Select Page
Day 154 – The Handmaid’s Tale Should Not Remind People of Your Administration, Mr. President.

Day 154 – The Handmaid’s Tale Should Not Remind People of Your Administration, Mr. President.

Photograph by Tom Blunt of cover of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Dear Mr. President,

One Friday night nearly twenty years ago, my college roommates went out and I just wasn’t up for it. Hardly was I up for studying either, so I looked over our bookshelf in hopes something would spark my interest. I picked up The Handmaid’s Tale. I put it down only after reading the final page.

This novel struck me as no other ever had. These were my formative years as an activist, a feminist, a believer in equality; Margaret Atwood’s words helped solidify the importance of paying attention to the government and its true impact on its people.

I have often told this story when asked to choose my favorite book (and as a high school English teacher, it happens a lot). Yet what I cite as most disturbing about the novel is not the militaristic government, the destruction of individuality or families, or even (as horrifying as it is) the legalized – and required – rape of young fertile women by their “Commander.”

What scares me most about this novel is just how fast Gilead, the dystopian society of the novel, was created. The adults remembered what life had been. They did not believe every aspect of life could change before they realized every aspect of their life had changed.

As you may know, Hulu just finished its first television season of The Handmaid’s Tale. I was a bit leery when I first heard about this, but upon learning that Atwood was involved and read interviews with the cast, I had complete faith in the adaptation. The show blew me away. I know reading isn’t your thing, but I hope you are at least willing to watch it.

The writers and directors so beautifully integrated the flashbacks of life previous to the regime change. Again, this is what scared me most. Life looked familiar, completely relatable. Little by little the government started intervening; little by little rights started disappearing, namely because the human race was dwindling. Society had destroyed itself nearly to sterility. This is where I truly see the eventual parallel to Gilead: your steadfast push to poison our environment.

Already you have called climate change a hoax despite all true scientists showing the opposite. But it’s not solely your words. Your actions are taking us closer to the contaminated world of Gilead.

Your support of the Dakota Access Pipeline shows your ignorance as to how our actions impact the Earth. How many other places in our country will you be willing to destroy for profit? Land is poisoned.

You propose to cut the funding of the Great Lakes, funding that would benefit those in Flint, Michigan. These citizens – these children – suffer from horrendous amounts of lead. The damage from this lifelong impact is still developing, but children have been showing developmental issues. Water is poisoned.

Then there is your highly disliked choice to exit the Paris agreement. This is not about “massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries.” You just don’t feel the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  You refuse to listen, to work together. Air is poisoned.

Without land, water, and air, we have nothing, Mr. President. Nothing.

I will continue to do as I can to sustain our earth, allowing her to work for all of us, but she needs your help too.

Mother Nature, I’m sorry this is happening, yet I also know you’re strong. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 153 – Philando Castile, Mr. President.

Day 153 – Philando Castile, Mr. President.

Photograph from the Star Tribune

Dear Mr. President,

Skim a number of online dictionaries to see how they define “upstanding citizen.” You will see certain trends: Follows rules. Obeys laws. Helpful. Honest. Strong morals. Upright. Straightforward. Honorable.

Imagine an upstanding citizen’s day. He goes to work. He works hard while there. He is friendly and helpful. He is an exemplar for his co-workers. Imagine that he works in a school: he knows the kids’ names; he helps the kids; the kids know him and love him.

The upstanding citizen leaves work. He runs some errands and eats dinner with his sister. At some point, he’ll go to his loved ones, of course. Imagine that he is driving with them. Imagine, in this case, they are his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter, whom he treats as his own because he is an upstanding citizen.

While driving, the upstanding citizen gets stopped by the police. The police say the upstanding citizen resembled a robbery suspect. The police officer says when the upstanding citizen drove by, his nose looked like the one reportedly on the robber’s face.

Imagine an upstanding citizen getting stopped by the police because as he drove by, the officers thought they got a good enough look at his nose. Imagine various officers doing this 52 times since you got your driver’s license.

The upstanding citizen is a supporter of the Second Amendment. When the officer asks for ID, the upstanding citizens tells him he has a firearm and a license to carry it. The upstanding citizen follows all of the officer’s directions.

Imagine being in that situation. Imagine following every rule. Imagine obeying the laws. Imagine being helpful, honorable, and honest. Imagine being so straightforward as to help the officer by making him aware of your firearm. Imagine following all of the rules. Imagine doing exactly as you’re told by the police officer.

Now imagine getting shot four times by that officer after you told him you have a firearm and he asked you to raise your hands and you were raising your hands as you were asked to do.

Now imagine that millions and millions of people watched this happen on a live video. You might imagine that the police officer and his entire department would be investigated.

And now imagine you’re Black.

Rather, imagine you were Black because now you’re just a soul because those four shots? They ended your life. Imagine people using euphemisms like “ended your life” instead of speaking blunt truths like, “You were murdered.”

Now imagine how it would feel to see the newly elected president appoint Jeff Sessions to Attorney General. Imagine how it would feel to know that in February of 2017, that Attorney General said he would stop federal monitoring of troubled police departments.

Imagine how it feels to have your execution viewed millions of times. Imagine how it feels to see the police officer walk away without any charges pressed against him. Imagine how it would feel to know that his department won’t have any questions asked of it by the federal government now.

Imagine what kind of country would allow officers of the state to shoot an upstanding citizen and have no recourse against them. Now imagine that this happens often enough to not only be a trend but an expectation. Imagine walking out your door to go to work every morning as an upstanding citizen.

Mr. President, today I ask you to imagine.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

Day 152 – DACA Flip-Flop? More of the Same? Utter Confusion? Yes?

Day 152 – DACA Flip-Flop? More of the Same? Utter Confusion? Yes?

Photograph by Joe Frazier Photo

Dear Mr. President,

Most of us may not like it, but living in the United States means living in your world now.  Of course, this is great for you.  You love being in charge. The people you govern, however, have had to acclimate to constantly shifting ground.  We now live in a tumultuous world where norms and standards we once took for granted are now uncertain.

Moreover, your own statements about what you yourself think or believe at any given time are notoriously unreliable, as highlighted in The Atlantic’s recent (but already out-of-date) “All the President’s Flip-Flops.”  Your temperamental nature is legendary and no one can be sure who or what will be the target of your next tantrum.

So I was pleasantly surprised when one of your U-turns actually favored at least one policy I support.  The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced the continuation of limited protections for certain undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Unlike my response to the vast majority of news related to your presidency, I wanted to celebrate this particular about-face.

But it’s so hard to trust you.  Even the people who stand to benefit are wary.  According to one DACA recipient in the New York Times, “My initial reaction was, ‘Well, what’s the catch?’”

Sure enough, you soon curtailed the impact of the initial news release, explaining that the statement merely meant DACA enrollees “would not immediately be affected by a separate action officially ending a similar program.”  Rather than clarity, your administration offered more uncertainty.  Dreamers remain in limbo.  But a DHS spokesperson noted “the president has stressed [the DACA program] needs to be handled with compassion and with heart.”

Good.  I’d like you to take a moment to consider what it’s like for Dreamers. Now, I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of practice using your imagination.  I say this because your children, young and grown, were not primarily raised by you, and those of us who don’t spend much time with young kids can struggle with our imaginations.  It’s okay; I know it’s hard to find the time.  You were and are an important man with a lot on your plate.  Imagination is key to empathy, though.  But don’t panic; I’ll walk you through it in terms that even you can understand.

Sit back, close your eyes and picture yourself somewhere you feel at home. A round of golf at the club perhaps. Since you’ve had a limo driver for at least 17 years, we’ll assume your chauffeur was at the wheel and you didn’t have to trouble yourself with weighing the merits of the various routes. You simply emerge from the backseat of the car, having been shielded from any decisions by the partition separating you from your driver, into the comfort of the golf course and go about your business (or leisure, as the case may be).  Suddenly, the long arm of the law converges on your peaceful little world.  For the first time, you discover that your trusted chauffeur ran into a roadblock on the way.  Because he wanted to get you there as soon as possible to give you the pick of the best caddies, he took some illegal shortcuts around the roadblock.  You had no idea, you weren’t even driving, but the car is in your name and now the police are searching the course to hold you responsible.

This is an admittedly simplistic analogy.  But maybe it can help you imagine the situation that these undocumented immigrants find themselves in.  Dreamers were brought to this country as small children, by people trying to give them the best opportunity they could.  The United States is the only home they have ever known.  Sheltered by the screen of childhood, they had no role in the decision to move here and many do not even realize they are undocumented.

Show the Dreamers that you can empathize and give them the stability of preserving DACA.

Sincerely,

Letter2Trump

Day 151 – You Cannot Undo His Legacy or What He Stands For, Mr. President.

Day 151 – You Cannot Undo His Legacy or What He Stands For, Mr. President.

Photograph by Airman Magazine

Dear Mr. President,

I have always thought I’d be a good therapist. But seeing as I am a teacher and not a therapist, I still find it a good use of my skills offering unsolicited advice to friends whom I think need it.  Just kidding! I do often come up with the advice (in my head), but do not dare share it, unless asked, of course. In your case though, I feel I could offer some advice and maybe, just maybe you will one day read my words.

I have followed your presidency so far and I have often felt that you have a very intense dislike, to put it mildly, of your predecessor, President Obama. I know I am right about this for you have used your first few months to, as they say in the news, “chip away at his legacy.” You have used both your time and energy to dismantle all that he’s done, starting with Obamacare, then the environment and now Cuba (to name a few); 151 days into your presidency, he even remains a recurring topic of your most recent Tweets, like this one from June 18, 2017: The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating. That’s higher than O’s #’s!”

It’s time you began thinking about your own legacy, Mr. President, not in relation to Obama, but in relation to what you want for this country. There is a quote by Judy Garland that says, “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” For someone as proud as yourself, who seeks to define himself as an independent thinker, your reactionary policies do not make you an independent; they make you dependent, dependent on Obama. And you certainly don’t want that. Reactionary policies act like a pendulum that go from one extreme to the other but neither extreme is ever right for the American people you claim to want to protect and serve. Only in separating yourself and your policies do you become truly free of President Obama’s shadow. Isn’t that what you ultimately want? To be your own man?

A glaring example of how reactionary politics does not help people is clearly demonstrated in your decision to again freeze relations with Cuba. Although this was done in the name of lessening human rights violations in Cuba, Ben Rhodes, who assisted in creating diplomacy with the Castro regime in the past states that, though Cuba “represses dissent and discourages public criticism, but restoring restrictions on travel and commerce are unlikely to lead to improvement.”

So my advice to you is to focus on your own message Mr. President, your legacy; don’t simply choose a side because it’s the opposite of your enemy’s. As my favorite guru Chogyam Trungpa says, “Ultimately, the definition of bravery is not being afraid of yourself.” It’s time to begin to follow your own path and not simply react in opposition to all Obama was and continues to be.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 150 – Keeping Nailing Them In, Mr. President. Good Job.

Day 150 – Keeping Nailing Them In, Mr. President. Good Job.

Photograph by Adam Rosenberg

Dear Mr. President,

I dread this time of the month. No, not the time where blood comes out of my “wherever.” The time when I committed to writing you this letter, and I have to face reality and dig through the news stories I spend most of my time avoiding. I know I should pay close attention, but I just can’t. It’s too overwhelmingly depressing. So when I was slogging through the piles of digital dung your administration trails across the internet, I found a glimmer of hope in what feels like your endless term in office. Time Magazine online quoted Representative Ted Lieu of California as saying, “All Americans, regardless of party, agree on the fundamental principle that no one is above the law, and if President Trump were to fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, and then got special counsel Mueller fired, I believe Congress would begin impeachment proceedings.” This comes after you tweeted about being persecuted in a “witch hunt.”

Impeachment proceedings! Don’t toy with my emotions, Mr. Lieu. I’ve been waiting to hear these words ever since you drew “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” according to Sean Spicer. As a part of this letter writing campaign, we are to give you actionable advice. But I think you’ve made it crystal clear through your actions that you don’t take anyone’s advice.

So I will ask that you continue spiraling out of control and if you’re feeling sassy, which you generally are, go ahead and fire Rosenstein and Mueller. Please, put the final nail in the impeachment coffin for the good of the world. Because your actions in office affect people far beyond our borders, and I think globally it’s pretty unanimous. We are all pretty sick of this covfefe.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 149 –  What Are You Working For, Mr. President? What Will My Grandbabies Learn About Your Failed Administration?

Day 149 – What Are You Working For, Mr. President? What Will My Grandbabies Learn About Your Failed Administration?

Photograph by Wes Peck

Dear Mr. President,

Who do you work for?

I know that you’re the president of the (electoral) United States, but, seriously, who do you work for?

During your campaign, you pledged to drain the swamp.

During your inaugural address, you assured us that you were going to return the power to rule to the American people.

Now, (149) days into your presidency, I’m still wondering: who do you work for?

Actually, no — I’m not still wondering.  You’ve already answered that question.  We know how much your business interests in the Persian Gulf and in Russia are worth.  We know, at this point, you’re working only for yourself.  I mean, yes, your reign might enrich a handful of other folks, but, really, what this whole charade comes down to is you attempting, by whatever means you can, to enrich the Trump family.

My real question is this: what are you working for?

Because, you see, your legacy is not a matter of how much money you inherited from your daddy or how much of that money you passed on to your children, but what you did with what you were given and with what you made from that initial pot.

John D. Rockefeller, who was never elected president, started giving a portion of his income to charity at age 16.  Did you?  By the time he died, Andrew Carnegie, who was never elected president, had given away $350,000,000.  Bill Gates, who has not yet been elected president, plans to give 95% of his wealth to charity.

What do you have planned?  What are you going to do with the money that Saudi Arabia has sent your way?  What are you going to do with the money you’ve made from your dealings in the United Arab Emirates?  What are you going to do with the money that so many foreign powers have paid to stay in your Mar-a-Lago hotel?

So far, it looks like you want to keep it for yourself.  And your immediate family.

And I understand that desire.  I really do.

But, do you ever consider the fundamental worth of this country?  The country that elected you president?  Do you ever consider what you want to leave it?  Or how you want to leave it?  As you pointed out during your campaign, our infrastructure is crumbling; how are your business deals going to address that?  College education is increasingly unaffordable; how are you going to address that? Libraries, schools, and community centers are all underfunded and sinking; how are you going to address that?

In order to answer that question, I think you have to answer this one first: how do you want to be remembered?  Are you going to continue using your position to enrich yourself and those closest to you?  Are you going to go down in history as our least popular president in 40 years?

Now that you’re president, that’s what you have to think about — not just what you’re worth at the end of your life, but what you did with the time you had and the money and the influence you had access to.  That history book hasn’t been written yet, Mr. Trump.  What do you want your grandchildren to read on your page?

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 148 – Protecting the Great Lakes = Photo Ops for You and a Morally Superior Position. Tempting?

Day 148 – Protecting the Great Lakes = Photo Ops for You and a Morally Superior Position. Tempting?

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.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

 

 

Day 147 – The War On Drugs Failed, Mr. President. Please Tell Attorney General Sessions.

Day 147 – The War On Drugs Failed, Mr. President. Please Tell Attorney General Sessions.

Photograph by Carlos Gracia

Dear Mr. President,

As far as your Cabinet picks go, there are few that have been more controversial than Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He has made numerous questionable statements, especially in regards to race and civil rights, over his 30 plus years working in government. Most of our country, especially your critics, are currently fixated on his testimony (including his inability to “recall” the answers to many straightforward questions) during his turn in the hot seat in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearings regarding Russian collusion before, and perhaps during, the 2016 presidential election. However, I am going to address another concern with Mr. Sessions, and I hope you will as well: his stance on the legalization and use of medical marijuana.

Attorney General Sessions has not hid his feelings about the use of marijuana (for recreational or medicinal purposes). Allegedly, he drafted a letter to congressional leaders, which requested their assistance in allowing federal prosecution against entities in states where the medicinal use of marijuana and its components has been legalized. I would assume you are already aware that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government, just like every other controlled substance. This puts cannabis and most of its derivatives in the same category as heroin and cocaine, and indicates there is a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value (which is incorrect, but we will get to that shortly). However, in 2014, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment was signed into law. This amendment disallows the Justice Department from spending funds to hinder the enactment of state medical cannabis laws. So, in theory, the 29 states that have broad laws allowing some form of cannabis or its derivatives to be used for medicinal purposes, and the 15 states that have more narrow laws, should be allowed to proceed unencumbered.

In case you weren’t aware, Sessions would like to change all of that. In 1986, Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, attested that Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was, “OK until I found out they smoked pot.” Sessions later said that the comment was a joke (because the KKK is such a laughing matter), but did apologize for it, saying that he considered the Klan to be “a force for hatred and bigotry.” But, he didn’t do any backtracking on the “smoking pot” part, which shows how far back his pre-conceived notions go. In 2016, in response to then-President Obama’s assertion that cannabis is not as dangerous as alcohol, Sessions said he was “heartbroken” and that “…good people don’t smoke marijuana.” In his most recent letter, our current Attorney General cited “a historic drug epidemic” in our country as a justification to crack down on medical marijuana. To anyone with some actual knowledge on the subject, his comments are judgmental at best, and scientifically unsound and disproven at the worst.

Let’s start with the “historic drug epidemic” piece. Yes, there is a drug issue in our country, specifically with highly addictive opiates. In 2016, over 50,000 of our citizens died from opiate misuse/ overdoses.  This total is comprised of people who died from street-drugs considered to be opiates, such as heroin (12,989 deaths); but it also includes deaths from legal prescription drugs, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin (17,536 deaths). As for alcohol, around 88,000 people die from alcohol related deaths annually. This includes alcohol-related driving accidents, as well as personal use.  Mr. President, do you know how many people died from marijuana use…? Zero…which is the same number as the year before, and every year previous. So while Sessions may have been “heartbroken” by former President Obama’s comments regarding alcohol and marijuana, it turns out that Obama was correct. In addition, there is a growing body of research that shows that states that have legalized medical marijuana actually have a drop in opiate overdoses and deaths. Cannabis has also been used successfully in opiate replacement therapy and as a much safer method than prescription drugs, as it is not physically addictive.

Let’s move on to Sessions’ comment about how “good people don’t smoke pot.” I am going to venture a guess that Mr. Sessions would feel the same way about any kind of cannabis derivatives, such as CBD (or cannabidiol), which can have little to no intoxicating effects. When Charlotte Figi was 5 years-old, her family starting using CBD to treat some of her symptoms stemming from Dravet Syndrome (which causes seizures and developmental delays).  Little Charlotte went from having over 300 seizures a week to only 1 or 2.  In fact, medical marijuana has been used to successfully treat seizures in many children and adults. Then there is 42 year-old Leo Bridgewater, a veteran who suffered from PTSD, who has had success treating insomnia and severe anxiety, allowing him to return to a normal life. There is also Debbie Moreira, a woman in her 60s who has Autonomic Nerve Disorder. Her symptoms included shaking, weakness, and digestive issues. After treatment with medical cannabis, Debbie went from being bed-ridden to independent again, and now helps other seniors in her assisted living community. If Sessions would characterize any of these individuals as “bad,” I would be interested to see who he classifies as “good” (or even just “OK,” as he categorized the KKK). I could continue the list of ailments whose symptoms have been effectively lessened with medical marijuana, but then my letter would go on for a few more pages. The short-list includes multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, cancer/chemotherapy, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Aside from the medical implications of reversing the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, there are criminal elements to be discussed. According to the ACLU, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana. If you are truly worried about drug abuse in our nation, our law enforcement has clearly been chasing after users (not even dealers, or growers) of a fairly benign drug. The arrest data also revealed a very concerning trend. Despite roughly equal usage rates, blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana. To summarize, we are filling our jails and prisons with people who use a drug that has less negative impacts than legal drugs such as alcohol and prescription drugs. In fact, police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined.

So, if we are really looking to solve problems within our nation, especially connected to drug use, drug abuse, and a growing (and disproportionate) jail and prison population, I suggest you steer clear of your Attorney General’s suggestions. He appears to have very little actual knowledge on the topic and comes from a bygone era of the unsuccessful “War on Drugs.” From the statistics that I have shared, we can see how well that worked out.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 146 – Violence Bloodied Us as a Nation Today, Mr. President.

Day 146 – Violence Bloodied Us as a Nation Today, Mr. President.

Photograph by IMDB

Dear Mr. President,

As representatives seek to hurl one of their injured number against each other in a quest for political dominance mere hours after Steve Scalise took a bullet, let me tell you where I was when he was shot. There is a point to this, I promise.

Day was still dawning on the west coast, and I was slamming my fists into targets in a park otherwise populated by woodpeckers and old ladies. I don’t like you, and I don’t like your policies. You hurt my friends, my coworkers, and their children with your lies and your pettiness about everything from immigration to health care to foreign policy. And yet, do you suppose I imagined your face hovering over the red dots I kept pummeling there in the park?

No. No, I did not. Because I’m not you.

At one point, as I paused to gulp water, the man holding the targets set one down and pulled out this phone. “Jesus, there was a shooting in DC,” he said.

“What?”

“Yeah. At a baseball field. A Congressman was shot.”

“Oh my god.”

We huddled over his phone for a minute. I made sure the shooting hadn’t occurred near my family. Details, so early, were few, although surprising no one, the shooter appeared to have been male. Worrisomely, his choice of targets appeared not to have been random. His politics, to our rising despair, appeared to align largely with our own. Like us, he despised what those gathered round the baseball field did to the people they swore to serve. Like us, he hated that they benefitted from the select misfortune of others–as long as the others in question weren’t potential voters, or anyone they respected (a short list, it is true).

Unlike us–unlike almost all of us–he’d decided to articulate his frustration with a gun.

Eventually, I went back to punching. We had no face nor even a name to attach to the shooter at the time, but the vague assurance of “probably not international terrorism” suggested he was probably a white male. Another white male, ruining things for the rest of us. Again.

As representative King pounced on the chance to claim a photo opportunity “praying” at the baseball field, though, even as he loudly proclaimed that “the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left,” no faces hovered over the dots on my targets. Not his, not yours, not the vague outline of this latest fracturing of humanity.

Because we are not you. Vengeance is not won with bullets. Or fists. Or slimy rhetoric mere hours after even a friend–a friend!–was shot.

I imagine that in your shrinking mental world, there are more targets than you could ever hope to hit, even with all the red buttons at your disposal. But do consider that if everyone who takes issue with you were as vindictive and violence-driven as this man was–as you are–and as Representative King says we are, everyone’s knuckles would be running red.

But they aren’t. Because the vast majority of “us” don’t try to solve problems by demanding blood.

Think on that, Mr. President, before you descend to wallow gleefully in the cesspool of blame that so entrances Representative King. Of the blood that stains knuckles in America, how much of it has spilled at your instigation?

And how much redder do you want us, before you bury us? We stand at the center of America, and it hasn’t disappeared. Yet. Despite your best efforts.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 145: Just Another Day In the Greatest Show On Earth, Mr. President. Ah the Spectacle. Sigh.

Day 145: Just Another Day In the Greatest Show On Earth, Mr. President. Ah the Spectacle. Sigh.

Photograph by Mary Watkin

Dear Mr. President,

The Greatest Show on Earth hasn’t closed its tent flaps, it’s just moved to 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue for a four-year run unless it gets closed down sooner by Bob Mueller and company.  Yes sir, step right up and focus your eyes on center stage and watch The Donald navigate the high-wire without a net.  Will he make it to the other side, or will he plummet as fast as his polls?

I’ll give you this Donny, you can still grab the ratings.  Some 19 million spectators tuned in to watch Comey’s testimony.  Heck, I sat in the seat of my sweltering pick-up truck in downtown Detroit listening on the radio all the way through John McCain’s “who’s on first” comedy routine.

And then, to top things off, we get treated to a spectacle right out of North Korea – you sitting like a grinning bobble-head while each of your sycophantic cabinet members say how wonderful it is to work with and for you.  As I listened I had to wonder what’s left to be done?  You let us know that “never has there been a president…with few exceptions (so modest)…who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than I have.”  Reince is “blessed to serve your agenda.” For Pence, serving as your majordomo is “the greatest privilege of his life.”  You “have America moving again,” you’ve dismembered financial regulation, and, according to Nikki Haley, “it’s a new day at the United Nations” with you in power.”  (I bet it is.)  And, it’s comforting to know that “we now have a strong voice.” Foreign powers know what we are for and against and “they see us in a new way across the board,” which is actually quite true, but I’m not sure in the way Nikki meant it.

Each day brings so many new lies, misrepresentations and petty tweets that one has to have wings to stay above the BS.  (To borrow a line from Apocalypse Now.)  Of course, lying is nothing new for you, so the nation’s establishment class barely took notice when Comey flat out called you a liar in open hearing.  It’s like building a tolerance for drugs or violence; we are just becoming inured to what we see and hear, so that it takes more and more to shock the conscious.  The lying spread like wildfire through your staff, from Spicer to Pence and even your hand-picked attorney general.

But remember Donny, it just takes one person to point out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes before everyone else suddenly snaps out of it and starts laughing. What will you do then Donny?  I get the impression that you can stand anything but that – public ridicule by a public stripping away of the Trump facade.  The rats will abandon ship then, Donny, and you really will be on your own except for the few that are so lashed to your person that they can’t avoid being driven to the bunker along with you for the final Gotterdamerung.  But, you haven’t grasped that possibility yet Donny; I think you may be incapable of envisioning such an ignominious end, which explains why you can’t pull back to normalcy.

I’d suggest you do something, but that’d be Quixotic on my part and foolish.  Instead I’ll say carry on Donny.  Go full bore for the Big Finale, because only then will we be assured of the fall we all lust for.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Pin It on Pinterest