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Day 281 – Her Name is Rosa Maria Hernandez, Mr. President. She is 10. She is Not A Criminal.

Day 281 – Her Name is Rosa Maria Hernandez, Mr. President. She is 10. She is Not A Criminal.

Photograph from ABC News

Mr. President,

“What?!”

“Seriously?!?”

“No…”

All words I have yelled at the radio upon hearing of ludicrous political actions this year. And it happened again.

While driving home yesterday, the radio newscaster told the story of Rosa Maria Hernandez.

A ten year old girl.

A ten year old girl with cerebral palsy.

A ten year old girl who had to undergo emergency gall bladder surgery.

An undocumented immigrant.

That is what was seen. Only that last description. This child and her legal adult cousin had to pass an interior Border Control checkpoint in order to get to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX for Rosa Maria’s surgery. Agents followed the ambulance to the hospital, determined that Rosa Maria was an undocumented immigrant.

A ten year old child.

Not only did these Border Patrol agents drive all the way to the hospital, they waited outside her room for the conclusion of the surgery.

Of a ten year old child.

These four federal agents demanded the door to her hospital room stay open despite the need for Rosa Maria to have quiet and rest. She was followed by these agents wherever she was taken in the hospital for post-surgery tests.

A ten year old child.

And now? Rosa Maria sits at a shelter run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Not under doctor care. Not with her cousin who brought her to the hospital. Not with her parents who brought her to America when she was three months old. In a shelter after surgery. Scared, confused, and unable to understand what is happening. Customs and Border Protection has said that “she will be processed accordingly.” Rosa Maria’s lawyer has been told there are two options: “sign voluntary departure or spend up to 3 weeks in detention.”

A ten year old child.

While I realize a major focus for your platform has been on strengthening border patrol and cracking down on undocumented immigrants, you also started the conversation stating that deportation of criminals is key.

Rosa Maria Hernandez is not a criminal.

You and I differ significantly on how to approach the major issue of immigration reform, yet the actions against Rosa Maria are beyond comprehension. The time spent by these federal agents waiting outside her hospital door shows that “they’re treating her like a hardened convict who has been taken to the hospital for treatment,” as stated by Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas. Rosa Maria poses absolutely no threat to the United States of America. None.

I am in tears – hot, raging, angry tears – as I write this. No one should ever endure treatment as this, let alone a child with disabilities who has just been released from surgery. This is beyond agents “doing their job”; this is an inhumane look at the world. This must stop. Someday, someday, I know we all can create a country where we see that we are human before all else.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 280 – Thanks For Making Things Crystal Clear, Mr. President.

Day 280 – Thanks For Making Things Crystal Clear, Mr. President.

Image from Changing World

Mr. President,

I saw that your campaign* recently asked people to send you thank-you notes because being president is a thankless job. We here at Letters2Trump tend to be critical of your performance. Granted, we like to look at America with logic and empathy, so that’s going to happen, but today, I want to thank you.

I deeply appreciate that you have exposed the Republican Party’s underlying beliefs. I’m old enough to remember family discussions about pre-Goldwater Republicanism and the potential for conservatism under leaders like George Romney. This also means I’m old enough to have watched the dissolution of George-Romney Republicanism, to have watched the GOP turn into a seething, festering tumor of greed and white supremacy.

Lest the phrase “white supremacy” throw you, I don’t just mean the obvious type, like a new-century neo-con neo-Nazi with a Pier-One tiki torch. I mean a belief system that whiteness is inherently better, that white maleness is inherently better yet, and that wealthy white maleness is best. This goes far beyond the clowns with torches. This defines most of America and all of the Republican Party.

I thank you for bringing these beliefs out of the dark of 19th-hole clubhouse kvetching sessions and into the daylight in Washington, D.C. Anyone who pays attention has watched Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Bush the First and Bush the Second, Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of a long list (a literal, if perhaps one or two steps removed from the act, murderers’ row) of others in GOP leadership over my lifetime use one racist code after another to further maintain the rich white man’s stranglehold on power in our country. We could delve into examples, but this isn’t a textbook. Do we need anything more than to watch the wildly differing GOP responses to hurricanes in Texas versus Puerto Rico? No, sadly we do not. The biases driving the GOP are clear, and you openly state them before all 330+ million Americans every day. For that, I thank you.

You have finally brought those beliefs to light, plain as day, irrefutably. You have made the racism, sexism, isolationism, classism, and crass greed of the contemporary Republican party so obvious that even some of its most-respected members feel the need to leave politics. Jeff Flake is hailed as a hero for literally bowing out of the fight for the identity of the Republican Party. Why quit instead of fight? Because what is he going to fight against? His and his colleagues’ open track record of supporting all of the same policies you do? The longstanding members of the GOP have acted against the interests of Americans for years, but they turn around and use positive rhetoric to mask that.

You, however, do all of this with wide-open and unedited racism, classism, and sexism. I thank you for that. Hundreds, thousands, even millions of Republicans have acted with hate for the American values of equality and liberty for decades now. No, they don’t think they’re doing that, but what else can you call valuing guns’ rights over people’s rights? What else can you call valuing tax breaks for the wealthy over health care support for the poor? This is hatred for Americans, American lives, and American ideals. I thank you for exposing this belief system so brazenly.

I’d say it takes guts if you realized you were doing it.

It will be weird, sad, and troubling to watch the Republican Party morph into blatant Trumpism instead of resisting it and realizing that the party lost its way long, long ago. It will be sad to watch the powerful continue their expansion of power instead of actually trying to represent their constituents’ needs. It always has been sad to watch, and it only gets sadder.

But, I do thank you for taking away the veil of respectability that covered this hatred for decades. This may make you a hero to many, but by exposing a deep division that has been there for generations, you set the stage for the next era of American reinvention. One where we re-establish values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One where we reckon with the last two words that our children recite every day in the Pledge of Allegiance: FOR ALL.

Thank you for exposing the GOP’s tumorous greed and list of hate-filled –isms. I dearly hope it will help the rest of us get to work rebuilding America.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

*You know you won the Electoral College vote, right? You can stop campaigning. To continue campaigning at this point makes it look like you’re only in politics to grift the American people—oh. Oh, I see.

 

Day 279 – You Don’t Seem to Learn From Your Mistakes, Mr. President.  But You Could.

Day 279 – You Don’t Seem to Learn From Your Mistakes, Mr. President. But You Could.

Photograph from Bing Images

Mr. President,

I was listening to a political talk show on my local public radio station yesterday and was struck by a republican listener who called in to apologize for having voted for you. The caller confessed that he’d voted for you in spite of his concerns about your words and behavior in the past. He’d hoped that you would demonstrate better judgment in office. This brought to mind a line from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention: “Being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.” Unfortunately for that republican caller and the rest of us, those words have proven all too true in your case.

I think what irks me most about the character you’ve demonstrated during your presidency (and, believe me, it’s tough to choose my least favorite from among your many flaws) is your obstinate refusal to learn from your mistakes. This recalcitrance most recently reared its ugly head in your latest Twitter feud with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of a Green Beret killed in Niger. In the past, you have taken flak for diminishing John McCain’s military service because he was captured during the Vietnam War, as well as for insulting Khizr Khan, the patriarch of a Gold Star family. And still you blundered ahead to essentially accuse Ms. Johnson of lying after she stated that you stumbled over her husband’s name during your condolence call.

The challenges that face us inevitably leave an impression on us, and our responses to these obstacles shape our behavior as we move forward. All of us are continually changed purely by living our lives. The wise among us acknowledge and celebrate this constant evolution. In Japan, this idea has literally been elevated to an art form through the practice of kintsukuroi, in which broken pottery is repaired with gold or other precious metals. “As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”

I urge you to model yourself after the Japanese in this respect. The presidency no doubt has a steep learning curve and fumbles are to be expected. But use these mistakes as an opportunity, take pride in growing from those experiences and dazzle us with the glitter of your improved behavior.

You have filled your administration with more billionaires than any other presidency, and your policies thus far have overwhelmingly paid dividends to the wealthy. Last night, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote against a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule that would have made it easier for regular people to pursue their rights in court by preventing them from being forced into arbitration. In light of the numerous scandals involving deliberate actions or negligent behavior by banks and credit card companies, this rule was especially important. The director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, referred to the vote as “a giant setback for every consumer in this country” and said it would result in “companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax remain[ing] free to break the law without fear of legal blowback from their customers.”

It’s not too late to stop kowtowing to the financial industry and stand up for the American people. Don’t allow your flaws to swell into a malignant tumor that overtakes the good you could do. Instead, show your growth and blossom into the presidency. Refusing to sign this legislation could be the gold shining through the cracks of your broken administration.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

Day 278 – Some People Are Guided By The Courage Of Their Convictions Instead of Blind Loyalty.

Day 278 – Some People Are Guided By The Courage Of Their Convictions Instead of Blind Loyalty.

Photograph from NBC News

Mr. President,

Glancing at the news this evening, I couldn’t help but think, “Well, it’s just the same old stuff.” More specifically, that was what crossed my mind when I read that you were well into another Twitter war. Senator Bob Corker was the target of your twelve-year-old minded tweeting tirade today. Nothing new there, as this seems to happen anytime you disagree with someone. I would like to again thank you for reaffirming my personal choice not to “tweet.”

There is a different politician I would like to focus on today. I must admit that I did/do not know a lot about Senator Jeff Flake. After reading the transcript of the speech he delivered on the Senate floor today, I imagine you may be trying to reach out to your dwindling fan-base in the near future to try and disparage him through your favorite social media outlet.  I have a feeling he doesn’t really care. Welcome to the fight, Senator Flake.

Perhaps a welcoming gesture isn’t really warranted, as it seems that the Arizona senator has been questioning not only you, but our entire political system, for more than just a few days. I really can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see and hear a Republican do more than just speak up. He is going to back his words with action, and will be leaving the fray that vaguely resembles a political system. Other politicians have been vocal about their discontent, but I think that Senator Flake is opening the door to action for our elected representatives. Indeed, he literally called them to action. As Flake so eloquently pointed out, “We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the point of seeking office and there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time.”

While this may have not been major news if Flake was on the other side of the aisle (as we all know how you are regarded by most in the Democratic party), he happens to ideologically represent your conservative base. He’s giving permission to all conservatives and/or Republicans who have questioned their decisions regarding your election and subsequent debauchery of a presidency to reject what you have come to represent. You have never really represented the Republican party as much as you have represented your own personal whims as a businessman who will risk anything to be deemed “successful” in his chosen field.

Perhaps there are a few Republicans who will stay the course with you, but it won’t be because you have given any measure of success to the business of running a country. They will stay because they are selfish and think they can retain their positions only if they play your game. But you are moving too far away from even your chosen party’s principles and core values. Nobody is exempt from your mockery, but your words will deter less and less as our other elected officials finally come to the same realizations that Jeff Flake has come to. You can only be a schoolyard bully as long as your victims don’t fight back.

When I read Senator Flake’s speech, I felt hope. I thought about the common good that Americans hold dear. I reflected on what unifies our country, and I believe you will be abandoned for our commonalities. Republicans and Democrats alike will cast you aside as they come away from a fear of losing their own professional power because, like Jeff Flake, they will think about their children and their grandchildren. They will remember what it means to be public servants, and what it truly is to serve each other. They will tire of your moral corruptness and instability, and will come together to rebel in favor of what is right.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 277 – Sharing the Burden of Someone’s Sorrow Should Be Done Privately, Mr. President. And With Compassion.

Day 277 – Sharing the Burden of Someone’s Sorrow Should Be Done Privately, Mr. President. And With Compassion.

Photograph by Frank Gruber

Mr. President,

I’m not a member of a Gold Star family, so I can only imagine what it is like to lose someone I love in war.  It harrows me simply to ponder what it must feel like.  And it also disturbs me to ponder what it must be like to leaders who send young men and women to their deaths on the battlefield.

I do not envy you in this regard, and I do not wish today to debate the merits of the military engagements our nation finds itself in.

I write today with only one purpose: to urge you to keep what you write and say to these families private. To try your hardest to make it empathetic.  To move beyond yourself to soothe the loss of the traumatized.  And beyond all else, to do your best to keep it all out of the political arena.

I am too tired, and too sad, to take you to task today.  I simply urge you to draw some line between what is and what is not appropriate for public consumption.  To understand that a large part of your role as our leader happens in quiet.  In private.  Apart from what can or should be tweeted, telecast, or commented upon.

Please.  Comfort our losses.  Move beyond yourself.  Appeal to the better angels of our souls.  And of your own.

We are pleading with you.

Letters2Trump

 

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