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Day 193 – You Are Nothing Like President Lincoln. Nothing.

Day 193 – You Are Nothing Like President Lincoln. Nothing.

Photograph by Alexander Gardner

Dear Mr. President,

Less than a week ago, while you attended a “rally” in Ohio, you claimed that, “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s held this office.”  You went on to claim that, “No president has done anywhere near what we’ve done in his first sixth months.”


Beyond an unprecedentedly low approval rating, historic levels of chaos both behind the scenes and in the public eye, an overwhelming desire to spend your weekends golfing, and the mockery of the Western world, what have you accomplished?

You have not overhauled the tax code.

You have not built your wall.

You have not replaced the Affordable Care Act.

Whether America was, in fact, “great” before you took office, it’s hard to see just how you could claim that you’ve even come close to making it “great” again.

Now, I will admit, you’ve managed to accomplish a few things, but not exactly what you promised when you were running for this job.

You withdrew from the Paris climate deal.  Faced with real, scientifically-verified climate change, our grandchildren surely will despise you for that.

Back in February, you signed legislation making it easier for mining companies to pollute our streams and rivers.

In March, you killed the clean power plan of the EPA, helping coal companies mine on public land and eliminating climate change as a consideration when approving federally-funded projects.

In June, your EPA decided that even though leaks from oil and gas operators disproportionately hurt children, there needed to be a two-year stay on regulations that might reduce such leaks.

By the end of June, you just straight-up scrapped the clean water rule.

But here’s what’s wild: that “more presidential than Lincoln” claim from your rally was not at all the most troubling thing you said.  During this gathering, you asked the crowd, “Is there any place that’s more fun, more exciting, and safer than a Trump rally?”

Is that why you’re here?  Is that why you’re president?  Is this all it amounts to?  To slather yourself in cheers in a place that’s “more fun, more exciting, and safer” than anywhere else?

Because, dammit, Mr. Trump — that’s not why you were elected.  Being president is hard.  It should challenge you.  It should confront you with agonizing decisions about your constituents.  It should force you to ask difficult, but essential questions about whether health care is a human right, about whether our public education system is worth saving, and what would improve the lives of the majority of Americans rather than a handful of the wealthiest and most powerful.  I’m sorry, but your four year term should be anything but fun, exciting, and safe.

Accept difficulty, Mr. Trump.  Accept challenge.  I don’t mean, “get mad when a news anchor says something that hurts your precious feelings and tweet something offensive in response.”  I mean, take upon your shoulders your actual goddamn job: being president of the United States.  Being the leader of the free world, as our presidents have been for the last century.  Being an example of liberal democracy and a voice for equality and opportunity.

It’s not going to be nearly as much fun as attending a pep rally for yourself, but it might — just might — get you a little closer to that “presidential” ideal you apparently aspire to.



Day 192 –  A Personal Perspective On Your Trans Ban…and Some Actual Data! Imagine That!

Day 192 – A Personal Perspective On Your Trans Ban…and Some Actual Data! Imagine That!

Photograph from Wikipedia

Dear Mr. President,

It was exactly two years ago this month that my older brother came out to us, his family, and the world as transgender. It’s been a long journey and although our family is still adjusting to the transition, the entire community, from her siblings to her coworkers, from our mom all the way down to her ex-wife, have come out full-force in support of this plight for a truer, more genuine identity.  What rises to the surface from this experience for me has been witnessing my sister’s sheer strength in moving forward despite the many, many difficulties that come with such a path. As you may know, transgender people don’t choose to be transgender, just as gays don’t choose to be gay; it’s who they genuinely are. Coming out is a path only for the courageous. Having witnessed her transition firsthand, I can attest that it takes a mountain of bravery to stand one’s ground and reveal your true nature to the world, despite every force in society telling you otherwise.

Understandably, this week, I was saddened, but not shocked, to read your tweets concerning transgender people, stating “That the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” and you gave two very weak excuses for this, so called “ban.” One, being the tremendous medical costs and two, being the supposed “disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

If your concern were really costs, Mr. President, then instead you would be looking into possibly streamlining our military spending, not banning transgender folks from the military. In 2015, for example, the four branches of the U.S. military spent a total of almost $600 billion on defense. $600 billion! This is so beyond excessive for when compared to the rest of the world, the United States accounted for 37 percent of the total. In other words, our expenditures for defense total the next seven largest military budgets around the world combined. And don’t even get me started on how much it costs to protect you daily. Or how much the Defense Department apparently spends on Viagra. Obviously, money is not the real issue.

Now onto your second reason to exclude transgender individuals from the military. Disruptions you say? Wrong again. Right now, there seems to be a much more pressing “disruption” in the military, that one glaring disruption being rape, rape and the fear of rape. Service members reported 6,172 cases of sexual assault in 2016. Fifty-eight percent of victims expressed a fear of reprisals or retaliation for reporting sexual assault. Would this not be considered a huge disruption to service members and to mission readiness?  Rape and the fear of rape and harassment are not imagined disruptions, like the one you concocted around transgender individuals. If your concern were really disruptions to our active personnel, why isn’t this issue firing-up your tweeting’ fingers at 2 a.m., Mr. President?

Your constituents, like myself,  know a distractionary tactic when we see one, and this is one of those easily divisive grenade topics guaranteed to cause many days’ worth of media distractions away from the real problems that plague this country, such as lack of health care, poverty, discrimination, your awful immigration policies, and police brutality, to name a few. I’m here to tell you that we, your constituents, are not falling for this cheap tactic, Mr. President.  Time to dig deep and focus on real problems. But know this: transgender folks, like my sister, are neither a money pit nor a distraction.




Day 191 – We Can Add Segregationist To Your List of Qualifications, Mr. President.

Day 191 – We Can Add Segregationist To Your List of Qualifications, Mr. President.

Photograph from the Navy Times

Dear Mr. President,

Believe it or not, transgender people are doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, bus drivers, public safety officers, welders, nurses, plumbers, steel workers, soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and even Republicans. They are people, just like you and me, just like our neighbors. How can you just dismiss them from serving in the military? How can you do it in one of your inane Twitter posts?

You so readily remind us, and the Boy Scouts of America, how you soundly beat Hillary Clinton in the election, how you are the current president of the United States. Then act like a president. You said during the campaign that the LGBT community had nothing to fear from you, that you would support them, have their back. It sounds like your ban on transgender people serving in the military is more like shooting them in the back than supporting them. And to do so in such an abrupt, insensitive way only adds insult to injury.

So why did you do it? Were you worried that your precious defense spending bill (that includes funding for your ridiculous wall) might not be approved if it included support for transgender soldiers? Believe me, I would much rather support our troops, no matter what their gender identity, than support a wall that will divide. You have just put up a wall in our military and between soldiers.

Were you worried that your Republican friends might not like LGBT people in the military, even though they have been serving openly thanks to President Obama? Did you know that 18 other countries allow openly gay, lesbian and transgender people to serve in their military departments? It is not like the United States is in the forefront here. Canada has had LGBT people in its military since 1992.

Did you think you’d make some new friends, while throwing some old LGBT friends under the bus? Shame on you.

And shame on your Justice Department for weighing in on a case in New York that has nothing to do with them, but has everything to do with the civil rights of every LGBT person in the country. No one should be dismissed, fired, harassed at work or anywhere due to their sexual orientation or sexual identity. That is a no-brainer. These are United States citizens we’re talking about who should be supported against discrimination with the full force of the law, and whom you pledged to support during your campaign. Why then is the Justice Department stepping in and saying that they are not covered by the Civil Rights Act?

We all lose when one group of people is marginalized and victimized. Don’t make us the biggest losers. The strength of our country is at stake.




Day 190 – A Little “Hamilton” Inspired Poetry For You. Remember When Your VP Went to See It?

Day 190 – A Little “Hamilton” Inspired Poetry For You. Remember When Your VP Went to See It?

Image from the Daily Dot

Dear Mr. President,

While listening to the “Hamilton” soundtrack, I came across some of Thomas Paine’s writings and was amazed that his prose could easily be modernized and applied to what is happening in our country today. My intent was to provide a new take on some of his words from Common Sense and hopefully give you some new thoughts over which to ponder. Except, after doing a little research, I saw that this has already been done, ad nauseam.

So instead, I found inspiration in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s poetry. And while my writing is nowhere near as good as his, if you read this with a rap cadence, you might just enjoy my Hamilton-esque offering.

How came we to live in these times

When caricatures rule sublime?

When lies and threats make for ratings

While murder and assault isn’t hating?

AHCA. WGHC. Repeal. Rewrite.

Free healthcare for all, only if you’re rich and you’re white.

But we learned, read, and thoughtful

We’re demonized as elite and wroth-full.

Fuck that, we say; ‘cuz we’ll not be silenced.

We’ll watch and wait, and believe in science.

We’ll use our eyes, see ice shelves cracking

And watch taps a’fire due to fracking.

No blind eye we’ll turn from assault on our daughters,

Rainbow flag wavers, Muslims, and aliens marauders.

Pussy-grabbing philanders greeting presidents, PMs,

Commenting on looks while ogling Macron’s femme.

Dissing reporters, rating them by appearance or views,

Those counter to yours must be fake news.



Aristocratic delusion

Find some common sense

Lest you’re replaced by Pence

You fill our time with your social media whine

While beheading you team for speaking their mind

About your collusion with Putin, no amount of reason

Explains away what’s essentially treason

So pardon me, no you, not you

1270 days remain, and you’re through.




p.s. If I haven’t lost your attention, here’s a little tidbit from Thomas Paine. He, of course, was directing this to mad King George III.

“Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”

Day 189 – President. Commander in Chief. Sad Clown of the United States. Sigh.

Day 189 – President. Commander in Chief. Sad Clown of the United States. Sigh.

Photograph by Thomas Hawk

Dear Mr. President,

We took our kids a couple of days ago to a community theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  While I’m sure that, given your strong Christian values, you read the Bible each night, let me summarize in case you don’t remember the later chapters in Genesis.

Joseph is Israel’s favorite son.  His eleven jealous brothers sell him into slavery, where he is bought by Potiphar, a powerful man in Egypt as one of Pharaoh’s officials.  Potiphar can’t control his wife, and Joseph ends up in jail when he is found seduced by her.  Joseph is freed when he is able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.  Pharaoh entrusts him to help lead Egypt and in the end is reunited with his brothers.

The production was proceeding along as you might expect until the entrance of Potiphar when, I have to admit, I was a bit shocked.

Potiphar was you. 

Orange face, odd coiffure, dollar signs on his clothing.  Dialogue changed from the original lyrics to “fake news,” “building a wall,” and “Joseph, you’re fired.” The likeness was unmistakable.

This community theater, located not twenty miles from your new residence, chose to openly mock you in public.  The crowd of 150 or so laughed.  I laughed. It was funny.  And we weren’t laughing with you, we were laughing at you.  Isn’t that sad?  That a suburban community would be comfortable making you look like a clown in public?

And then it hit me:  you are a sad clown.  As one Urban Dictionary definition puts it, “sad clown” describes someone whose actions are “trite, clumsy, and over earnest.”

So let’s look for the evidence:

You repeatedly insult your Attorney General, hoping that he will quit.  (trite, check!)

You can’t seem to close any deal on healthcare. (clumsy, check!)

You deliver a nonsensical, overly emotional, political speech to the Boy Scouts. (over earnest, check!)

You decide to ban transgender individuals from the military in a tweet, giving a nonsensical argument about costs. (trite, clumsy, and over earnest, check!)

And that’s just in the last two days!

 As a sad clown you are starring in your own play, which is turning quickly into a tragic comedy, a drama that is often seen as a tragedy with comedic elements.  Sad Clown Trump running the country?  That’s the tragedy.  Spicer, Melania slapping your hand, long handshakes? That’s the comedy.

Isn’t it a shame that the children of America are being exposed to this type of drama for the first time at your expense? That their image of you – as my kids saw at the musical – will be as a clown rather than as a leader? While I laughed along with everyone else in the moment, I fear that by the time the curtain closes on your presidency the comedy will have been forgotten and we’ll be left with just tragedy.




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