from our allies (remember what that word means, Donny T?) will maybe have some impact on the decisions he is making. He does sometimes cave to enormous pressure.

And we wish we were #TrumpFree, too.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump.

Day 505 – I Don’t Want to Play With You Anymore Is Not An Acceptable Response to G7 Leaders, Mr. President. Grow Up.

Day 505 – I Don’t Want to Play With You Anymore Is Not An Acceptable Response to G7 Leaders, Mr. President. Grow Up.

Image from Some eCards

Mr. President,

Maybe you should take a break from Twitter. Leaving the G7 summit early because of a spat on your favorite “diplomatic” platform seems akin to taking your ball and going home from the playground.

When will you grow up and realize that trading barbs with other world leaders is not the way to run a country? Maybe never or maybe when you’re long out of office and more delusional then you are now (if that’s even humanly possible). Not only are you planning on leaving the summit early, but you’re skipping sessions on climate change and the environment. Those aren’t important though, right? Because climate change is a ruse created by the liberal media to make you look bad. How could we forget?

Mr. President, we the American people implore you to start acting like the leader of the free world and not a spurned teenager who’s had her first twitter flame war.  Now is the time to band the people of the country and the world together, not alienate us like you so often do. Mr. President, this plea can be summed up in two words, (well below the max 280 character restriction): Grow up!

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 475 – De-Ritualize Your Inhumanity, Mr. President.

Day 475 – De-Ritualize Your Inhumanity, Mr. President.

Image from the LA Times

Mr. President,

In an essay titled Ritualizing My Humanity, J.A. Micheline says a lot about who does and does not get to “choose” to be dangerous, today. White girls do, and can call it cute, feel empowered by it, and then tuck it away under the bed or behind a smile the minute someone calls it into question. Black girls, like Micheline, cannot. “I was born black and so I was born a monster. My blackness is so abhorrent, so evidently dangerous to whiteness that it has been linguistically aligned with evil — ‘black magic,’ ‘the dark arts.'” She says this in a collection of essays not written largely by, but definitely written largely at, white girls performing dangerousness for, it’s true, their own self-empowerment, but often at the cost of, or at the very least the distracted disregard, for the empowerment of others.

She says a lot. It should feel like salt in a wound and it does — though not and never enough. “Still, it is also worth noting that these (hollow) patriarchal protections are not extended to black women in the same way in which they are extended to white women. White women have protested loudly–and justly–about their infantilization, about their depiction as damsels in distress. Meanwhile, black women–and many other women of colour–have never been afforded the privilege of childhood or the role of a damsel. Take it back to The Birth of a Nation; the fear of black sexuality and the depiction of black people of any gender as hypersexualized has persisted to this day. This, too, has been a justification for violence against us, sexual or otherwise. Our children are never allowed to be just children; our twelve-year-old victims are suddenly adults. Our women will never be rescued from the tower; they have never been worth saving.”

When I was nine the military moved my family and I took it rather badly. I filled a notebook with dire threats of bombs and “payback,” not against specific individuals but against the entire service, all for dragging me away from the sea and the people I knew and loved there, towards some landlocked, exceedingly classist suburb populated largely by rich kids who’d been enrolled in extracurricular “get ahead of the game on college applications” prep programs since preschool. Granted, this was before Columbine, but do you think all my manic, all-caps prose, my childish fury at this new place and people, would have gone unpunished if I had been anyone but a mopey little white girl? Do you think a notebook discovered, first full of threats and then, in a poorly-thought-out burst of poetic furor, a ten-year-old’s suicide note, would have been passed by or treated as anything other than a marker of danger; a series of bright orange cones past which one should detour at all costs?

I don’t know, honestly. But you’re helping to create a world where fear is best handled with orange cones and detours. Because it’s everywhere. And you’re making it worse.

Other people explained why we shouldn’t leave the Iran deal, and still others have set themselves the task of determining why you did it anyway. Fine. But I’m not a political analyst or power player. I have only my pedestrian experiences and those of whoever else will write theirs down to shape my worldview. And I can say, both from the perspective of one whose cousin very reasonably expected to die in a nuclear attack before he reached 20, and as someone who only slightly less reasonably expected to be riddled by bullets either by a classmate or a terrorist before she reached 20–fear does not a competent, steady electorate make.

I mean, obviously. That’s how you got where you are. We all know that. But the kind of fear that animated voters to go for you isn’t the kind of fear you want to bank on. It’s racism. It’s just racism. And as you undoubtedly have noticed–or if not, your simpering attaches have informed you before various rallies packed with pale and pasty attendees–white people are on the way out. As a dwindling majority, their racist fear isn’t a bottomless well from which you can quaff the acrid oil of spiteful victory forever. White people are falling away, in numbers here and abroad. That isn’t going to change.

So consider what kind of seeds you sow, when you seek to nurture fear in your country. Consider how you choose to display, and engage, your dangerousness. Because eventually, the people you fear most will, themselves, become animated by more than a need to “attempt, constantly, to perform dignity despite being afforded none.” They will wrench that dignity back and, fueled by a very real fear of being unable to die of innumerable horrible natural causes but by, instead, the insidious creep of radiation from a dirty bomb or by being in the wrong place and the wrong time during a plutonium-assisted assassination, perhaps of an Israeli agent by an Iranian one (because really, your pal Russia is just so inspiring, wading out there and murdering people in broad daylight, no?) they will attempt to balance the world from a place of fearful imbalance, perhaps (and justly so) widely over-correcting for a planet’s worth of wrongs.

And all the reparations in the world will not save you. Or me. And while neither of us would particularly deserve saving, plunging kids now and those yet unborn, of whatever parentage, into that cycle of fear is a pretty shitty thing to do.

So please. Stop inviting discord nationally, internationally. You think it’s just about numbers and ratings and your own ego, but your actions in diplomatic conference rooms translate into headlines, into dinner table conversations, into secret late-night googling about half-lives and if duct tape over the windows will really help. Your brazenness translates into the miserable fear of ten-year-olds everywhere. And miserable, scared kids grow into miserable, dangerous adults. These days they don’t even wait, sometimes, to become adults–no matter what label the court applies, in its clearly biased vicissitudes. You’re trying to build a world where such people only get mended, are only deemed worthy of mending or care, if they look like you. Sound like you. Vote for you. But in removing what fragile safety mechanisms the world had in place–mechanisms like the Iran Deal, for example–you make it that much more likely that those most in need of mending will come back to haunt you, and everyone under you.

Most of us are plenty haunted already.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 463 – Letter to American Citizens: A Third of All Air Strikes in Yemen Hit Non-Military Targets. Are You Really OK With Being Part of That?

Day 463 – Letter to American Citizens: A Third of All Air Strikes in Yemen Hit Non-Military Targets. Are You Really OK With Being Part of That?

Image from The Irish Times

Dear American Citizens,

For those of you who are married, do you remember your wedding day? Even if you are single, how do you envision your wedding day?  I’m sure the images are wonderful, special in all the right ways. Most importantly, I’m sure safety and security are not concerns. Unfortunately, not all people on this planet get to enjoy safety and security. This past weekend, a civilian couple in Yemen were celebrating their wedding day. This was supposed to be a great day, a celebration of love and family, yet, instead, U.S.-backed Saudi airstrikes from above struck and killed 20 people at the wedding party, mostly killing women and children, including the bride! Additionally, this was NOT the only attack this weekend. There were a total of three air strike attacks besides this wedding party; the second attack killed off a family of five and another struck a bus and killed 20 civilians.

I’m sure if you are a halfway decent person you are thinking, “this is pretty tragic,” but what’s even more tragic is that we, the United States, have actively supported Saudi Arabia in their war and domination over Yemen. Our hands are not only soiled with the blood of the 15,000 killed through airstrikes since 2015, but due to our support of their blockade, we also play a hand in the death of 113,000 more in 2016-17, due to lack of food, water and medicines for perfectly preventable diseases, such as Cholera. The UN General Secretary, António Guterres called Yemen the “worst humanitarian crisis.”

Last month, Trump met with the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at the White House where our president, with the use of some very low-tech posters, embarrassed himself once again by boasting about all the equipment we sell to Saudi Arabia, such as $2.8 billion airplanes, or $1.2 billion tanks, etc. We not only sell them this equipment but we also help the Saudis with targeting, logistics, updating of vehicles, including refueling their jets mid-air. Now, that is quite a partnership!

As citizens, we must actively and urgently demand that we break our love affair with Saudi Arabia. No matter how impossible this may seem at the time, once faced with the reality of the suffering and carnage our country is responsible for, we must collectively speak up. Tweet, write emails, snail mail letters, whatever you feel like doing, but please do something. Together we can create more ripples than alone.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 461 – Letter to French President Macron: I’d Hire You To Babysit My Kid!

Day 461 – Letter to French President Macron: I’d Hire You To Babysit My Kid!

Dear President Macron,

There have been several jokes cast in your direction over the last 24 hours due to the affection you have shown during your extended handshakes and hugs with our dear president.  Much has been written about your stance vis-à-vis Mr. Trump, with some suggesting that by being a friend to the president you are leveraging a unique opportunity to place yourself at the forefront of the world stage and further France’s goals. You seem to be balancing your role well, achieving praise from the president while speaking to Congress about a new Iran accord and climate change, two policy initiatives toward which the president has been quite antagonistic.

Politicians here in the United States would seemingly benefit from your deft approach to coddling this toddler.

When you spank a toddler, what does the toddler do?  Learn how to hit you harder. (a.k.a War)

When you scream at a toddler, what does the toddler do?  Scream back! (a.k.a. Twitter War)

When you take away the toddler’s toys, what does the toddler do?  Try to take away yours! (a.k.a. Trade War)

You have realized that sometimes a president toddler just wants his hand to be held, to be listened too. (This may especially be the case when his wife mother doesn’t want to hold it.)

As with parents of toddlers, your approach is a struggle for our politicians as they don’t want to be seen as giving in. They struggle to see the forest through the trees, and seemingly want to escalate with the president instead of, well, perhaps letting him hold them for uncomfortably long periods of time.

Will you be made fun of for taking this approach to the president?  Of course. But you can hold your head high, because at the end of the day you know that the relationship between our countries will last long after this president leaves office.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 444 – Letter to Everyone Who Can Tell Right From Wrong: Using Chemical Weapons is An Abomination. So Demand Action.

Day 444 – Letter to Everyone Who Can Tell Right From Wrong: Using Chemical Weapons is An Abomination. So Demand Action.

Image from the NYTimes

Dear everyone who can tell right from wrong,

Because the last year and a half has been so hard, I really wanted to focus on something positive and uplifting today. I was planning to write a thank you letter to the media who have persisted in holding U.S. President Donald Trump and his clown college administration accountable.

But I couldn’t because I woke to the terrible news this morning of an attack in Syria that included shelling and the use of chemical agents against civilians. According to the medical relief organization Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), the attacks “systematic[ally] target[ed] medical centers and civil defense teams, resulting in the destruction of the majority of the civil defense centers and a large number of ambulances and rescue vehicles, heavily paralyzing the medical capacity of the city.” There are reports that hundreds are injured and as many as forty people have already died. The Syrian government is accused of carrying out the attacks against its own people.

In his typical shade-throwing fashion, President Trump condemned the attack and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad via name-calling and Obama-blaming on Twitter.

I recently heard a school principal speak at a fundraiser about “servant leadership.” Like me, you may never have heard this term before. Essentially, it “is a leadership philosophy that believes the most effective leaders strive to serve others, rather than accrue power or take control.” The principal went on to describe a vibrant community as one in which the members are giving back and helping others. So when I read about this most recent Syrian attack, I asked myself “what can I do?”

To start with, I believe truthfully identifying things is often the first step toward taking action and effectuating change. So I join Pope Francis, who characterized the attacks as “ devices of extermination,” and call this what it is: an act of genocide.

Less than a month ago, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum held a panel discussion and public program to mark the seventh anniversary of the Syrian conflict. One panelist, Rafif Jouejati of the Foundation to Restore Equality and Education (FREE-Syria), says we all bear the blame. “I would accuse the entire international community, squarely, for its inaction…. The Assad regime has been allowed and perhaps encouraged to act as it chooses. Russia has been allowed to act as it chooses. When Russia is guilty of dropping bombs on civilian structures—hospitals, schools, marketplaces—the world is complicit in merely issuing condemnations.”

Even members of the Trump administration recognize this. U.S. National Security Advisor (for one more day!) General H.R. McMaster gave the keynote address for the event and noted, “Preventing genocide and mass atrocities falls on all of us. Every nation, and every person, must share this responsibility.”

In the past, I’ve put my money where my mouth is and supported organizations providing relief to Syrian refugees. But it’s not enough. Another member of the panel discussion, Deputy Director of the Syria Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets) Mounir Mustafa, believes we can do more. “Supporting our [civil society] organizations is only dealing with the results or the symptoms of the conflict…. If people around the world, instead of just giving money to these organizations, if they come together to urge their governments to stop the cause of this conflict, then we won’t need the contributions to support the civil society and the relief work.” Similarly, Dr. Samer Attar of SAMS “suggested that concerned Americans, who might not be able to travel to neighboring countries to help deliver aid, can write op-eds in their local paper and speak to their elected officials to demand action.”

So this is an open letter to every single person in the world mature enough to differentiate between right and wrong. I don’t say “adults” because the young people are leading the way as our moral compass these days. To all of us: what are we doing to make our world a vibrant community?

And President Trump, I call on you to be a servant leader. Don’t just insult people on Twitter. If you believe President Obama dropped the ball on Syria, step up and lead. You have the ability to make the world a better place. Do it.

Sincerely,

Christine Trinh

And Letters2Trump

 

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