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Photograph by Dennis Yip

Mr. President,

I never know where to start with these letters. I try to pick one topic and focus on it. But how can I pick which is the most alarming?

As usual, you are giving us plenty of softball distractions that I could write about:

  • Yet another tweeting war – this time with the widow of one of the green berets, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who mysteriously died in an ambush in a Niger mission. You claim though, you have an “excellent memory” and you know that you, in fact, did not insult her and her husband by telling her that her husband “knew what he was signing up for.”
  • Then yesterday I watched, yet again, with dismay, you make an ass out of yourself. This time, you aimed insults through children at their parents, who are the press corp. We watched, cringing, as you not only joked (???) that the kids have no weight problems, but that they are also surprisingly good looking, despite their parents – you know, the “fake news” producers.
  • And speaking of your “fake news” catch-all for any reporting you don’t care for – this time in response to the at least 16 women who have accused you of sexual harassment? The White House official position: Fake News.

Meanwhile, there is truly so much SCARY SHIT happening.

I think my biggest concern – truly, at the end of the day – is your complete and utter disregard for the seriousness of your position. I don’t know what world you are living in. But you are literally killing people.

My brother died of a heroin overdose three years ago. He was a good, kind, gentle person. He also had layers upon layers of medical and mental problems that we were never able to untangle. We loved him. We tried so hard to help him. And while we weren’t able to save him, thanks to Medicaid, we were able to at least help him live a decent quality of life. He lived with my parents, and we got some supplemental support that helped him pay for food and medications so that my parents didn’t go completely broke.

Last week, you did declare a public health emergency under the Public Health Services Act, which directs federal agencies to provide more grant money to combat the epidemic. And maybe that’s something. I hope it is.

But just a friendly reminder: The War on Drugs doesn’t work. I wish it did, but sadly, it’s about more than “just saying no,” as Attorney General Jeff Sessions would like to have us believe. And it’s more than just good advertising, as you claimed. My brother tried to say no. Many times. But like so many of the problems you hate, there was no quick fix.

I don’t need to spout statistics, but we all know people are dying of opioid overdoses at an increasingly alarming rate. It is truly an epidemic.

You brush off true and real concerns. You choose easy, quick, and thoughtless opposed to complex and thoughtful. You choose to stand behind half-baked healthcare policies that would dump the most vulnerable Americans into an even bigger and unescapable financial ditch.

Thanks to your irresponsible actions, premiums for the most popular Affordable Care Act plan have risen 34%. The market is unstable – thanks to your decision to end subsidy payments to insurers, the continued debate over repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act, and an executive order allowing for lower cost plans outside of the Obama-era law, according to a report by Avalere Health.

You dismiss truths you find inconvenient or simply don’t like. You abuse your power, toying with laws and regulations that save people’s lives.

Good people are dying. They are the sons and daughters and sisters and brothers and friends of good people. Your presidency isn’t about you, Donald. The U.S. presidency is about protecting our citizens, keeping our world as safe as you can, and making the most thoughtful decisions possible. You might not take your position seriously, Mr. President. But I do. And so do all of those people whose lives are hanging by a thread…and are about to be cut off by your administration.



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