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Photograph by Elvis Kennedy

Dear Mr. President,

Here is a plan for you to celebrate the days surrounding our nation’s birthday. Instead of yet another weekend of golf and chocolate cake at Mar-a-Largo while you try to forget the investigations of Mr. Mueller, why not take Melania and Barron with you on a trip to Lake Michigan? On July 3, you could join a large non partisan effort of volunteers who love and value the Great Lakes. Think of the photo opportunities. You and Barron could shed your suits and ties, Melania could dress in casual clothes and you could meet us and our neighbors as we roll up our sleeves and our pants to clean up our Lake Michigan beaches and show our concern for and commitment to our Great Lakes. There are 60 of these All Hands On Deck events scheduled for July 3 in the eight Great Lake states with more than half of them on the shores of Lake Michigan where I live.

You said in your address to Congress that “My administration wants to work with members in both parties to promote clean air and clean water.” And we know you like boating since you commissioned a 420 foot yacht which you wanted to be “the largest in the world and the most beautiful” until you lost it to bankruptcy. So, since you say you like clean water and you are a boater,  participating in All Hands On Deck would show that maybe you have reconsidered your position on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has bipartisan support in Michigan and the other Great Lakes states. Even your EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has said that he recognizes that the Great Lakes are an important part of America’s fresh water supply. As National Wildlife spokesman Jordan Lubetkin said about your proposed Great Lakes budget cut, “It would bring Great Lakes restoration to a halt, it would undermine efforts to clean up toxic pollution, to halt invasive species like Asian Carp, and to prevent harmful algae blooms that on Lake Erie left 500,000 people without a drinking water supply in August 2014. It’s a loser for the environment, a loser for the economy, a loser for the waters that 30 million people rely upon for their water supply.”  {italics mine}

You have named your budget “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” It is hard to square that title with your evident lack of knowledge about the value of our Great Lakes. All people need clean, affordable drinking water, and that need unites us all, across states, tribes, nations, religions, cultures, and political parties. Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario together are the largest surface freshwater system on Earth; only the Polar icecaps contain more water. The Great Lakes contain 84% of North America’s surface fresh water and 21% of all the surface fresh water in the world.

Creating and maintaining good American jobs is also one of your talking points. Pay attention, then, to what Republican Representative Bill Huizenga said about his disagreement with your budget cut, “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a critical program that works to preserve the Great Lakes for future generations. The health and vitality of the Great Lakes is instrumental to having a productive Great Lakes economy that creates good paying jobs and sustained economic growth.”

I realize you like to tout yourself as the America First guru and seem pretty disinterested in the rest of our global planet, but even if you just consider these United States, the importance of protecting our Great Lakes should be evident.  However, if you still are not convinced, join us on July 3 for All Hands On Deck. You, Melania, and Barron could see in person the incredible beauty of our Lake Michigan water and beaches, change your mind about gutting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and take advantage of those all-important photo ops.







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