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Day 424 – Letter to the Democratic Party: Stand Up for We The People…All the People.

Day 424 – Letter to the Democratic Party: Stand Up for We The People…All the People.

Image from Power to the Poster

Dear Democratic Party,

Recently Hillary Clinton spoke in Mumbai at the India Today Conclave. Among her comments, Clinton stated that she “won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards.” This is absolutely among the reasons I cast my vote for her in November 2016.

However, Clinton also stated that she “won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product.” It is the connotation of comments as this that concern me; is this not part of the rhetoric we as democrats are fighting against? That money equates to strength? To smarter citizens? To a different type of vote?

No. This is not who we are.

We want to unify. We need to come together. We must get out of this political mess and move forward.

There is no denying the energy of our party right now. It excites me as well as helps me stomach the ludicrous actions and comments of 45. The base is pumped, and I hope this intensity continues.

What worries me though is that as we progress toward the midterms, we may take the criticism of those working against us personally. We may start to once again widen the division. This is what the opposition wants: a divided nation. We must remember that we are in fact stronger together.

Look at Alabama. Look at Pennsylvania. This is the strength of the Democratic Party; it is what we stand for when we remember that we care about people. That we fight for people. All people. We believe our country is not about who has more money or power or education. It is that we – no matter where we cast our vote – are all Americans. We live in the United States. I have faith that we can keep this momentum, but we cannot also turn into what we are working against.




Day 423 – 423 Days…a Poem.

Day 423 – 423 Days…a Poem.

Image from WordPress

Mr. President,

You delight in baseless attacks and Twitter tirades, you want to show your might with tweets and parades

423 Days, we’ve put up with your crazy in so many ways.

We’ve marched, we’ve walked out, so hear our voices Mr. President as we loudly shout.

We will not go quietly into that night until we change the world and make things right.

We’ll make our voices heard so please listen to our word.

423 Days and we continue to fight because as Americans, that is our right.

We protest you and know that we will until you’re gone and your office we will fill,

With someone who’s worthy and not devil may care, we’ve put up with your recklessness, and of course that hair.

Hear us now, as with one voice we speak, we stand up for the voiceless, the tired and the weak.

423 Days and you’ve showed us your true colors in so many ways.

To the people of this country, I implore you to remember that it’s always darkest before the dawn and we will persevere.  He’ll never forget that we’re not going anywhere, we’re always here.

423 Days, we can make it through but remember America, we’re counting on you.

Don’t stop believing, we can be the change we wish to see in this place so keep keeping on with a smile on your face.

423 Days, we’re counting ‘em down, until we take back the White House and we run you out of town.

423 Days…



Day 422 – Letter to House Republicans: You Failed.

Day 422 – Letter to House Republicans: You Failed.

Image from ABC

Dear House Republicans,

You might think that ending your investigation into Russian interference in our elections is the safe move. If Trump colluded with the Russians, you would rather not know than have to face what that would mean. What’s sad is, you may be right. Willful ignorance worked out pretty well for George W. Bush, after all.

But yours is not the only investigation going on, and the longer those continue, the more obvious it will be that you gave up rather than really investigate and have to face some hard questions. Even that will be preferable, however, to letting Trump use your conclusion to try and shut down Mueller, however. Nixon thought he could cover up his misdeeds by interfering with investigations, and he didn’t have nearly as many leaks to worry about.

So if you want my advice, even though you called it quits, push to allow other investigations to continue without interference. It’s better to look like you just missed something, than that you were also complicit. Just a thought.



Day 420 – A Brief Lesson on Empathy and Respect, Mr. President. Again.

Day 420 – A Brief Lesson on Empathy and Respect, Mr. President. Again.

Photograph from the Washington Post

Mr. President,

I have a book recommendation for you. Do you read? Please read. And start with this one. It’s called Braving the Wilderness and it’s written by Brené Brown. In her own words, Dr. Brown says:

“I’m a research professor at the University of Houston where I hold the Huffington Endowed Chair. I’ve spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, empathy, and shame.”

That probably doesn’t sound like a good use of time to you. Perhaps you think you don’t have time for empathy. You haven’t ever displayed vulnerability or shame that I’ve noticed, and it seems you have plenty of courage, however misplaced. Maybe you think this book, and Dr. Brown’s work, are a waste of time. Actually, I can understand that.

I, too, am an overachiever. I’m a competitive, driven, no-time-for-anyone else person. I’ve been accused of being overconfident and cocky, and there’s some truth in that. I’m white and I don’t like to hear about privilege because it makes me uncomfortable. But there’s some advice in this book that helps me to reset and remember a very important truth: humans are humans, and we owe every one of them respect and dignity. Yes, even the ones from your so-called “shithole countries.”

Since you’re probably not going to read the book, let me tell you about the part I think is so important. There’s something called “dehumanizing,” whereby people essentially convince themselves that other individuals or groups are less than human, thereby giving themselves permission to treat them that way. When we call a person a “dog,” or a group of people “savages,” or “deplorables,” or “illegals,” you’re stripping them of their humanity. (See how I used examples from both side of the aisle there? Everyone does this.) Once they’ve been stripped of their humanity, it’s much easier to hurt them: to turn them away, to torture them, to bomb them, to dismiss them.

I’m actually not a particularly liberal person. You and I might agree on some immigration and even healthcare points. I think we’d be even more likely to agree if we could approach the topics with a basic respect for humanity. If we could call people people, and not “illegals,” for example.

I can’t help but wonder how the conversations would change if a conversation about immigration began “All people are people. I can see why many from different backgrounds would want to immigrate to the U.S. Sadly, we have security, economic, and physical limitations that limit whom we can admit, but let’s talk about how to do that fairly. Because people are people.” I can imagine it. Can you?



Day 419 – Letter to Fellow Citizens: Social Justice is the Path to a Stronger, More United Nation.

Day 419 – Letter to Fellow Citizens: Social Justice is the Path to a Stronger, More United Nation.

Image from Project Snap

Dear fellow citizens,

Continuing my pledge to focus on the words of Martin Luther King in my letters, at least through April, I offer the following.

Once again, I take from “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community”:

“Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.  There is no other answer. Constructive social change will bring about certain tranquility; evasions will merely encourage turmoil.”

Despite the shortness, there is much to unpack from those words.  The allusion to riot prevention reflects the times in which these words were written, the late sixties, when riots had erupted in Black communities across America, from Watts to Detroit.  But, Martin Luther King was also speaking in a broader way.

By the time of King’s assassination, he had come to see the corrosive evil of militarization and economic imbalance, and the corresponding power disparity (economic and political).  He observed the commonality of interests between poor Whites and Blacks with poor being the operative word (although really, just about any current middle to low income American could identify with his sentiment).  His words also foreshadowed the rise of other movements for civil rights (migrant workers, feminists, the LGBT community, economic justice and environmental preservation and restoration).

Out of the turmoil of the sixties arose cultural, political and environmental changes, often won in the streets and on campuses, but also in the media, at least from those that saw merit in what was being fought for.  To an extent, the concessions were survival reaction from the powers that be – i.e., there was just enough change to release the growing pressure and potential complete overthrow of “The System.”  However, the latent power structure laid on the ropes Ali style and waited for its opportunity to set things right as they saw it.

It started in the 1970s and was revealed in the infamous Lewis Powell Jr. Memo of 1971, in which Powell, who went on to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, laid out for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce his view of the broad attack on the American economic system and what could be done about it.  He characterized “the chorus of criticism” from “the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians” as the “most disquieting” (dangerous).  If that sounds familiar, it should, as the same things are said now about: the liberal elites; the main stream media and other “fake news” sources; science and reason, which are being attacked on all sides – e.g., denial of climate change; the false equivalency of many things, not the least of which is creationism with evolution; the false currency of “alternative facts,” etc.

In the memo, Powell laid out the blueprint for how to blunt the forces demanding change and take back the momentum, because for him, the “business and enterprise system” were “in deep trouble” and the hour was late.  And so, the die was cast and America’s powerful went to work to save themselves and the system that provided their figurative and literal lifeblood.

These efforts included coordinated attacks on all the institutions mentioned as well as on unions and anyone else posing a threat.  The counterattacks often went on behind the scenes, quietly but always with purpose and, importantly, an overall singular thrust.  As Powell pointed out, independent and uncoordinated activity would be insufficient.  “Careful long range planning and implementation” was needed as well as a “consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in political power available only through united action and national organizations.”  Think of the Koch brothers, the various conservative think tanks and PACs as well as ALEC.

By the time of Reagan’s election, the Fat Boys were riding high and could sense the shift.  Blood was in the water.  Reagan broke the air traffic controller union and then deregulation took off.  Thatcher came to power in Britain and suddenly it was sunrise in America once again.  No more of Jimmy Carter’s “crisis of confidence”; America was back.

It’s also no surprise that The System’s reemergence was paralleled, in no small part, by a growing military.  The lingering stench of Vietnam was washed from the national fabric by a refurbished military machine armed with new toys and in pursuit of new enemies to slay.

The funny thing is that for the American worker and, in particular the working poor, which included many Whites, the economic situation began to stagnate and then get worse as jobs were shipped overseas, hostile takeovers wiped out companies and jobs, wages dropped (due in large part to declines in union membership), and right to work states proliferated.

Fast forward through the first Iraqi War (which simply set the stage) to 9/11 and the godsend of the terrorist attacks and the fear those set off and the comeback nears completion.  The cherry on top was the 2008 meltdown and subsequent bailout and the Supreme Court put the official stamp on what was long a fact: that corporations are people and money free speech.

So here we are, fear predominates; the military is massive and in more countries than ever before (and the military and black ops budgets suffer no shortfall); economic disparity has reached near all-time highs; and ordinary Americans are having to do more with less.  Social programs are being rolled back and/or privatized; the media, science and intellectual “elites” are vilified; and Big Brother is everywhere – as are guns.  The saddest thing is that such a great number of Americans are buying into their own destruction.  They believe the narrative being spun, which started way back in 1971:  Government can do no good; White lives are threatened (Make America Great Again); Immigrants are evil (our American values are being buried); and, above all fear.  These are all symptoms of the disease that’s gripped this country since industrialization began, but took its most virulent form since the 1970s.  Powell’s vision played out better than he could have hoped.  Not only did The System regain an iron fisted control of the country, it managed to turn the American people against one another.  So long as we are divided, we cannot unite.

As Martin Luther King said, we have a choice as a society:  practice constructive social change, or continue the evasions and continue to suffer turmoil.  We have been pitted against one another.  It’s time to re-discover our common causes and recognize the true enemy of the people.


Scot A. Reynolds

And Letters2Trump

Day 418 – Yes In This Country, Mr. President.

Day 418 – Yes In This Country, Mr. President.

Image from

Mr. President,

This morning, a member of the Chinese press was caught rolling her eyes in response to the overlong mic domination of her peer. Our own news outlets pounced on the videoed eye-roll, citing it as a rare visual transgression against the carefully-controlled media arm of the state there. Liang Xiangyi, we are told, quickly “became the most-censored term on Weibo,” the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

I fear for Liang.

This, of course, can be of little surprise. Her country, after all, just abolished term limits for its president. China, economic outreach notwithstanding, has, like Russia, begun a sociopolitical swing back toward the totalitarianism it is so fashionable here to declare has always held sway across the sea. To be sure, it has, but, as with Russia, we once had more reason to hope that state-orchestrated disappearances and silences would become the outliers rather than the norm.

All of this is, again, no surprise.

What is surprising is that it feels more disingenuous than ever, now, to mount the high horse and proclaim that one would never have need for such fears, in this country.

Not in this country, you say? What of all the women iced out of their careers, for the crime of speaking up about their harassment? What of all the politicians and political appointees who abruptly found themselves out of a job, for the crime of disagreeing with their president?

What of the growing number of critically injured and dead in Austin, whose only crime was being people of color?

It is easy to sit in our living rooms or out at bars, surrounded by our like-minded friends, and alternately wring our hands and loudly proclaim outrage at the disparities we see arising around us. It is less easy to see the diminishing space between the corrupt and vengeful nepotism of other countries, and our own policy cesspool.

If you, sir, thought you could get away with poisoning dissidents or informants with nerve agents as they sat having brunch with their daughters of a Sunday morning — or if you thought you could get away with hiring your Russian friends to do it for you — do you really expect us to believe you wouldn’t?

And are we really in a position to expect that the safeguards — of decency, or morality, of national disposition; call it whatever fanciful term you like — we take such haughty pride in will remain in place long enough to stop you?




Day 417 – Letter to Americans Who Believe that Video Games Cause Mass Shootings: They Don’t.

Day 417 – Letter to Americans Who Believe that Video Games Cause Mass Shootings: They Don’t.

Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

Dear Americans who think video games cause mass shootings,

They don’t.

Video games don’t cause mass shootings.

I know that our country doesn’t always like to believe in science, but it’s time we stop debating this ridiculous myth and start dealing with the actual causal issues instead.

Because video games don’t cause mass shootings.

Video games do cause a lot of things. They often cause us to be more isolated; they may make us more aggressive in the short-term. They definitely cause us to waste a lot of time. They sometimes cause us to eat too much and live in our moms’ basements. They may have indirectly caused my divorce. But they do not cause teenage white males to go out and shoot up their local schools.

Let’s conduct a thought experiment.

Let’s set up a hypothetical scenario with two countries, identical in all aspects, save 2 distinct differences.

Country A gives their children unlimited access to all the video games they want, whenever they want, for as long as they want. Country A has very limited access to guns with very strict regulations.

Country B loves their guns. They fetishize their guns, they ban federal funding of research on gun violence, and they have very lax gun regulations and many loopholes. Thankfully, Country B has very limited access to violent video games.

Let’s say that this hypothetical scenario runs for 5 years.

At the end of 5 years, how many young white men in Country A wandered into their local schools and shot as many of their peers as possible? How many school shootings happened in a country with very strict gun regulations but unlimited access to all of those terrible, violent video games?

How about in Country B? How many mass shootings occurred with unfettered access to all those guns, but thankfully no violent video games to stir up any aggression?

In simple terms: If Johnny can’t play video games but can play with real guns and real bullets, how many real people could he possibly shoot?

It’s time to stop debating this ridiculous myth.

Video games don’t cause mass shootings.

Unregulated and fetishized access to guns does.





Day 416 – A Found Poem, Mr. President, From 7th Grade Voices On You and How You Are Failing Our Nation.

Day 416 – A Found Poem, Mr. President, From 7th Grade Voices On You and How You Are Failing Our Nation.

Image from the Huffington Post

Mr. President,

Over the past year, I have tried to understand you and your fan base. I force myself to watch Fox News from time to time, I read Hillbilly Elegy, and I frequent The Hill news source often. It perplexes me how hearing different perspectives hasn’t helped a light bulb turn on in my head; I still don’t get it.

So I turned to my 7th grade students to help me. I asked them to share their comments, questions, and suggestions regarding you and your Presidency. I hoped their insights would give me yet another point of view on what you’ve done and/or could be doing for this country. Instead of summarizing their thoughts, I decided that I would use their words and create a found poem from them.



can’t you just accept


race, gender and religion?

You should respect people

that are different than you.


Why not

just make it mandatory

for women and men

to be paid equally?

Women deserve

to have a voice,

they are not just for looking at —

they make a difference

and are very powerful people.

You should be more respectful

to everyone

including women.


Why not

Increase national parks


of Decreasing them?



build a WALL

when you have the chance

to build a BRIDGE?

America is a nation built on immigrants,

you should make it easier

to get citizenship for immigrants

because they

are the future of our nation,

whether you want to accept it

or not.


You should help out communities,

for the sake

of the people,

and help us

build our country

and make it a wonderful place

to live in

and experience.

People choose to come


because they have

a voice.



You need to stop

spending money on vacations

and put it to better use.

For example

feeding the hungry.


— from the words of Aiyana, Evie, Maisie, Kevin, and Sydney

The poem reminds me that many people in this country (of all ages) don’t understand your thinking as well as your decision-making. We are disappointed that your presidency is more about tearing people apart than bringing communities together. The legacy you are leaving is sad and disturbing.

Also…my 7th graders recently researched and wrote biographies of famous people. They could choose anyone that they looked up to and that had overcome adversity. Students chose President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Muhammad Ali, Jane Goodall, Winston Churchill, Bill Murray, Missy Franklin, J.K. Rowling, Malala, Jackie Robinson, and many more famous citizens of the world. Their choices remind me that students are keen judges of character and are still able to find hope and encouragement from many adults in this world. (Btw, nobody chose you.)




Day 415 – Letter to the President and His Parade of Yes-Men: There are Consequences For Your Actions. Shkreli Wasn’t Really Ready For Them. Are You?

Day 415 – Letter to the President and His Parade of Yes-Men: There are Consequences For Your Actions. Shkreli Wasn’t Really Ready For Them. Are You?

Photograph from The Hill

Dear Mr. President and the rubber-stamping-yes-men that collude with you,

You’d better steel yourselves. The American people are not letting white collar criminals off the hook anymore. And judges are no longer allowing grown men to behave like adolescents, or toddlers throwing a temper tantrum, without consequence.

Martin Shkreli was found guilty of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud by a jury in August.  Yesterday, he was sentenced to seven years in prison by Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto, who cited his “egregious multitude of lies” and the fact that “he ‘repeatedly minimized’ his conduct, including in statements and emails after his conviction.” Moreover, Shkreli was fined $75,000 and must forfeit $7.36 million of his net worth.

Now, I know you’ve previously called Shkreli a “spoiled brat” and seemed to be “particularly perturbed by [his] inclination to dig in … [because he] came off like he thought ‘he was hot stuff.'”

First of all, this is a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black, Mr. “I need more ice cream than everyone else” and “watch me double down on uninformed, racist comments about Charlottesville.”

But more importantly, Shkreli is a man in his mid-30s. In other words, he’s an adult who should know better than to lie, cheat and steal, and who deserves to be punished for doing it. Seven years is a long time, longer than a presidential term of office. And, like you, Shkreli isn’t known for his good judgment or self-control. Less than a month after his guilty verdict, he offered a $5,000 bounty for one of Hillary Clinton’s hairs, spurring Judge Matsumoto to revoke his bail and plop him in jail where he stayed until his sentencing.

This should give you pause, Mr. President, because the two of you have so much in common. Like you, Shkreli made his fortune profiting off the backs of regular, working Americans. You routinely “renege on contracts, refuse to pay, or consistently attempt to change payment terms after the work is complete,” ultimately “wag[ing] Goliath vs David legal battles over small amounts of money that are negligible to [a] billionaire and his executives – but devastating to his much smaller foes.” Similarly, Shkreli is “best known for raising the price of a drug … by 5,000 percent.” Yet like you, Shkreli “wants everyone to believe that he is a genius….He can’t just be an average person who fails, like the rest of us.”  Like you, he is enamored with social media, even “live-streaming and tweeting throughout his five-week trial.” Like you, he disrespects and casts aspersions on those brave enough to speak truth to power. For instance, Shkreli was caught “making faces during testimony [and] calling the prosecution junior varsity.”  And, very much like you, he likes to play the victim. Shkreli claimed his prosecution “was a witch hunt of epic proportions.”

And watch out, you rubber-stamping yes-men, because it’s not just Trump who should be worried. Shkreli’s former lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also caught up in his scheme and convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. Like you, Greebel committed his crimes in the process of standing by his man (boss). But according to the prosecutor, “By helping … Shkreli steal millions of dollars and cover up Shkreli’s fraud, the defendant Evan Greebel betrayed the trust placed in him … to represent the company’s best interests.”  Likewise, toeing the presidential line betrays the trust the American people have placed in you.

The prosecutor believes “the verdict sent a message to lawyers that they would be held accountable when they ‘use their legal expertise to facilitate the commission of a crime.'”

Trump Cronies, are you getting the message yet?




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