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Day 96 – Actions Speak Louder Than Words. How’s the Golf Swing, Mr. President?

Day 96 – Actions Speak Louder Than Words. How’s the Golf Swing, Mr. President?

Image by Donald Duff

Dear Mr. President,

As we near the end of your first one hundred days, it’s time to reflect on what has been accomplished.  The old saying is that actions speak louder than words.  Throughout your campaign, you spoke loud about “draining the swamp” and “making government work.”  However, your actions on these fronts have been quite the opposite.

Your promise to stop the practice of insiders running the government was broken before you even took office.  Your transition team was staffed with long-time Washington insiders and lobbyists from K Street, think tanks and political offices. There are at least six Goldman Sachs alumni that you have appointed to various positions.  You have brought many special interest players into your operations and have not pushed any proposals to tighten campaign finance or lobbying disclosure rules.  Your words were loud, but your actions betray you.

You also campaigned on fixing the inefficiencies of government. You currently have not nominated 85% of key executive branch positions that require Senate confirmation.  Leaving these positions unfilled results in less effective government.  As an important example, the State Department has 119 positions that require Senate confirmation and just three have been confirmed. Should there be a crisis, you are putting the country at risk by not having qualified experts in place.  These first one hundred days should be about building your team to help govern for the next four years.  You lag far behind past presidents in terms of filling key government positions by this time in their first one hundred days.

And lest we forget something you squawked a lot about on the campaign trail, do you recall disparaging President Obama while claiming that you would be working too hard for Americans to go out and play golf? Your multiple visits to your own golf courses are proof that your “do as I say, not as I do” mentality will be the hallmark of your presidency.

We are listening and watching you.  Please do better in the next 1,366 days.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 95 – From The Early Show to the Late, Late, Late Show….

Day 95 – From The Early Show to the Late, Late, Late Show….

Image by Yiannis Zervopoulos

Dear Mr. President,

I read in the Times yesterday that a new TV show is making its debut on Comedy Central. It’s a satire show all about you, led by Anthony Atamanuik who will dress and act as none other than you….for the entire show.  As a non-TV watcher myself, this would normally be peripheral news, but seeing as you are fascinated by TV, and you are our president, I can’t help but pay attention to what you do…and also worry. Sadly, we now live in a country where a comedy show, of all things, has the potential to influence policy, and our future. I say this because according to the Washington Post, based on an analysis of 307 of your most recent tweets on Twitter, you are two times more likely to tweet during a FOX channel morning news show called Fox and Friends. It’s obvious to your constituents and the world that the information on these types of right-wing shows is being used to support your position on various pivotal national matters.

Ashley Parker and Robert Costa of the Washington Post wrote a piece for the Chicago Tribune just yesterday called, Inside Donald Trump’s obsession with cable TV, in which your intense (and scary) relationship with TV is defined perfectly:

“For Trump — a reality TV star who parlayed his blustery-yet-knowing on-air persona into a winning political brand — television is often the guiding force of his day, both weapon and scalpel, megaphone and news feed. And the president’s obsession with the medium — as a governing tool, a metric for staff evaluation, and a two-way conduit with lawmakers and aides — has upended the traditional rhythms of the White House, influencing many spheres, including policy, his burgeoning relationship with Congress, and whether he taps out a late-night or early-morning tweet.”

Mr. President, due to your obsession with the media, I am very worried about this new show and you. I am worried because in the recent past, you have not shown the emotional fortitude to maturely deal with satires relating to you, your presidency or your policies, and now I fear that this show might be another trigger for you, setting off all sorts of new hurtful retaliatory policies on who knows what. Unfortunately for you, these satires will not end or go away anytime soon. Understandably, this country needs these creative outlets more than ever to help the majority of us cope with the nightmare that’s been your presidency so far.

But we will not go there today. Surely you already know how controversial you are, to put it mildly. No, Mr. President, instead of beating you over the head with what you have already heard over and over again, I have a suggestion for you. As an educator of 17 years and a teacher trained in special education, I know very well the art of making accommodations for my students. As a teacher who knows her craft very well, I see that TV is the way you “learn best” as we special education teachers might say. Therefore, no, I don’t think you need to necessarily stop watching TV. I get why you prefer this medium, and you are not alone obviously. My suggestion is to stick with the medium but diversify what you watch. Perhaps watch other forms of news, such as listener sponsored news, or maybe even watch some historical movies, or even a gripping series. Below, I made a small sample list for you to start with today. So go grab some popcorn, invite some close friends (maybe O’Reilly, Nugent, Kid Rock, Palin or maybe even Putin) over to the White House and cozy up to some of my favorites.

Movies to watch:

  • Schindler’s List
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • Gandhi
  • Votes for Women
  • A Raisin in the Sun
  • Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives
  • The Crusades: An Arab Perspective

Series to watch:

  • The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
  • Freedom Riders (documentary)

Video News Sources to watch online:

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 94 – Smokey Says “Resist!”

Day 94 – Smokey Says “Resist!”

Image from the Alt National Park Service

Dear Mr. President,

When I was 12, my mother put her four young children in our minivan and used money she’d saved from tutoring and a yard sale to take us around the country for the summer. We left from Philadelphia on a hot summer day and proceeded to drive through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. This is how I learned what it meant to be an American: by being immersed in our country’s radically diverse subcultures and regional geologies. Through National Parks, Recreation Areas, State Parks, Native Reservations, Campgrounds, and National Monuments, we carved a trail composed of American history, natural beauty, and uncontaminated education. I imagine this is an experience that you, unfortunately, have never had the privilege of being privy to.

This trip was the best gift my mother could have given us. It also made me eternally grateful to our country’s National Park Service, like many other proud Americans. Since that summer, I have remained an avid outdoor adventurer and advocate for the environment. When I was still studying for my business degree, I often focused on the ever-growing outdoor recreation economy. In the past year, public lands have been my area of expertise, as your administration increasingly has me worried about the future of our shared wild spaces.

To begin, I would like to first thank you for generously donating your first quarterly salary of $78,333.32 to the National Park Service. The hard truth about the Park Service is that there is a huge budget deficit and massive backlog of work to be done to upkeep roads, trails, and buildings in often rough terrain. As it stands, the National Park Service boasts 400 parks that bring in up to $16 billion in tourism dollars every year and covers 400 million acres of land open to the public. The National Park Service receives less federal funding than the city of Austin, Texas. There has been a proposed cut of $1.5 billion from the Department of the Interior under your administration, and it is still unknown to the public just how much would be cut from the National Park Service budget.

The National Park Service has already been steadily affected by your administration. The federal hiring freeze and gag order came directly from you. As you know, Badlands National Park did not take well to your gag order, and their resistance has lead to the creation of the Alternate National Park Service across social media platforms: a public forum for blocking your involvement in or destruction of our primitive, protected places. These forums are comprised of people like myself, who value our recreation spaces at a high level. The outdoor recreation economy’s popularity and reach has steadily grown annually over the past five years. The constituents that make up this sizeable consumer base are set to become a serious political force. If you continue to threaten the places we hold dear, this force will come for you. But hopefully it doesn’t have to come to that.

Since you seem to love cutting deals, I would like to propose one to you: Instead of cutting funding for public lands, find a better way to fund them. Motivate those who value public lands the most. I would like to propose a tax on the outdoor recreation economy to help fill the budget deficit for the National Park Service.

Companies like Patagonia, who earlier this year pulled out of Outdoor Retailer to raise awareness about protecting recently crowned Bears Ears National Monument, have such high consumer willingness-to-pay levels, price hikes from taxation are essentially negligible. Tax Patagonia. Tax North Face, Teva, Columbia, and Mountain Hardware. Tax skis and water bottles alike. Tax climbing gear and bike racks. Keep roads maintained, keep salaries for park rangers, continue to fund youth programming in parks.

The outdoor recreation economy has nothing if it loses its wild spaces in which its participants play, and dominant companies in the industry recognize this. If it means we get to climb at Arches National Park or hike in Yosemite for many generations to come, people like me want you to take our money. Stop slashing budgets for industries you don’t understand. National Parks make people believe in the value and beauty of America. Continued dedication to the Parks and the Park Service stands to benefit all.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 93 – Happy Earth Day, Mr. President!

Day 93 – Happy Earth Day, Mr. President!

Photograph by someone who actually cares about the environment

Dear Mr. President,

As I type this letter to you, an unsettling feeling builds in my gut. These aren’t some figurative words I claim off the cuff. This is a literal statement of fact. My stomach churns when I think about what you have “accomplished” in your first 92 days. It’s a visceral reaction when I see your face, or hear you speak, or even read transcripts of your speeches on whitehouse.gov. Your garbled, disorganized, and often grammatically unrecognizable rhetoric is spewed at the public like DuPont’s toxic mercury dumping into Virginia’s waterways. Eventually, DuPont had to pay up to the tune of $50 million.

I want to keep this letter short, because I have better things to do with my time. Like helping immigrants, and recycling, and cataloguing nature’s beauty through photography so that, one day, if I am ever blessed with grandchildren, I can show them what America looked like when it was truly great. I’m talking about those halcyon years before you took office, and even during your first 100 days when the repercussions of your executive orders were still unknown. Days when bald eagles once again soared our skies and manatees swam unthreatened in our waterways.

For day 93 of L2T, I planned on bullet-pointing some things that you could do to celebrate Earth Day. And then I thought, what’s the use? Before you get all triumphant and interpret that as a win, know that my thoughts don’t stem from me wanting to throw in the towel. Quite the contrary, I will continue to search out ways to conserve our natural resources, to lighten the weight of my carbon footprint, and to remain educated and vocal about the causes that resonate with me and my family. No, the reason I’m not going to school you on what you can do to help the environment—let’s face it, you’re not that guy—isn’t because you ignore the majority of voters in this already great country; it’s because we don’t need you to do anything. You see, I have faith.

I have faith that your dismantling of environmental protections isn’t going to change one damn thing. I once thought your executive orders to be slaps in the face of humanity. But I am heartened to see that some U.S. states are striking back. Maryland has banned hydraulic fracturing; New York and Vermont already banned drilling; other states, like Michigan, are lining up to present legislation protecting their residents and their resources. To open their proposed Doe Branch Mountaintop Removal Mining Operation, Paramont Coal Company will have to get approval from the EPA and the State of Virginia. While my faith wavers in regards to your contempt for the environment, I have faith in my fellow Virginians and in their desire to protect the beautiful Russell Fork River and our watersheds.

Mountaintop removal. How does such a thing even exist? My God.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

P.S. Don’t forget: DuPont had to pay $50 million in one lawsuit. What will you and your estate have to pay when future generations come knocking for restitution? Once again, Happy Earth Day!

Day 92 – Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say.

Day 92 – Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say.

Dear Mr. President,

When you campaigned for the presidency, you promised your voters you would accomplish very specific goals during your first 100 days in office. You thought this was such a great idea that you turned it into a formal contract with your voters, calling it your “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.” After signing this contract, you used it on your campaign website to urge voters to cast their ballot for you and your plan.

This morning you tweeted that “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!”

 

You are the one who set those goals for you and your administration, so you don’t get to call them “ridiculous” as if there is someone else to blame for writing that contract. No. You need to say what you mean and mean what you say.

You talk about the media killing the truth, but you consistently kill it while leaving a digital trail of crumbs to the origins of many of your lies. The thing you are most consistent with in your presidency is this cycle of setting a goal, missing the goal, not taking responsibility for your part, blaming others and then changing the facts so it doesn’t look like a failure.

The media has nothing to do with whether or not you accomplish all you said you would. You are the one that controls what you get done. You’ve got through the end of April to complete your 100-day contract. That doesn’t look likely. But it is interesting how you are already trying to misplace the blame on the media and distract the people from your failures. I wish that contract was a binding condition of your job, so on your 100th day in office, when you’ve failed to complete your end of the contract, you’d get to hear “you’re fired.”

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

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