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Day 436 – Letter to the Senate: Jackson Lacks the Experience To Lead the VA and Care for Our Veterans.

Day 436 – Letter to the Senate: Jackson Lacks the Experience To Lead the VA and Care for Our Veterans.

Image from the LA Times

Dear Senators,

The president did it again: he fired an official via Twitter and in his place hired a “puppet,” and it’s up to each and every one of you to NOT APPROVE this new appointment. Just 2 weeks ago, Rex Tillerson was fired via tweet. As you are aware, this past Wednesday, Trump again used Twitter to fire an official, this time the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), David Shulkin, and in his place Trump hired Ronny Jackson, the president’s own White House physician. You might remember Mr. Jackson. He’s the doctor who recently testified publicly to the president’s excellent health. While this new appointee is, in fact, a practicing medical doctor, he is just that, a doctor. Mr. Jackson has no administrative experience, little clinical experience and while he is familiar with the ins and outs of military medicine, military medicine is drastically different than what’s required in VA medicine. In VA medicine there are much more complex conditions than one would experience in combat, often ones that require a more integrative type of approach. Plus, the Veterans Health Administration serves 9 million veterans and runs more than 1,200 health care facilities; this new responsibility is no match with and bears no resemblance to Mr. Jackson’s current or past responsibilities.

Although this more recent firing stemmed from the scandal around several ethics violations, Mr. Shulkin strongly claims he’s really been fired because he was trying to strengthen the VA and most importantly, was openly opposed to ongoing privatization attempts of the VA. As all of you might also know, for the past few years now there has been a strong push to privatize the VA, led by the organization called Concerned Veterans for America, funded by none other than (drum roll) the Koch Brothers.

Senators, there is no way a privatized VA system could provide better care for our veterans. Not only would dissolving the VA add veterans to the already struggling private medical sector but the VA, while in need of fixing, does offer affordable and equal or better healthcare than the private sector. Veterans cannot afford to lose the integrative care centers now run by the VA, such as the great rehabilitation centers or their top notch spinal cord centers, which provide our severely injured veterans with specialists to treat their very complex issues. Veterans fought hard for us and now it’s up to each of you to speak up, stand up and fight for them by strongly opposing this new appointment. Demand that the VA be fixed instead of dissolved. Demand that an experienced leader be placed at its helm and make decisions with our veterans in mind. In essence, do your job.

Sincerely,

Miriam Cutelis

And Letters2Trump

 

Day 435 – Let’s Talk About Puerto Rico, Mr. President. And Our Citizens. And How You Failed.

Day 435 – Let’s Talk About Puerto Rico, Mr. President. And Our Citizens. And How You Failed.

Image from UPI

Mr. President,

In 1929, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote a beautiful song called, “Manhattan.” The chorus ran, in part, “We’ll have Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, too…” We know, from the various histories and biographies of yourself that you do have a peculiar affection for New York and its environs. If you hadn’t kept up with such things, the population of these three boroughs just happens to be about 3.5 million souls, a goodly number, and you are probably acquainted with many of them.

Roughly 1,700 miles south of New York City as the crow flies, there is a small island about the size of Connecticut that’s called Puerto Rico. I am certain you can find this place – you’ve been there once, recently, and Google Earth has excellent resources for refining your search. The population of the island is about 3.5 million souls, a goodly number, and like, the souls in the boroughs mentioned above, ARE ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

And just in case it escaped your attention, in September 2017, a major hurricane, Hurricane Maria, which is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica and Puerto Rico, devastated that island, now with a reported death toll of nearly 1,100 souls, and with hundreds more injured and ill, and thousands left without power, potable water or adequate medical assistance. Damages, to date, exceed $100 BILLION!

Supplies and aid have been sent, but they are not getting to where they’re most needed. This is not a failing of either the aid organizations nor, contrary to your opinion, of the Puerto Rican government. We have had nearly six months to help our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico, and, sir, we have failed them.

Mr. President, the failing is ON YOU for your lack of leadership and failure to act. I repeat it’s on YOU – you’re Commander-in-Chief. Get moving, sir; get the Marines into Puerto Rico to get things organized and moving. Send in Navy Seabees to help with infrastructure and Army transport helicopters and medics to deliver supplies and evacuate the sick. Waive the ‘Jones Act’ – which is a joke anyway – for at least 2 years, not just the 10 days you chose. In other words, sir, LEAD. These are AMERICANS; they are dying and will continue to do so. They have suffered mightily for nearly six months. They don’t deserve this.

The point is, sir, that if the equivalent disaster had occurred in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, you and the rest of the government would be literally falling all over yourselves to fix things, and would have started the effort on day one. In fact, Texas and Florida, the other states struck by hurricanes this past fall, received Federal help immediately, and are largely rebuilt now. This is shameful.

In the now-famous words of Joseph Welch to Sen. Joe McCarthy in the 1954 hearings, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 434 – A Poem: March for Our Lives, America

Day 434 – A Poem: March for Our Lives, America

Image from Pinterest

March for Our Lives, America

The shame of our country

rides the range of TV channels

across the globe.

The world is watching,

standing in solidarity

with our students.

 

On Pennsylvania Avenue

our footprints scorch the pavement.

We walk with purpose and conviction.

No more will we allow our children

to be gunned down in school

or on the streets where they live.

We shout to the beautiful blue sky

above us on March 24, 2018,

Enough is enough.

 

Our voices will not be silenced.

We speak for the children

who have died from gun violence –

those tiny wide-eyed ones

at Sandy Hook,

those middle graders at

Nickel Mines,

those teenaged ones at Columbine,

Parkland, Virginia Tech.

 

We speak because they cannot,

their voices muted by a bullet

or fifteen or thirty

from an automatic weapon,

an assault rifle, a long gun,

a bump stock.

Where does it stop?

 

People around the world

Berlin, Paris, London, Sydney

joined us there in the sunshine

on Pennsylvania Avenue

singing their hearts,

listening to the voices of brave teens

caught in the crosshairs

of the NRA and politicians.

 

Enough is enough.

 

Our grief turns to activism.

 

We will not stand for arming teachers,

for making schools into fortresses.

We refuse to live in fear.

 

We demand gun laws

with teeth.

We demand courage

with conviction.

We demand heart and soul,

not excuses or empty rhetoric.

 

We will be heard.

We have read the Constitution.

We know what “well-regulated” means.

We know what a militia is.

We know CPR.

 

Enough is enough.

 

We will march until our feet ache,

until you in seats of power – STAND UP,

and take no NRA dollars.

Until you hear us,

until you listen,

until you love children

as much as your guns

and your golf clubs.

Until you give us

the safety and protection

of GUN FREE ZONES

all over this nation,

not just in Congress.

 

Listen to our feet on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Listen to our words.

Be the heroes we need you to be.

Be the change

or be run over by it.

 

Enough is enough.

 

-Gloria Klinger

For Letters2Trump

Day 433 – Letter to Student Activists Fighting For Change: Thanks for Helping My Two Young Daughters Learn What Democracy Looks Like.

Day 433 – Letter to Student Activists Fighting For Change: Thanks for Helping My Two Young Daughters Learn What Democracy Looks Like.

Image from Kelly Bell Photography

Dear student activists,

I had the privilege of joining one of the many March for Our Lives events this past weekend, a march that was organized and led by you.  I brought my children, and while they are too young to organize, they are most decidedly not too young to hold a sign, scream a chant, and feel the emotion of a crowd fighting for change.  As we walked the mile-long route, we heard over and over again:

“Show me what democracy looks like!”

“THIS is what democracy looks like!”

After the march my older daughter asked me what “democracy” means, and we had a discussion about the power of voting and the power of voice, and how in many places individuals do not have those rights.  While she does not quite grasp the ramifications of democracy, she does know that we HATE guns and that it’s time for change.

Why does she know this?

Because of YOU.  Because YOU are making your voices heard.  Because YOU are not letting the bullies and trolls dominate the conversation.  Because YOU know that perseverance wins, and that no one is more motivated that you to see this fight to the end.

Unlike my generation and the generations which have preceded me, your voices are fresh, new, invigorating, un-jaded, pure.  Take that spirit and run with it, and we will be there right alongside.  Do you want to fight for harsher gun restrictions?  Let’s do it.  Do you want to repeal the 2nd amendment?  I’m in. Do you want to run for office?  You have my vote.

Nothing made me happier these last couple of days since the march than when I heard my two daughters, alone in their bedroom at night, saying to one another:

“Show me what democracy looks like!”

“THIS is what democracy looks like!”

That’s power.  And that’s change.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 432 – Never Mind The Blue Wave, Mr. President. A Blue Tsunami Is Coming Straight For You and Your Republican Sycophants.

Day 432 – Never Mind The Blue Wave, Mr. President. A Blue Tsunami Is Coming Straight For You and Your Republican Sycophants.

Image from WhyWeProtest.Net

Mr. President,

When I sat down to write this letter, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t looked at your Twitter feed in over two months. Amazing, isn’t it? I feel reborn. Consider for a moment that your flash in the pan antics have grown so dull to me that I, a feminist liberal, no longer care about you.

Am I complacent? Absolutely not. But I have finally accepted that your words are “told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, [s]ignifying nothing” (thanks, Shakespeare). No one can do or say anything to “fix” you. Have you felt it yet? The subtle shift? The lessening of interest in your presidency? People no longer care about your golfing trips, or your insensitive words to grieving parents, or even the notes you hold in your hands to remind you what an empathetic person would say. Sure we see and hear you, but look at you as a joke. We’ve come to accept that this is the new norm. I must say that it’s a relief to finally stop fighting the fact that you are this country’s president.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, one about which not even Fox & Friends will tell you: you’ve already been replaced. That’s right, replaced. It came to me whilst watching the footage of the recent gun control march. Your “I’ll-keep-saying-and-doing-crazy-things-and-people-will-become-acclimated-to-my-insanity” has worked. Unfortunately for you, not in the way you planned.

You see, people are no longer paying attention to you. They’re too busy watching local and state elections and counting one upset after another for the status quo.

Most significantly, children are marching on the streets and standing up to the NRA. They are taking over the airways, the social media platforms, they are talking against you and your cronies and all those immoral people who are destroying their planet, threatening their lives, and ruining their futures. They hate Facebook; they don’t care about Twitter. Those platforms are beneath them, and they’ve moved past them to bigger and better ways to connect. They are committed to change. They are, and will be, voting.

If you have any sense of self-preservation, you and your racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing NRA puppets should quietly move out of the way.

You are no longer relevant.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

P.S. I said I stopped fighting my disbelief that you were elected, but I haven’t given up the battle. I vote in every election, but more importantly, I vote with my wallet.

P.P.S. Russia

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