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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 223 – You Went to Texas, Mr. President. Now Focus on Helping Texans and Forget About Yourself and Your Spotlight-Grabbing Needs.

Day 223 – You Went to Texas, Mr. President. Now Focus on Helping Texans and Forget About Yourself and Your Spotlight-Grabbing Needs.

Photograph from the Texas National Guard

Dear Mr. President,

Wow. You just can’t seem to say anything that isn’t immediately dissected and repudiated, can you? Now, before you get all excited, don’t for one minute think that I feel sorry for you. I don’t. Your antics belong on a B-rated reality show—hang on, you’ve been there; done that. You’re a shock jock, a Jerry Springer-esque TV personality. Your Twitter feed is a trail of bread crumbs that lead your deluded followers away from the real issue, the one you are so bent on obfuscating.

But I’m not going to write about Russia in this letter, or how your pardon of Sheriff Arpaio is some silent message to those testifying against you that they can keep quiet and they’ll be forgiven. Nor will I be expressing my feelings to you about North Korea. I’m also not going to write about your ban on transgender individuals in the military. I want to, trust me, I do, but there is a huge, immediate crisis facing our country right now.

Hurricane Harvey.

Now I could point out that the record rainfall is part and parcel with global climate change, but I won’t. All of that will come later, when scientists get together to discuss this super storm.

No, I’m going to write about you in relation to Hurricane Harvey.

I don’t follow you on twitter, but occasionally, when you say or tweet something completely outrageous, I’ll lurk and sneak a peek at your thread. Recently, your tweets regarding the terrible situation along the Gulf Coast have taken some flack, and I wanted to know why. I think that I’ve identified the problem. I’m not saying that you’ve tweeted anything wrong, but your weird insistence on inappropriately using the exclamation point almost makes you seem gleeful that there is a disaster. I can’t help but imagine you striding through the flood waters in your big boy waders, commenting on how many people have gathered to see you while you spout out your platitudes and lies and promise to make America great again.

The people affected by Harvey aren’t thinking about MAGA. They’re thinking about where they are going to live, if they’ll be able to give food and even water to their loved ones.  So while the flooding continues to devastate communities, and the people of Houston flee for their lives, and Louisianans face record rain on the anniversary of Katrina, I beg of you:

Don’t make this tragedy about your presidency.

Be humble and helpful and hand out water and blankets and food. Speak kind words and offer assurances. Pray with people if that’s what they need. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of the spotlight this one time.

For once, act like a human being whose only agenda is to help.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 222 – Hurricane Harvey Is Not About You, Mr. President. And “Wow” Is Not a Presidential Response to Devastating Flooding.

Day 222 – Hurricane Harvey Is Not About You, Mr. President. And “Wow” Is Not a Presidential Response to Devastating Flooding.

Photograph by Coast Guard News

Dear Mr. President,

With the tragic circumstances surrounding what is happening in Texas and Louisiana these past few days, and given that you are visiting Texas, I have a simple request for you.

Please, be presidential.

The local agencies in Houston, Rockport, Austin, and the other coastal towns are working tirelessly towards recovery and rescue.

Be presidential.  Give words of support and stay out of their way.

The Red Cross and other agencies are doing their job as well, feeding and housing those in need.

Be presidential.  Give words of support and stay out of their way.

The insurance companies are working to gather data on thousands of claims, as this will undoubtedly be a multi-billion dollar loss.

Be presidential.  Give words of support and stay out of their way.

Your new FEMA chief, William “Brock” Long, is facing his first big test.  How he responds to this crisis will be a reflection not only on him but on your entire government.

Be presidential.  Give words of support and stay out of his way.

Catching the theme here?

I know it’s tempting to openly question those who “support” you when things are not going perfectly.  But that questioning in and of itself can cause those people to lose support of those around them, effectively creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby your critical words and harsh #tone serve to sabotage.

Hurricane Harvey is not about you.  It’s not about “winning.”  It’s about communities coming together to try first to save lives and then to rebuild lives, one family at a time.

Try to stay off the cover of the newspapers for a couple of days, so that we can truly hear the stories of those who are facing one of the worst storms in American history.

This would be presidential.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

 

 

Day 221 – It Gets Better. Unless You Are Gay and Donald Trump is Your President.

Day 221 – It Gets Better. Unless You Are Gay and Donald Trump is Your President.

Photograph by Emillo Flores

Dear Mr. President,

Do you remember the “It Gets Better” project?

The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. Grown-ups basically put themselves out there with video so there is a huge collection of wonderful, moving real-stories to help kids feel less alone.

These grown-ups are people who grew up not sure who they were. Wondering if they would go to hell because they are a boy…and love boys. Or were born a girl but always felt like a guy inside. Or maybe just weren’t sure what their label should be, but they simply felt more comfortable in girls’ clothes. These are people who got stuffed into lockers, ridiculed, ostracized for being different. Who thought maybe their parents wouldn’t love them anymore if they told anyone their truth.

Oh. You don’t remember this project? That makes sense… because if you did, or if you ever tried to empathize with anyone – truly – there’s no way you would have signed your directive reinstating a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military.

In the last few years, the world seemed to open up for LGBT kids and grown-ups – thanks to President Obama.

When President Obama was in office, he started out saying he was not sure about gay couples getting married, but that they should have equal rights. In 2011, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed – so that service members could be openly gay without fear of abuse, discrimination, or discharge.  President Obama put in place protections to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all federal employment.

And then – THEN, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a nationwide right. That all individuals have a right to marry the person they love.

I will never forget the rainbow-colored White House. I was so inspired that I even wrote in my journal that I was going to bed full of joy and gratitude. Facebook profile pictures across the world were filtered with gay pride flags. In this often harsh and unfair world, people came together for love.

And now, yet again, you crush the goodness.

You started out considered as a “gay-friendly” Republican candidate. It was one of your saving graces in my mind. Yet you are not only not opening your mind to those different from you. You are casting your mind’s door with iron and slamming it shut.

With your campaign promises, you bring scary, life-altering threats to the LGBTQ community. Opening windows for insurance companies to discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation—placing gay or lesbian spouses at risk of losing coverage. Signing the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA)—federal legislation that would bar all federal officials from punishing an individual or entity that acts on their “religious or moral belief” that marriage “is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”

And now. How dare you? How dare you insult the brave women and men who are putting their lives on the line for our country? They are brave enough to volunteer to protect us. They are brave enough to know who they are and live their truth.

How brave are you? Flat-footed, were you?

And you have the audacity to act like we don’t need every single service member who volunteers (while at the same time making you “fire and fury” threats). I for one am so very thankful for our service members. I care that they are people. They are Americans. And they love our country enough to dedicate their lives to it, to us. How dare you even try to impart judgement on these brave human beings?

Here’s a timeline on how it’s gotten better for our youth…but I wonder – what will your section of the timeline say? Is it a coincidence that the timeline ends shortly before the election?

The only thing I can hope is that the timeline will one day show that the country stood up for these kids when you wouldn’t.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 220 – Sheriff Arpaio Violated the Constitution, Mr. President. And You Just Said “Fine by me!”

Day 220 – Sheriff Arpaio Violated the Constitution, Mr. President. And You Just Said “Fine by me!”

Photograph by Monica D. Spencer

Dear Mr. President,

One of the guiding principles of this project, our efforts to voice the concerns a variety of people had in the face of your administration, was to be respectful.  Another was to be topical.  In light of your actions last two weeks, I find it much easier to do the latter than the former.

Your comments on the tragedy of Charlottesville were reprehensible.  Really sir, someone who holds the highest office in the country should know at least these two things:

  1. People that oppose fascists are always on the “right” side.
  2. The confederates were on the wrong side of the Civil War.

There is no debate here.  None.  You can fuss about how antifascists should not resort to property damage, and that may be a valid point.  You could point out that most of the foot soldiers of the confederacy came from impoverished families and were exploited and perhaps we should consider this as we judge motives through the long lens of history, and have a legitimate argument.  But the truth is that the two points enumerated above are irrefutable and your insistence of “many sides” and “fine people” on both sides is wrong. But it certainly engenders your hateful deed this past Friday.

Sheriff Joseph Arpaio was not convicted for doing his job, unless you think the state should run jails like “concentration camps” or that it is constitutionally correct to detain people, citizens, based on the color of their skin and nothing more, or that the sheriff of a county is not bound by the orders of a federal judge.  He was convicted for defying a court order that should never have been necessary in this country in this century: agents of the state cannot intimidate the populace on the basis race.  And you pardoned and condoned his actions.  Disgusting.

But, as one of my friends told me, what did we expect?  Why wouldn’t a man who has lived his entire adult life as an active racist (you do remember the two federal injunctions against you and your father for discrimination in housing against African American residents) support a man who built his reputation on professional racism (your buddy Sheriff Joe has failed to prosecute the hundreds of sexual assault cases of women and girls, mostly of Latina descent).  You have squarely placed yourself once again on the side of those tiki torch wielding, Nazi slogan chanting, Confederate/Third Reich flag waving idiots in Charlottesville.  And yet you still sit in the highest office in the country.

But here’s an interesting aspect of your actions that you might not have considered:  despite your reprehensible pardon, Joe is still out of a job as are several of the Charlottesville tiki set.  You see, citizens on the right side of this issue won’t abide by a white supremacist in their midst.  It’s bad for business, destroys the reputation of neighborhoods, organizations etc., and most Americans agree has no place in our society.  Despite what you seem to think, you can be fired. And a wheelbarrow of pardons will not help you from being thrown on the dust heap of history, much like that cheap, mass–produced statuary you so admire.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

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