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Day 511 – Letter to the World: I’ll Take Whatever Hope For Peace I Can Get These Days.

Day 511 – Letter to the World: I’ll Take Whatever Hope For Peace I Can Get These Days.

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Dear people of the world,

President Trump told us to sleep well after he met with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un this week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the thuggish journey to this meeting. Scenes from Wayne’s World play through my head.

Game on! Game on! CAR! Game on! Game on! CAR!

Or is it rather a game of chicken?

Kim + Trump: We are going to meet! We are bringing world peace!

Kim: Wait, nope. I don’t wanna.

Trump: Well then, I don’t wanna either.


Kim: Okay well maybe we can talk denuclearization.


Trump: Okay.

Meeting happens.

Kim:  I reaffirm my firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Trump:  I commit to provide security guarantees to North Korea. Oh, and we will stop war games.

Pentagon: Whhaaaaa?

From what I read, this meeting isn’t saving the world.

But. But. I have to say. It is the first time in a looooooong time that these two countries have come to the table.

Right now, as children are being ripped from their parents’ arms as they cross the border; as Trumpist Corey Stewart won Virginia’s Republican Senate nomination and his fans celebrated with hateful glee, chanting, “Lock Her Up” (seriously?? still??); as we play stupid tariff games with our Canadian and international friends…

I will take any step toward peace I can get.


Kate Viggiano Janich

Activist. Entrepreneur. Mom. Lover of no-drama.


And Letters2Trump

Day 508 – Sad When Our Only Hope is that the Insecurities and Narcissistic Personalities You and Kim Jong-Un Share Will Push Us Toward World Peace. Good Lord.

Day 508 – Sad When Our Only Hope is that the Insecurities and Narcissistic Personalities You and Kim Jong-Un Share Will Push Us Toward World Peace. Good Lord.

Image from CNN

Mr. President,

We are now hours away from the beginning of your negotiations with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. The stakes are high, but hopes are low as you have spent the last few days alienating and directly insulting our longtime allies at the G-7 Summit, signaling your continued and baffling support of Russia and Putin, and posturing about your lack of preparation and your plan to go on gut feel at a crucial negotiation with nuclear implications. We, the American people, are weary, wary, and without hope for the outcome. What I hope will happen is that you will find in North Korea’s leader a brother in arms, a fellow insecure dictator with thin skin who cannot bear to lose. And that, I hope, lights your path forward toward a solution that allows both of you to crow about an unprecedented agreement that could only have been brought into existence by two geniuses working side by side. The world will know the truth, that we have avoided disaster by your mutual ability to claim a joint victory and great partnership in which no one loses, both win, and the world becomes more secure. Because heaven knows that the alternative – an agreement or negotiation in which one must lose – is a non-starter for both. We’re happy to entertain the fiction of your great leadership if it in fact can keep us safe until Mueller finishes his work.

The end of your presidency cannot come soon enough.



Day 490 – Can You Get a Refund on that (HUUUGE) Trip to Singapore???

Day 490 – Can You Get a Refund on that (HUUUGE) Trip to Singapore???

Image from NPR

Mr. President,

It is with regret that I read today the cancellation of the proposed summit with North Korean leaders you had scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.  After all, despite your mad tweeting you seem to be able to charm folks in the room.  I suppose we were all hoping you and Kim Jong-Un would have some nice “handshakes a la Macron.”

So wha’ happened???  Do we have to put the Nobel Peace Prize talk on hold?

I thought you were this diplomatic genius who had finally brought North Korea to its knees (and the bargaining table)?

How did our diplomatic efforts end so quickly (and so publicly!)?

Instead of biding your time (quietly) and working to understand whether North Korea really did destroy a nuclear development site today and thus are amenable to serious conciliatory actions, you jumped the gun. Now we are back to threatening a country with nuclear capabilities and which has shown the capability to launch an ICBM at the U.S.

From your letter today to Kim Jong-Un: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” 

Really?  This is your diplomatic tact? Did you not think he knew our capabilities far outstrip his own?

Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth.  Stop talking.  Let Pompeo do his job.  Don’t get flustered if they insult Mike Pence again (come on, you have to admit, he is kind of a “political dummy”).  See if they are serious about disarmament, and until that time, maybe withhold the “massive and powerful” talk.



Day 455 – Maybe You Can Speak Kim Jong-un’s Language, Mr. President. Narcissist to Narcissist.

Day 455 – Maybe You Can Speak Kim Jong-un’s Language, Mr. President. Narcissist to Narcissist.

Image from CNN

Mr. President,

I have to give you credit for a display of irony that is still dawning on me.

After months of threats exchanged between you and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, as nuclear devastation hovered in the background, most of us trembled, watching and listening as two apparent madmen dared each other to blow up the world.

But then you and Kim began to tone down the roars to a kind of gentle growl, and now seem to be approaching each other with disarmingly genteel noises of friendship.  Suddenly you both seem to have entered a phase that I am belatedly recognizing as the next step in a ritual.

Watching in despair, I yearned for the reasoned, intelligent discourse of our former presidents and diplomats, whose civilized approach transcended the raw displays of power practiced by the Korean dictator. But now, watching in amazement, I see Kim Jong-un standing peaceably by the side of your emissary, apparently all smiles at the idea of a civil engagement with the U.S.

And it occurs to me that all the reasoned, intelligent ritual of discourse was a waste of energy, because Kim never understood its semaphores; instead, he was engaged in another kind of ritual that went unrecognized and unanswered.

But you answered in kind, because you understand Kim Jong-un, and Kim Jong-un understands you. You speak the same language, use the same semaphores. And I realize that all the qualities in you that I have held in such contempt are the very ones that allow this understanding: you are both irrational, narcissistic, immoral actors, one a dictator, one a dictator wannabe. You guys get each other.  You communicate.

So you, the least admirable president imaginable, may wind up by your very nature solving one of the day’s most dangerous and intractable dilemmas. And we may wind up thanking you for being you.

Now that’s irony.


Andrea Viggiano

And Letters2Trump


Day 371 – Thanks For Bringing Us Closer to Doomsday, Mr. President. Great Start to Your Second Year.

Day 371 – Thanks For Bringing Us Closer to Doomsday, Mr. President. Great Start to Your Second Year.

Image from BBC

Mr. President,

I don’t know how much play this is going to get over on Fox News, but this morning, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists pushed the so-called Doomsday Clock forward thirty seconds.

Thirty seconds.

Thirty seconds closer to midnight.

Thirty seconds closer to global catastrophe, to the possible destruction of nearly all that we love.

Now, of course, we’re not literally thirty seconds closer to Armageddon — the clock serves as a metaphor for incredible danger humanity faces at this point in our history, principally from nuclear weapons and climate change.

You know who was president of the last true superpower over the last year?  You.

This means, Mr. President, that you — yes, you — helped push us closer to this symbolic midnight, toward what could be our end.

We are thirty metaphorical seconds closer to ruin than we were before you took office.

So much winning.

Your belligerent Tweets, your childish need to respond to every perceived slight, and your constant undermining of science and journalism have, in part, left us only two tiny minutes from the potential end of civilization.

This is not the direction we want to be going. This is not good.

I’m no expert, but I can’t see how driving humanity closer to probable extinction is, like, smart.  And keep your trigger finger off your phone for a second: I’m not calling you stupid.  I’m confident you could, like, find your way to the SATs if someone, like, spoke slowly and drew a really detailed map for you.  But here’s what you need to understand: the clock striking midnight, in this case, doesn’t mean that you finally got rid of all of those people from “shithole countries.”  It doesn’t mean that you figured out a sneaky way to keep brown people from immigrating to the U.S.  It means all of us are doomed, from the most privileged to the least.  Even the Norwegians.  Even porn stars.  Even you.

You’re not the cause of climate change, but your policies and decisions are erasing any gains we might have made in the last decade toward mitigation or long-term reversal.  You didn’t invent nuclear weapons (no matter how, like, high your IQ is), but your actions are leading the world toward greater proliferation and danger.  You’re not the first to doubt science or question the integrity of journalists, but your daily whining about “fake news” makes it far more difficult for citizens to put their trust in reputable sources of information.

It’s not solely your fault, in other words, that an imminently respected team of scientists, security experts, writers, and scholars believe that we’re closer to catastrophe than any time since 1953.

But you are partially to blame.

Two minutes, Mr. President.  What’s your next move?  More Tweets about how you’re a “really stable genius?”  More laughable attempts to show North Korea that you’re A Big Boy with a Big Button that Actually Works?

I’d much prefer that you took some action that convinced us that you care even a little bit about the future of humanity.

As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists points out, “This is a dangerous time, but the danger is of our own making.”  And if we can make the danger, we can unmake it.

Even though you garnered fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, the rules of the electoral college decreed you president.  You have three more years to move the clock back, to push us away from destruction rather than toward it.

I’d start now, if I were, like, you.



Day 360 – You Have Made Things That Once Seemed Only Fodder for Nightmares Into Terrifying, Daily Possibilities, Mr. President.

Day 360 – You Have Made Things That Once Seemed Only Fodder for Nightmares Into Terrifying, Daily Possibilities, Mr. President.

Image from USA Today

Mr. President,

I hesitate to write to you so early. Every time I set out to say something before my prescribed date, you go and do something horrific mere hours before my scheduled posting, necessitating a complete rewrite. But I write to you today somewhat ahead of schedule, from the floor of where the future is supposed to be sprouting.

I’m speaking of the Computer Electronics Showcase, or CES as it is more widely known. I am told it brings some 30,000 people to the city of Las Vegas, and judging by the traffic snarls, I can believe it. I know this city, from far more pedestrian gatherings, and it’s easy to avoid the snarl–just take public transit. Many of these tech types, though, seem to consider themselves above such things. I suppose they figure they cannot spare the time to walk to the monorail–these people who refer to the place where their desk and computer is in their homes as “labs,” and who go to parties featuring pole-dancing robots.

You are everywhere at this event. In your hideous golden tower that looms at the end of the strip. In those dancing robots and the shameless buffoonery with which the invite attempted to coax partygoers out to see them. And in the screams that went up from the floor, as what was later revealed to be a flashover from the deluge plunged North Hall into darkness.

I, like countless others, immediately assumed it to be an act of violence. I watched darkness claim the area I’d been standing in only moments before, watched the flashlight settings on smartphones wink on in the blackness, and listened as with what felt like the speed of a snail, the initial collective scream morphed into the excited, curious buzz of a crowd suddenly more of a piece than it had been moments before.

“That’s not good,” noted a well-dressed man standing next to me–who probably earns more per year than the entire sum value of my home and who seconds ago had been about to plow into me, because I have been experimenting here with refusing to always be the first one to give way in a crowd, to see how many of these entitled tech bros return the favor.

“No, it’s not,” I replied. We had both turned to look back at the crowd moshing its way toward the entrance.

“Do you think it was an accident?”

“I don’t…know…I should go tell my team,” I murmured, and fled. Because I was afraid. Because we were out in the open. Because every salaried job I’ve ever had has given us training for shooting events, and because herding people into one close space as this power outage was doing was a good way to line them up for the slaughter. Because I was ashamed (I had come to this event envisioning having to rescue my sisters being pawed up in elevators by abusive execs drunk on media attention and overpriced liquor–I’d spent extra time in the gym to facilitate absurd readiness for that–and here I was fleeing at the first sign of tumult). And because I worried if I did something foolish and got myself shot, the people at whose behest I had attended would suffer the weight of my idiotic death at the hands of some blood-crazed jerk, and that would be a waste of their time and, sort of, mine.

These are melodramatic thoughts, I know. But these are melodramatic times. Trying to find an alternate exit, I hovered by the doors where a security guard stood, barking into his walkie-talkie about keeping everyone from running to avoid a stampede. With him there, I didn’t know if I would be allowed to exit, and I very much wanted to just be told what to do. I detest that feeling, but this is where you have placed us. In a time where we have more reason than ever to doubt the motives, morals and self-control of the people sworn to protect us, you send us fleeing to them like lemmings, gibbering with relief at the thought of decision-making in the face of chaos becoming someone else’s concern.

How are you involved in all this? Your inaction on gun laws, for one (though of course you are hardly the first to come up impotent in that regard). But also the sense of doom you have draped over this country like a fog. I am hardly alone in having to do rewrite after rewrite, any time I want to address current events–no sooner do we lay our heads on our pillows, our drafts saved, than our phones shriek some new warning about your seeming desire to blow us all into oblivion (sometimes more literally than others, as was the case with Hawaii last night).

With the way you have been carrying on, who among us would look at that text and think “ah, this can’t be real, this must be some terrible flub of the system?” Not me. Not anyone I know. Had someone like my father–old, bitter, in possession of weaponry–been in Hawaii and received that text, he might have shot himself, just to deny North Korea, presumed launcher of the missile, the pleasure. Again, this would have been a melodramatic act. But these are melodramatic times. Gone are the days when we could witness the appearance of some ridiculousness and think “but surely things aren’t this way.”

They are. They are this way. And while this time the power outage was innocent–the result of a city overburdened with more water than it ever expected to have to deal with–there is no reason to believe that there won’t be a next time, and a next time after that, where people will die. And not all the technology on this entire show floor can stop it.

One French company’s automated home security system–complete with video cameras and self-deploying pepper spray–rang at first, in the videos playing on constant loop in its booth, as ridiculous. A wizened old man, interrupted in the pouring of his drink, resumes it with a satisfied air as his robotic security system maces a burglar. A woman glances at her phone in relief as her home security system berates an abusive babysitter and sends the police in for a violent arrest. “Things aren’t that bad here,” we want to laugh. “This is just how we look to people outside. They must have a terrible impression of us. But we’re not really that bad.”

We are, though. And you’ve helped us get this way.




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