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Day 224 – So You Are Resorting to Threats and Bully-Behavior to Get Your Wall Funded. Shocking.

Day 224 – So You Are Resorting to Threats and Bully-Behavior to Get Your Wall Funded. Shocking.

Photograph by Thomas Ricker

Dear Mr. President,

Please tell me I didn’t hear you correctly at that rally in Phoenix last week. Did you really say, “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall?” Are you a bully or are you the President of the United States?

A leader inspires people to be their best. A leader encourages cooperation and negotiation. A leader listens and values the opinions of others. Your statement above leads me to believe you have none of these qualities. Rather, you are the playground bully. You call other people names and then say that if you don’t get your way, we’ll all be sorry.

That is not how our government works. We have a system of checks and balances. Congress (not you) makes the laws and sends them to you for your approval or disapproval. This is Civics 101. Let them do their job without your meddling and threats. If Congress decides to appropriate funds to build your ridiculous wall, then it’s on them.  If they don’t appropriate the funds, and you shut down the government, then it’s all on you. You’ve got broad shoulders, right? You’ll take the blame? Not! You will immediately start pointing fingers at others, and here we go again.

Your insinuation sounds a lot like blackmail. Do you understand what shutting down the government means? It means our troops do not get paid. Thousands of workers, most of whom rely on their paycheck to live and support their families from week to week, will not get paid. Who is going to ensure our safety? Who is going to look after our food supply, our water and air quality?  What about our national parks? What about all the agencies that help with disaster relief, like we’re needing right now with Hurricane Harvey? You’re only hurting the American people, those you have pledged to support, by shutting down the government.

And then of course, you reiterated on Monday that Mexico is going to pay for this wall. Okay. I am confused. If Mexico is paying for the wall, why does the U.S. Congress have to appropriate the funds to build it? Really? What are you talking about?!?!?

Please stop blackmailing Congress and the American people. Quit acting like a spoiled child or a thug. Quit stating that Mexico is going to pay for your wall. If you want it so badly, build it with your own money, and the guard towers can be renamed Trump Towers in your honor.

Please. Act like the president, and the leader this country so desperately needs.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 219 – Diversity Matters, Mr. President. A Simple Demonstration For a Simple Man: Edeka Market In Germany.

Day 219 – Diversity Matters, Mr. President. A Simple Demonstration For a Simple Man: Edeka Market In Germany.

Photograph from WorldProNews

Dear Mr. President,

What did you have for dinner tonight? You seem like a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but I have to imagine that with your immense wealth, you eat, and have always eaten, rather well. Pretty much no matter where you are – be it Mar-a-Lago or your second residence of the White House – you have constant access to the best food money can buy.

I can only assume someone of your caliber feasts on delicacies like foie gras or osso bucco without a second thought. But you also pride yourself on being a man of the people, so my guess is that you also love to dive into a sausage or pizza on occasion too. And, let’s face it, even when you do go for the steak and potato dinner, you certainly must enjoy consuming Waygu beef.

May I let you in on a touch of common knowledge? None of these foods originated in the United States. None. Round of applause for Italy, France, Germany, and Japan.

This may seem like a silly subject in a time when white supremacist rhetoric is overtaking your mouth and the news, but actually, there is an underlying connection. I want you to turn to Hamburg for a minute.

On Thursday, Edeka, the largest supermarket chain in Germany, chose to only carry food found within its borders. Shelves were extremely bare, except for signs reading:

“This shelf is pretty boring without diversity.”

“Our range now knows borders.”

“This is how empty a shelf is without foreigners.”

“We will be poorer without diversity.”

What a shock this must have been to walk into the typical, well-stocked grocery store and see emptiness.  One customer even thought it looked like communist Cuba.

Edeka made this decision to remind Germany of the importance of its diversity. Given Merkel and the country’s recent struggles in working with refugees and immigration, this supermarket showed how food impacts society. Yes, with food – one of the most significant aspects of culture.

And when you take away food, people notice. When you take away food, culture is lost.

It is certainly true that our country has Americanized food from places like China and Mexico to fit our fast food obsession. Yet also realize that without the rest of the world, we would lose over 95% of our cocoa and coffee.  No Hershey’s chocolate or Starbucks? That’s un-American! Well, not exactly.

You are so intent on isolating America from the rest of the world, like with your actions at the G20 summit or, more recently, with your white-washing of statues and protests. I beg of you to look to what this grocery store teaches: diversity is strength.

So then maybe, just maybe, next time you enter 21 Club and order your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant, you can thank Germany for helping you realize the importance of remaining a contributing, positive part of our world in order to uphold and influence our own diverse culture. And for inventing the hamburger.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 206 – A Lesson For You, Mr. President, In How To Decide When The U.S. Should Use Military Force.

Day 206 – A Lesson For You, Mr. President, In How To Decide When The U.S. Should Use Military Force.

Photograph by 2nd Lt. Gerald Ratchford

Dear Mr. President,

By now, I think much of the world has grown accustomed to your inclination for off-the-cuff remarks and saying things that, though you may really mean them in the moment, you’ll never actually follow through with.  Even Kim Jong-un may privately dismiss your recent fire and fury comment as merely Trump being Trump.

Just in case we’re all wrong, though, I want to equip you with a nice set of criteria for the use of military force. Known as the Weinberger Doctrine (later re-dubbed the Powell Doctrine in the media), it was first articulated in 1984 in a speech by then U.S. Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. You can read the entire transcript, but it boils down to this: the United States should employ military force only when…

  1. Vital national interests are at stake
  2. U.S. public opinion and Congress support it
  3. Our objectives are clearly defined and achievable
  4. We will commit with the clear intention of winning
  5. All other options have been exhausted

And once committed…

  1. We continuously reassess our objectives and forces necessary based on the developing situation

At the time, Sec. Weinberger’s critics maintained the doctrine was too restrictive, limiting military response to only the most ideal circumstances and thereby hobbling American diplomatic efforts. This is understandable, but looking at the doctrine less dogmatically, it’s easy to see the intent is to know what we’re doing when we decide in favor of war: Do we have to do this? Will we really get what we want? Is it worth the price? War, as you should know by now even if your base doesn’t, is a terribly uncertain business. These are excellent questions to ask.

Take your recent comment about leaving a military option on the table in dealing with the crisis in Venezuela. Venezuela? Gosh are your sure about that? I know it’s a tragedy what’s happened in that country, but how on earth is a military intervention going to improve things? I’m going to have to insist on some very detailed answers to the criteria outlined above. And you should too.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 205 – Tweeting Without Thinking Is So Easy, Mr. President. But That Isn’t Presidential. Or Diplomatic. Or a Good Idea.

Day 205 – Tweeting Without Thinking Is So Easy, Mr. President. But That Isn’t Presidential. Or Diplomatic. Or a Good Idea.

Photograph by Thomas Hawk

Dear Mr. President,

I understand that you’re frustrated: all the diplomacy, all the smart people doing smart things haven’t been able to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. I understand the pleasure of getting good and angry and saying exactly what you feel.

But we’ve seen what nuclear bombs can do. We don’t have to imagine that degree of devastation. What could be far beyond what we have seen? Are these words as empty as so many of your words are? Or do you actually have a plan?

I can’t get away from how callous your words are – callous because the land and population of the United States are unlikely to experience serious consequences if hostilities increase. North Korea’s weapons won’t make it to our mainland. No, South Korea is far more likely to bear the immediate brunt of any violence. Or Guam. And if any weapons dropped either by us or the North Koreans have nuclear payloads, the fallout and radiation will spread far. Our allies and possibly our territory of Guam will experience the bulk of the violence and pain.

But you and everything you care about will be safe from harm. How easy it is to talk tough when you risk little.

Then again, callous is a word I often think of when I think of you.

You didn’t care that over 20 million people would’ve lost health insurance if the Republican plans had gone through. You selected several Cabinet secretaries who don’t believe in the fundamental mission of the agency they oversee. You turned your back on transgender service members who have served this country proudly and well. You think that only the already wealthy and prestigious are worthy of becoming Americans.

I can only hope that you have an experience where the hard ground of your heart and your mind are plowed up, and you come to value something other than the display of strength for its own sake, money and the accumulation of money, and your never ending need to be seen as the best.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 203 – Fire and Fury Letter: A Picture of the Path You Are Laying Out For Us All, Mr. President.

Day 203 – Fire and Fury Letter: A Picture of the Path You Are Laying Out For Us All, Mr. President.

Photograph by sarah d.

Dear. Mr. President,

Golf courses, stacks of money, hotels, casinos, mansions, reality TV. All the things I think you might care about will cease to exist. And all the humans on the planet, not that you care about any of them except yourself, will go right along with those things. That’s what will happen if you keep provoking nuclear war. Was it your intention to be our last president? That’s where we are headed.

Before you go around making cavalier statements that may secure doomsday for the entire planet, why don’t you stop and think about the implications for the rest of us. Actually, let’s simplify that. Just stop and think, period. It’s something that you don’t seem to really do in life.

I am mortified to have you as the leader of this nation. I am scared of what your thin-skinned, knee-jerk reactions to North Korea may cause. You don’t represent your people. You represent your massive ego, which will turn to ashes just like the rest of us in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

I highly suggest you watch “White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Watch a man’s heart beat through his partially disintegrated chest cavity. Listen to accounts of people who watched their loved ones’ flesh melt from their bones. This is not what the people you represent want for our world.    This is not what the rest of the world outside the U.S. wants! If you can’t come up with something intelligent to say that keeps us out of a nuclear holocaust, kindly shut your mouth (and stay off your Twitter account).

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 203 – Fire and Fury Letter: We Don’t Want Our Kids to Learn Duck and Cover Drills, Mr. President.

Day 203 – Fire and Fury Letter: We Don’t Want Our Kids to Learn Duck and Cover Drills, Mr. President.

Photograph from Pinterest

Dear Mr. President,

I was a senior in college when the full force of the Great Recession hit. Up to my neck in student loan debt, pondering an additional two years of graduate school, and no clear employment prospects on the horizon; I was far from the worst hit by the news but nonetheless in an unenviable position. Despite the legitimate worry my fellow classmates felt, however, I found myself optimistic. The argument for change and the chance to fix institutional problems, I argued with them, could be made so much easier when rebuilding things up after the collapse. I was still excited about the future amid the hardship.

The memory of this naive optimism rushed back to me while I lay in bed next to my spouse, thumbing through the latest news. As I read report after report detailing the specifics of what was said and the shockwave sent through Asia because of it, the assurances to rest easy bounced off my unnerved exterior. I found myself facing the prospect of a future in which nuclear destruction was not only feasible, but an option available to someone who did not feel the need to plan or think about it. Suddenly the stories of older generations growing up huddled under their elementary school desks clicked into focus. In my mind, the talking-heads of countless Cuban Missile Crisis documentaries rattling off how America came “this close” to destruction refilled their refrains with its proper weight. I understood, finally, and I became terrified.

Please, Mr. President, envelop yourself in the stories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors. Check out John Hersey’s seminal Hiroshima at your local library. Understand that the trauma and damage inflicted by those bombs is miniscule in comparison to the possibilities of today. If you are so determined to discredit and besmirch the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), what better way is there than to take these stories to heart and negotiate a gradual and complete disarmament of all nuclear weapons, worldwide? At the very least, investigate and promote ways to contain and arrest North Korea’s aggression without resorting to the bombs. Please.

I beg this because I realized, for the first time, that the news pouring out of my phone had startled me, breaking any refuge of optimism completely, and caused me to even reconsider the wisdom of having children. Of bringing new life into a world where the specter of nuclear holocaust hangs so perilously close to reality, ushered forth by a man who carelessly and thoughtlessly plunges the geopolitical landscape into chaos on a regular basis. The realization of this contrast with my younger self shook me, Mr. President. I challenge you to put real thought to whether you want to ask Americans to raise their families in a world kissed by an Atomic Sun.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

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