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Day 276 – Enemies, Mentors and Heroes. You Seem To Mix Them Up A Lot, Mr. President.

Day 276 – Enemies, Mentors and Heroes. You Seem To Mix Them Up A Lot, Mr. President.

Image from Unconfirmed Sources

Mr. President,

Three lists.  I suspect three lists are hidden in the bottom drawer of the Resolute desk – 1) Enemies, 2) Mentors, and 3) Heroes.

We watch you draw the lines through the names on your Enemies list as you push to destroy them. Not surprisingly many of the names are of people of color.  The more honorable, intelligent, and successful, the higher they rise on your list. Enemies, enemies they’re everywhere. For an old, despicable, white supremacist the enemies list must be easy to create. It must gnaw at your gut.  So many good people – such limited time to silence them.

Some stand in stark contrast to you, Barack Obama for example.  How dare this black man from a single parent family go to Harvard?  How dare he provide such balanced leadership to the nation?  How dare he have a great marriage, beautiful children, and a happy life?  Your whole presidency is focused on vanquishing this one great man.

Some are totally innocent.  The people of Puerto Rico struggling to survive your incompetence (or worse your vitriol), the pregnant widow of a young soldier driven deeper into grief by your callousness, and the hundreds of hard working immigrants ripped from their homes. Day after day your policies complicate their lives.

Enemies.  You create your list and attempt to destroy them.  Does it give you perverse pleasure to cross them off your list? Is that how you measure success? How sad.

We can watch you court the Mentors on your list, despots from around the world.  No dictator is too terrible to miss the list.  I bet you reverently check every day and touch their names.  Strong men.  Manly men. Real men. Tyrannical men. Cruel, heartless, hard, deceptive, arrogant, men. Liars, thieves, despots. Men you admire. Men you court. Men who embody the man you want to be.

No Ghandi for you.  No Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela.  No Martin Luther King or Czaer Chavez. No Abraham Lincoln.  You must imagine yourself a member of “Specter,” the fictional world-wide conglomerate of despicable criminal leaders – your Mentor list.

And this week, we saw a peek of your Heroes list. We saw touches of it before your election and during your preparation for the Presidency.  These are the men (always men, you don’t stoop to dealing with women) who are admired and you feel compelled to despoil. Mitt Romney is paraded through Trump Tower. James Comey is fired. Secretary Tillerson’s word is publicly contradicted. NFL players are subject to gutter curses.

Saddest of all is the public humiliation of General Kelly stooping down low in order to cover for you.  Tearing open the scar of his son’s death, and reliving a level of pain you cannot imagine. You have to have a heart in order for it to be broken.

They go on television in wrenching human suffering – the widow and her children, the other 3 families of the servicemen, the General and the memory of his son. Raw. Real. We watched their pain.  But, we know you must have a list.  I’m sure you smiled at one more hero humiliated in service to his country under your hand – brought to your level.

Three lists, Mr. President.  Those you hate, the hateful you admire, and the loyal you detest.  You know what, Mr. President? It is good not to be you.

You could change. Every human makes choices about their actions and beliefs.  But, I suspect you have kept these lists all your life.  Sad for you, and oh so very dangerous for the rest of us.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 275 – Tax Cuts and Credit Card Debt: Examining the Numbers for You, Mr. President.

Day 275 – Tax Cuts and Credit Card Debt: Examining the Numbers for You, Mr. President.

Image by Images Money

Mr. President,

I was struck recently by a contrast between two very large, very similar numbers in the news recently. They both are about money, so I know you’ll have at least some interest in this, but I would invite you to consider the implications.

The first number was for the budget resolution your party recently pushed through the Senate: $1.5 trillion in tax cuts. That is an impressive amount of spending for a party that prides itself on being fiscally responsible, don’t you think? We don’t have many particulars about just what taxes are going to be cut, as such details are pesky things that might invite public comment or require some kind of agreement in the caucus, but going by past tax cuts, it seems reasonable to assume that the vast majority of that money will be going to the wealthiest members of our society.

The second number is a bit smaller in a relative sense, but still enormous: $1 trillion. That’s the estimate of how much outstanding credit card debt is owed by the American public as a whole. And being credit card debt, all that money is making more money for banks at very high interest rates while the people who owe it struggle to pay for utilities, rent, and food. The banks are very pleased about this, of course, but I wonder how long this can last. If people declare bankruptcy en masse as the debt gets to be too much, will we have to bail out the banks again?

Now, I know what your argument will be: Those tax cuts are going to “Job Creators” who will help those people in debt by putting them to work. Leaving aside the question of whether the jobs will actually be good enough to pull people out of debt in an era of stagnant wages, I would submit that there is a different class of job creators: consumers. All the tax cuts in the world aren’t going to make companies open new factories if there’s no demand for their products. Imagine the improvement in consumer demand that would result if people were no longer stifled by $1 trillion in debt. I bet we’d have to create a lot of jobs to meet it.

Corporate welfare has had its chance to improve the economy; why not try debt relief instead?

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 274 – In Which Pathological Liar is Defined and Exemplified. By You, Mr. President.

Day 274 – In Which Pathological Liar is Defined and Exemplified. By You, Mr. President.

Photograph by Giacomo Spazio

Mr. President,

When I saw that NBA coach Greg Popovich had said on Fox News, “the country has a pathological liar in the White House“ I decided it was time to find out exactly what that means since he is certainly not the first person to refer to you in that manner,  and to determine if in fact it fits you.  According to the Psychiatric Times, “A pathological liar has a long history of frequent and repeated lying for which no apparent psychological motive or external benefit can be discerned. The very fact that a lie could be found out does not affect the pathological liar. They have an inability to consider the consequences or even fear being found out. Certain personality traits where pathological lying may occur include: narcissism, abusive attitude, obsessive, controlling and compulsive behaviors, impulsivity, aggressiveness, jealous behavior, manipulative behavior, deceptiveness, anger. Pathological liars are gratified by telling lies, are good at it, and do not regret anything they have ever said.“ Hmmm.  It seems obvious that the description of pathological liar does indeed fit you, Mr. President.

Coach Popovich’s comments were triggered by your lies that you had personally called every family of somebody that had been killed while in the service of the United States and that most presidents, including Obama, did not call the families of soldiers killed in action. When after 12 days of silence you called the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson who was one of the four soldiers killed on October 4 in Niger, more than one person who heard the call reported that you told her” He knew what he was signing up for.” Your reaction to the criticism of this somewhat heartless comment was to say that the congresswoman who first reported your words “totally fabricated what I said.”  On October 16 in response to your statement about Obama not meeting with or calling families of killed service people, the New York Times said that Obama had a long record of meetings with those families and had frequently gone to Dover Airforce Base to greet the coffins of the dead service people.

On October 18 the Washington Post reported that you had offered $25,000 from your personal account to  the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge  who was killed in June in Afghanistan  and that you further were going to direct your staff to set up an online fundraiser for the family. The father told the Post that you had never sent the money or set up an account. The father of Sgt. Roshain E. Brooks who was killed Aug 13 in Iraq was furious when he read that you had said you had called every military family who lost a son or daughter because you surely had not called him about his son. He asked his daughter to teach him to tweet “so I can tweet at the President and tell him he’s a liar.”

Twenty Americans have been killed in action since you became Commander in Chief in January, Mr. President. The Washington Post interviewed 13 of them. One half had received phone calls from you, the others haven’t heard from you. A Commander in Chief who lies about something so important to grieving Gold Star families is a pathological liar who cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything.  Coach Popovich is right, and thus America is at great risk with its enemies and its allies. It is too late and probably impossible for you to stop lying, to figure out why you lie, to work with a therapist or a support group, to make honesty the very core of your character – all steps that some pathological liars have tried who wanted to stop. I doubt you want to stop because you seem enamored of your lies, Mr. President. The only thing to hope for is that you resign or are forced from office so that you can practice your pathological lying in areas less harmful to America.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 273 – I Guess I Should Be Grateful, Mr. President.

Day 273 – I Guess I Should Be Grateful, Mr. President.

Photograph by Paul

Mr. President,

I guess I should be grateful. Your efforts to stymie any sort of advances in environmentally friendly conveyance means that — encouraged by, I have no doubt, your close relationship with the oil industry — for the moment at least, gas is cheap. Last summer (for it’s autumn now, we can all agree on at least that much, unless time itself is now Fake News?) I was riding around the backcountry with my father, trying to help him string memories of my mother back together. That’s what I was there for. It had started as a secret but then, somewhere along the road, he began telling anyone and everyone, spilling out our sad fruit like a Thanksgiving centerpiece, arranging all the plastic morsels so they clustered picturesquely out of the horn of plenty in the middle of the table. The proctors at the museums. The waitresses in the diners. This is my daughter, he’d say, and we’re out here because her mother is dead. They’d look to me, these hapless repositories of some stranger’s sorrow, as if for an explanation or an apology. I stared back at them blankly. I was feverish and in pain, beginning to realize but not yet quite admitting (the health care system you’re about to make worse is already fragile, you see, and isn’t able to provide much for temp workers like me) that the boon I thought I’d be able to grant my father, the one gift I could give him on this forlorn trip that might cheer him, was no longer mine to give. My grasp slipping on that, I had no energy left with which to carve out a tidy excuse to these strangers. They could deal.

I guess I should be grateful. Thanks to the opioid epidemic you’ve done nothing to combat, news about it is rife to the point where even I, untouched by effects of that miasma creeping through our ranks, had read about it. It was an article on opioid addicts I thought of when I wobbled home on my bicycle the day before the roadtrip, sticking to public roads with lots of cars alongside the path. The article had talked about people overdosing in Best Buys and WalMarts, deliberately picking public places in which to take their next hit in order to increase the chances that they might be found, and saved. I was out here all alone, far from my husband (who had just visited, in fact) on a contract job, with tunnel vision and a dizziness I tried to attribute just to the heat. Still, I thought, take a cue from the addicts. Stay in public places in case you collapse. I spent the rest of the day in a freezer of a coffee shop, drinking water, leaching strength from the frigid temperatures and from the assurance that at least if I keeled over, someone might call an ambulance. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, because again—temp worker, not-great health insurance—my deductible is more than I currently possess in cash. And also, I wanted to believe it wasn’t necessary. That it was just the heat. That I still had gifts to give.

I guess I should be grateful. The way you’ve divided the country into oil and water and set us all on fire provided, at times, a respite for the people we met on the road. Something to talk about other than why we were out there. My father loathes you but enjoys playacting for oblivious audiences; he can do a great cantankerous old geezer and could occasionally be seduced down this path by a man in a Trump hat or someone standing next to a political sign along the road. He’d get them talking, and then sometimes to yelling, and it would distract him, for a time. Meanwhile I tried to stick to the air conditioning, and to take deep and measured breaths. I wanted to stop being dizzy. He had seen me avoid drinking at this place he’d been so proud to find—an artsy hipster establishment, definitely my kind of place under normal circumstances, and so unlike him that he’d clearly hunted it down for my benefit—and I’d felt like Little Foot refusing the pterodactyl’s last fruit, when I declined. I couldn’t drink. My body was on fire already; alcohol would not have improved the situation. Besides, I still had hope.

I hate Little Foot in that scene.

I guess I should be grateful. On the last day of our road trip, laden with pictures taken exactly where my mother had stood, filled with food eaten in exactly the same booths she had eaten in, he told me she would have been proud of me. I don’t know why; I don’t know what I had done to make her proud. I never got to hear, because I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to lose the grandchild, such as it was, that I thought I’d have been able to announce to him at the end of this sad trip. I had done the math. I had been right, but not right enough. The only gift I had left for him was gone.

I guess I should be grateful? Because a few days after that you started another of your innumerable petty wars of words, this time with a dictator bristling with nuclear weapons. A bloviating bully as unstable as you, and as pampered into believing in his own illustriousness as you. He sent everyone on this side of the ocean into paroxysms of worry and lip-biting trigonometry calculations, wondering if his promised nukes could in fact reach our shores. If they did, they’d reach me. I’m smack-dab in the middle of American Places To Hate, and even given NK’s propensity for exaggeration, if their missiles could indeed stay up, they’d hit me. They’d hit what would have been us.

But there is, of course, no us at the moment. Just me. And as the talk of war—the stuff of bad writing in bad video games and movies; lines like “diplomacy will continue until the first bomb drops,” for crying out loud—ramps up again, after a brief respite (?!) brought by the horrific devastation (by which you seem unmoved, of course) of hurricane after hurricane, I guess I should be grateful. For only having to worry about my own body. (My husband and relatives, after all, are all out of harm’s way, far to the east.) For not sowing that seed of worry—of hope, yes, but nowadays, of what has to also be a perpetual, throat-seizing source of terror, for the future ten years and five years and even a month from now—into my heart, into my family’s hearts. For bearing no gifts and leaving myself that much less rooted, through love, in a future you seem very intent on destroying in a pillar of flame and puerile name-calling. For losing a child who would have been born into what is, right now, a pretty ugly world, and one with an indeterminate shelf life at that.

I guess I should be grateful.

But, Mr. President? I’m not.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 272 – R.E.S.P.E.C.T., Mr. President.

Day 272 – R.E.S.P.E.C.T., Mr. President.

Photograph by Wayne Stadler

Mr. President,

Are you a music lover? Have you ever listened to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”? The reason this song stands out in my mind is that I’m sure that you feel, like the late Henny Youngman, that you get no respect from the “failing” New York Times, or CNN (aka Fake News), the Democrats, or even from some Republicans.

And I feel for you, sir, because so many women know exactly what it’s like not to be respected. What have we done to be treated so shabbily? We were born female.

I’m sure in your recent Twitter forays, you’ve seen #MeToo trending. I went to your feed and, not surprising, I didn’t see one single mention from you about sexual assault against women. Why is that? Is it because it will shine the light back on your own inappropriate behavior?

But let’s go back to wanting respect. I know you must feel like everyone is picking on you and making your job more difficult. But maybe you’d get more respect, if you actually respected the office of the presidency and acted in more responsible manner. So why not take some baby steps, and play nice with 50 percent of the population—the women of this country.

Apologize to the Carmen Yulín Cruz, and to all the women you’ve assaulted and insulted over the years. Make amends. My humble advice might not be chocolate cake, but it is food for thought. Now go listen to Aretha.

Sincerely,

Letter2Trump

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