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Day 431 – Letter to the People: An American Villanelle [Adult Mix]

Day 431 – Letter to the People: An American Villanelle [Adult Mix]

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Dear American people,

A poem for you today:

An American Villanelle [Adult Mix]

If we wanted to, there’s much we could fix.

Most of us just sit, frozen with despair—

we wait too patiently watching the tricks.


We blast AR-15s at the foundation’s bricks;

we open holes—spray smoke & blood in the air.

If we wanted to, there’s much we could fix.


If we allowed reasoned thought in the mix,

our ludicrous death cult would be laid bare—

we wait too patiently watching the tricks.


Our country of dunces plays pew-pew with sticks,

and we absorb it through screens from the armchair.

If we wanted to, there’s much we could fix.


Staring at the ratings gold of politics,

we trade peace for children’s blood & fanfare.

We wait too patiently watching the tricks.


We plan our ride in his boat on the Styx

while watching children who aim at repair.

If we wanted to, there’s much we could fix.

We wait too patiently watching the tricks.




Day 430 – The Student Activists and Marchers Have Everything You Lack: Courage, Honesty and Love for Others. Change Is Coming and They Are Ushering It In.

Day 430 – The Student Activists and Marchers Have Everything You Lack: Courage, Honesty and Love for Others. Change Is Coming and They Are Ushering It In.

Image from Scroll In

Dear Mr. President and all role models, good and bad,

As I was marching yesterday with 200 people of all ages in a nearby mostly Republican small town, I started thinking about role models, good and bad, and some of the important characteristics that we want ourselves, our children, our grandchildren to emulate. And who in history or in the public eye today exhibits those characteristics, and who does not? We have our well known heroes (Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, etc.), but what of the ordinary people?

Courage. Who does not have it? You and every member of Congress who take money from the NRA and are silenced by greed and fear on the issue of gun violence. You fled to your Florida resort rather than stand in front of and in support of those who took part in the March for Our Lives.

Who has it? The children leading us in the marches yesterday and tomorrow, many of them survivors of the terror wreaked by guns, determined to end America’s scourge of gun violence. The African American children of 50 years ago who faced fire hoses and dogs, determined to end the American scourge of racism.

Honesty. Who does not have it? You, who has honed lying to a fine art, and all politicians who lie about their intentions to “fix” gun violence. Each member of Congress who act as if his or her political life can continue as always in the face of the wave that is coming and will swamp them. Spokesmen for the NRA who state that those 800,000 marchers in DC and those around America and the world must be controlled by “violent radicals,” similar to the remarks made by white supremacists 50 years ago who said that those who marched for voting rights were controlled by Communists: all vicious lies meant to smear and undermine the honesty and authenticity of the marchers.

Who does have it? The kids who organized March for our Lives and who say “We call BS” to all those who stand in the way of real progress on gun control. And all those who speak truth to power, who call out hate and bullying and the lies.  The kids who walk out of their schools in memory of those who were victims of gun violence and who cry “Enough!”

Love and brother/sisterhood. Who does not have it? You, who rips apart families, denies the right to serve to many transgender members of the military, who every day divides us even as you claim to unite.

Who has it? As I watched the end of the DC march, I was deeply moved by the authentic love and caring and support for each other exhibited by the kids. They linked arms, hugged, freely shared their tears, reached out to those victims of gun violence in urban cities.  50 years ago as my husband and others marched in Selma, they felt held up by the linked arms of the marchers and the united singing of “We shall overcome” and “We shall not be moved.”

Yesterday, Jennifer Hudson sang “The times they are a-changin,’” written by Bob Dylan in 1964, and I felt a surge of hope. Those who marched in the 1960s registered voters, just as the kids are doing today, because in a democracy political change must happen through voting. The voting rights act of 1965 proved that change, big change, can and will happen through the efforts of the young. These kids and their advocates today will not be moved and they and we SHALL overcome.



Day 429 – Your Probably Missed It, But There Was a Revolution Today, Mr. President.

Day 429 – Your Probably Missed It, But There Was a Revolution Today, Mr. President.

Image from ABC News

Mr. President,

I highly doubt that you watched the various television coverages of the March for Our Lives, and doubt that your news of choice, Fox, will say much about the march other than to put it down as a bunch of ‘spoiled liberal kids’ following the orders of the ‘liberal establishment’s agenda, whatever that is.

I am certain that your golf games and fancy life at Mar-a-Lago was sufficient to distract you from anything real in the world. I am certain, with your wealth and white privileges, you feel sufficiently insulated from the millions of people, young and old, of every race, creed, ethnicity, religion, and political persuasion in our nation to believe you and your GOP can continue as you regularly do and ignore what the American people want and need and continue to feather your own nests. But, sir, that is a luxury you can NO LONGER enjoy.

If you HAD watched the coverage (and heaven forbid you’d actually attend and offer support) as I did, you’d have seen literally millions of young people of all ages in over 800 cities in the U.S., besides those in DC, stand together and show a level of maturity and concern for our country that neither you nor the party you claim to lead has shown in an epic number of years.

They also showed a level of political awareness that everyone in DC, regardless of party, should both envy and fear, because these ‘kids’ are motivated and angry and ready for battle, and they are coming for you.

I am only 1 month younger than you, and undoubtedly would rise to your definition of “losers” you so often use to insult Americans who disagree with you. But I suggest, sir, that I am a million times better off than you. I went to school through college, and didn’t have the advantage of wealth. I also had the real advantage of teachers that taught me to THINK, something you have been bereft of and the lack of which ability you continue to display. And I despair of any change in you, which saddens me greatly – not for you, necessarily, but for our nation. But I can hope; after all as the old adage says, “Hope springs eternal…”

My suggestion, Mr. President, is to Take a break from your imperial ambitions, find a quiet place and watch some real coverage of the march. Read some history. Get out to the rest of the country, away from your toadies and sycophants and listen to what your citizens are saying. See the pain and suffering that exist in what is supposedly the richest nation on earth. But mostly, learn to CARE, about the poor, the children, the elderly and sick.

You now have the choice, sir. You can continue your course and destroy our country, or you can grow up, join the majority of the American people and TRULY make our country great again.


Jon Rogers

And Letters2Trump



Day 429 – Letter to Colion Noir: You’re Just Another Damn Troll

Day 429 – Letter to Colion Noir: You’re Just Another Damn Troll

Image from What The Flicka

Dear “Colion Noir,”

I gotta hand it to you: that’s some top-tier, craven-ass trolling.  On a weekend when even child-in-chief Donald Trump realized that since he couldn’t think of anything nice to say, he should probably haul his ignorant self off to the golf course, you decided that something just had to be done about these darn meddling kids.

So you stepped up.

And like the most modern of cowards, you took to the airwaves to let the world (or, at least, your subscribers) know that it was your wildly misguided opinion that the students marching against gun violence were, somehow, putting on a “festival,” and that what they truly wanted was to “burn the constitution and rewrite the parts [they] like in crayon.”

Wow.  That’s dumb.

I mean, it’s brilliant as a piece of trolling, but, still, it’s seriously dumb — just as it is to claim that “these kids ought to be marching against their own hypocritical belief structure.”

Look, it’s clear you’re a sensitive dude.  The idea that millions of individuals around the country took to the streets (and not just to YouTube) to stand up for what they believe, to try to affect some positive change in this country, and to remind people that no matter what else, the easy access to high-powered guns in this country has made it all-too-easy to massacre innocents, whether one by one or seventeen in six minutes, somehow deeply offends your uber-delicate self.

But, I’ll tell you what.  If what you really want is to be a hero, like the way you lionize Blaine Gaskill, then let’s strike a deal: you keep your guns (because, no matter what else, no one is “OMG coming for our guns!!!@@$$$$!” despite the NRA’s constant cries to the contrary), but you also step up and do some work to protect our future in other ways.  Fight climate change.  Help elect politicians who believe in science.  Help lobby for policies to protect our farmland, our rivers, and our air.

Otherwise, you’re just another damn troll.





Day 428 – Letter to Kids and Teens Leading the Gun Control Charge: Tomorrow, the Children Lead the Grown-Ups.

Day 428 – Letter to Kids and Teens Leading the Gun Control Charge: Tomorrow, the Children Lead the Grown-Ups.

Image from Amplifier (offering free downloads of posters for March For Our Lives

Dear student activists,

Tomorrow the children will lead the grown-ups.

As I drove in the dark dawn hours this morning, I was reminded of all our children have to offer – and how much of that we often dismiss or overlook.

I listened to NPR on the radio. They were featuring tomorrow’s March for Our Lives.

In this age of protecting our children with rubber-chipped playgrounds and five-point seat buckles, we forget that children are not just kids who need to be ever-shielded. They are not always wrapped up in themselves, entitled and oblivious. They are watchful. They are pure of heart. They are brave. And they are strong.

On February 21, I walked my usual route in front of the White House on the way to a client meeting. There was a huge group of people – and I realized they were surrounding dozens of children. These were kids who don’t trust the grown-ups to do their jobs, which should be to protect these very children, protesting outside the White House. I got goosebumps.

On my ride this morning, I listened to this breathtaking interview on Morning Edition. NPR’s Noel King spoke with Cameron Kasky, who survived the Florida school shooting, about organizing tomorrow’s march. He had become known for giving Marco Rubio a hard time and asking him questions the politicians are scared to pussyfoot around.

Cameron was eloquent, passionate, and on-point. When the reporter asked him about others, mostly Republicans, starting to attack him and his peers by accusing them of being paid activists, he said, “When people can’t attack your argument, they start attacking you personally…That’s when you know you won.”

He said what I wish our grown-up leaders would have the guts to live out: “This only works because it’s us…The only reason this has worked and will continue to work is because we don’t let ourselves get bastardized by others.”

Cameron – and all of the kids he is working with – are shining the spotlight out onto all the other children and parents who are railing for gun control and protecting our innocent – but are overpowered and overshadowed. These shadows are cast by the NRA and other special interests who steer politicians’ morals away from the simple right, the simple human thing to do.

And then finally, StoryCorps came on. And as always, it made me weep. In today’s program, a mother talked with her 10 year-old son about the active shooter drills. He told her step-by-step what the class does during these drills. He then told his mom that he would put himself in front of the other kids if he had to – because, “It’s kind of like, there’s one person that can come home to the family, or there can be 22 people that come home to the family.” She didn’t know what to say to him – because he made it clear that he wouldn’t let his mother sway him.

You – you children. You, the ones who have stood up, who won’t get sidetracked, who are using your experiences to change the world – thank you.

Thank you for giving us more hope than we’ve had in a long, long time. Thank you for putting the simple right thing to do out front. Thank you for being media savvy, for taking risks, for supporting each other in a scary time. Thank you for letting your youthful openness lead the way.

I hope to God that when you are parents, you won’t need to imagine your children huddling behind desks. If you keep going the way you are, I am sure you won’t.

I – and so many of us grown-ups – are awed by you. Thank you for being the people you are. Thank you for setting examples for our children. And most of all – Thank you for leading us.



Kate Viggiano Janich, Mom. Activist. Entrepreneur.

And Letters2Trump

Day 417 – Letter to Americans Who Believe that Video Games Cause Mass Shootings: They Don’t.

Day 417 – Letter to Americans Who Believe that Video Games Cause Mass Shootings: They Don’t.

Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

Dear Americans who think video games cause mass shootings,

They don’t.

Video games don’t cause mass shootings.

I know that our country doesn’t always like to believe in science, but it’s time we stop debating this ridiculous myth and start dealing with the actual causal issues instead.

Because video games don’t cause mass shootings.

Video games do cause a lot of things. They often cause us to be more isolated; they may make us more aggressive in the short-term. They definitely cause us to waste a lot of time. They sometimes cause us to eat too much and live in our moms’ basements. They may have indirectly caused my divorce. But they do not cause teenage white males to go out and shoot up their local schools.

Let’s conduct a thought experiment.

Let’s set up a hypothetical scenario with two countries, identical in all aspects, save 2 distinct differences.

Country A gives their children unlimited access to all the video games they want, whenever they want, for as long as they want. Country A has very limited access to guns with very strict regulations.

Country B loves their guns. They fetishize their guns, they ban federal funding of research on gun violence, and they have very lax gun regulations and many loopholes. Thankfully, Country B has very limited access to violent video games.

Let’s say that this hypothetical scenario runs for 5 years.

At the end of 5 years, how many young white men in Country A wandered into their local schools and shot as many of their peers as possible? How many school shootings happened in a country with very strict gun regulations but unlimited access to all of those terrible, violent video games?

How about in Country B? How many mass shootings occurred with unfettered access to all those guns, but thankfully no violent video games to stir up any aggression?

In simple terms: If Johnny can’t play video games but can play with real guns and real bullets, how many real people could he possibly shoot?

It’s time to stop debating this ridiculous myth.

Video games don’t cause mass shootings.

Unregulated and fetishized access to guns does.





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