Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 271- #MeToo, Mr. President

Mr. President,

Yesterday, a social media campaign went viral. On Twitter and on Facebook, women revealed with a simple “Me Too” that they had experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment.
This campaign shouldn’t have had to happen. After all, #EverydaySexism already made this perfectly clear in 2012. And #YesAllWomen went viral in 2014. It should be clear by now to every single person in our country that sexual harassment and sexual assault are simply part of the fiber of our social culture: things that, if you are a woman, are not about if, but about when. And yet, this morning, men I respect and whose opinions I value greatly were shocked and saddened at the sheer volume of #MeToo that had appeared in their feeds. It seems that, no matter how many times this topic goes viral, somehow it doesn’t sink in. Instead, women are forced to claim their own assaults again and again, and out themselves and vocalize their pain and humiliation, while the men continue to express disbelief.
I first witnessed this phenomenon at a book club years ago. As we women sat around a bonfire, wine in hand, our conversation moved from the book we’d read to our loss-of-virginity stories. A lone husband sat in the group, an “honorary girl” for the night. And as we shared our stories around the circle, it became painfully clear: 7 of the 8 of us women had lost our virginity in a situation that was clearly sexual assault. Only 1 woman had a lovely and loving story to tell, a John Hughes movie kind of story in soft-focus lighting. For the rest of us, our stories did not involve consent. This is the universal narrative of how the women of Generation X lost their virginity. Rape was our rite of passage. And the lone husband felt ill, realizing what had been taken from all of us…all of us strong, independent, self-supporting, Feminist, highly educated and highly successful women. All of us, sir.
And Mr. President, #MeToo doesn’t end there.
Read more of this post at Letters2Trump.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Day 240 - A Golden Opportunity Awaits, Mr. President!

Dear Mr. President,
I am so excited for you! An amazing opportunity has fallen into your lap. Finally, you have the chance to put your name in your favorite all-caps font, gilded and glorious, on nearly 20% of the GDP in our country. No, I’m not talking about putting your name on a wall. That’s thinking small and I’m thinking Huge! I’m aiming so much higher for you. I’m talking about your chance to put your name on our health care system. This week, Bernie Sanders unveiled his plan for Medicare for All. A single-payer health care plan, Berniecare would systematically lower the age of enrollment in Medicare over the next few years until every single citizen in our country has free health care. Obviously, Berniecare, as a system, is unpalatable. It reeks of mildewy sweaters and socialism. But Trumpcare? TRUMPcare? That is a glorious word, full of majestic intonation and caps-lock bravado. And you could do this! You could make this happen! Just like Obama took Romneycare and made it his very own, you could take Berniecare to the masses, paint it gold, and live in notorious infamy, going down in history not as the worst president of all time, but as the one who single-handedly saved millions of lives. 
Read the rest of this post at Letters2Trump.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 208 - Mr. President, You have Blood on your Hands

Dear Mr. President,
Because of you, racists are alive and well in our country, Mr. President. They are crawling out of the woodwork, and they are looking at you as their leader in chief. You did this. You used a common phrase from Hitler for your own campaign slogan. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. You incited violence on multiple occasions. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. You repeatedly attacked President Obama’s citizenship. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. You failed to distance yourself from the KKK and David Duke and your attempts to later “disavow” were weak at best. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. Even now, David Duke promises to fulfill your campaign promises. And the White Supremacists? They are ready. You have mastered whataboutism, the common Soviet propaganda move, and the White Supremacists have studied your rhetorical moves and have mastered them, better than you ever will.
They have been emboldened by your words, your behavior, and your inability to call evil by its name:
They are Racists.
They are Bigots.
They are Terrorists.
Because of you, 3 people are dead and 19 are wounded. Because of you, a community has been terrorized. One woman, at a rally counter-protesting the White Supremacists: dead because of you. Two police officers, sworn to protect our citizens and and finally rushing in after so many were injured and bleeding: dead because of you.
Read the rest of this post at: Letters2Trump.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day 174 – A Piece of Legislation We Could All Get Behind, Mr. President. The Think Before You Act…Act.

Dear Mr. President,
You and your spokespersons have insisted that you have signed more bills during your time as president than any other president in American history. And, in a bizarre twist, Politifact has rated this claim as mostly true. You have, in fact, shown a very keen desire to sign your name as often as possible. However, it turns out that only one of these new laws has actually created a new policy. The majority of the rest of your signatures have been on laws that “have been passed through the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to roll back regulations imposed by the executive branch, and are aimed at dismantling former President Barack Obama’s legislative legacy.” This really isn’t groundbreaking legislation after all.
And so, I have a proposition for you: I propose that you craft a piece of legislation that not only would be groundbreaking and legacy-creating, but that would actually make America greater.
Read the rest of this post at Letters2Trump.

Monday, July 10, 2017

To the man who felt it necessary to question my son in the bathroom at IHOP

Dear Sir:




I don’t know why you felt the need to tell my eight-year-old son that he was in the wrong bathroom at IHOP. I’m not sure why you felt that his presence was a problem. What was your intention? If you truly felt that he was a girl, and that you were somehow going to protect him by questioning his gender, wouldn’t it have been even more effective to simply just make sure that he was okay? Why were you so concerned about his gender? Shouldn’t you just have finished your business, washed your hands, and gone back to your pancakes? After all, that’s what my son was planning to do. Instead, you told him he was in the wrong restroom. And when he told you he was a boy, you informed him that he didn’t look like a boy. And then you took it one step further: you told him he should cut his hair.


My son came back to the table, explaining that some man just told him he was in the wrong bathroom, that he looked like a girl, and that he should cut his hair. I asked my son how he responded to you. He explained that he just told you that he was a boy, but that he wished he could have told you that you were rude. I wanted to give my son permission to tell you that you were rude. In fact, I flippantly told him that he should have said exactly that. But, I have raised my kids to understand that telling something they are rude is, in fact, a bit rude. My son said, “nah. That would have been awkward.” And so my son let it slide. But he was definitely shaken by your rudeness.


What right do you have to tell an eight-year-old child what he should and shouldn’t do with his hair? I have raised my son and my daughter to understand that their bodies = their property, and that no one else has the right to touch their bodies without their permission. And this goes for their hair as well as any other parts. They have autonomy over their own bodies, sir, and you have no right to tell them or anyone else what to do with --or to-- their bodies.

My son likes his hair. He knows that people, at first glance, think he's a girl. And he's okay with that. "I'm a boy," he says, and usually they say, "oh, sorry man! Great hair!" and then he goes on with his life. He's comfortable in his own skin, and he's comfortable with who he is. But he's not comfortable with a stranger telling him what he should or should not do with his body. "It's my hair," he said. "Why does that man even care about it?"


I know that girls have had the same issue recently. Our policing of gender has escalated, because somehow we all believe it is our duty to put each and every person into a box convenient to our limited understanding. Or maybe our policing of gender norms has always been this opinionated, and it’s only recently that we’ve become obsessed with bathrooms.

It seems to me that what really needs to be done in the bathroom is related much more to hygiene than to gender policing. And what my son needed was the chance to pee, wash his hands, and then come back to the table to eat his pancakes. If you truly wanted to be helpful, sir, you could have simply said “hi” and just made sure he could reach the paper towels. If you felt that commenting on his appearance was somehow necessary, you could have said, “hey, kid, nice hair.” And, if you really felt it appropriate to give him some advice, saying, “you have a nice day,” would be totally in line. Just think: you wouldn’t have felt so self-righteous and you would have taught a young kid how to be a decent human being. Instead, you pulled rank on an eight-year-old kid and taught my son exactly what kind of a man he never wants to be.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Day 143 - It’s Time for Contemplation…and Soap, Mr. President.

Dear Mr. President,
You have had, truly, an embarrassing week. From your insensitive and inappropriate response to the London attack, to your feigned bill signing and childish binder tossing of Infrastructure Week, to your inane and incomprehensible responses to Comey’s testimony, you have shown again and again, that you are out of your league.
But today is Sunday, the first day of a whole new week. It’s a day of reflection and a day of looking forward. It’s a day to plan a fresh start. I’ve laid out the steps for you, and it’s fairly simple: only a two-step plan. I’ll call it Contemplation Week.

(Read the rest of this post at Letters2Trump.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Day 122 – Kiddo Letter: Try to Make a Difference.

A guest post by my daughter. 

Dear Mr. President,
I’m almost 11, and over the years I’ve noticed that girls are treated very differently than men. And, being a girl, I care very much about that. You may not care, because, you are a manYou don’t have to worry about earning less money than men, because you are a man. Before 1920, women weren’t allowed to vote, to own property, or work for equal pay. And, even if you were alive then, it wouldn’t matter. Because you are a man. None of this would affect you much.
But it affects the women around you.

(Read the rest of this post at Letters2Trump.)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Day 106 – Education – Medicaid = Mr. President, It’s Time for School.

Dear Mr. President,
Yesterday, a bad thing happened. The House republicans passed The American Healthcare Act, the bill designed to repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act. I know that you are not very interested in reading the bill in its entirety, just as you are not particularly interested in the millions of people this bill will hurt. You see no need to heed the advice and warnings of patient advocacy groups; nor are you interested in listening to the American Medical Association’s condemnation, the American Hospital Association’s condemnation, or the American People.
But I am a public school teacher. My job is to teach every person in the room, regardless of their apathy, enmity, or ability. My job is to individualize instruction for every student and make sure that they all have the resources they need and the hands-on learning they need to be able to truly master the content. (Just yesterday, in fact, I was concisely explaining exactly what The Civil War was all about.) So I am willing to sit with you, Mr. President, and patiently teach you at your individual learning level, so that you can understand what just one of the very serious problems is with this bill.

(Read the rest of this post at Letters2Trump.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Day 73 – Defunding Planned Parenthood Puts Your Voters At Risk -- And It’s Wrong.

Dear Mr. President,
I know that you have the ability to love women. After all, you’ve married several of them, you’ve fathered several of them, and you have said that your mother, above all women, made you the man that you are. Although you have bragged about your sexual prowess and sexual abuse of women, you have also insisted that no one respects women more than you do.
And, although you are made uncomfortable by truly brilliant and powerful women, you have a great deal of respect for your daughter, elevating her to one of the highest positions in the country, and you allow another woman to speak for you, for better or for worse, across the nation.
You have recently talked about empowering and promoting women, and removing barriers that women face. And yet, when it comes to women’s health, you are balancing on the fencepost of misogyny. Why else would you consider caving to people who value their dogmatic beliefs about abortion more than tangible lives of actual women needing healthcare? You, yourself, have said But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood.”

(Read the rest of this post at Letters2Trump.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day 39 – States’ Rights Do Not Trump Human Rights

Dear Mr. President,
You like to be right. You had a chance to be on the right side of history.
You like to build things. You had the chance to be on the foundational end of building a more inclusive and safer world for our children.
You consider yourself an enforcer, a powerful man. You could have enforced a basic human rights issue: that of the right to be able to pee.
You like to be compared to famous people. You could have been the Abraham Lincoln of the right for all students to safely urinate without needless obsession about their genitalia or birth certificates.
And yet, you caved. You backed down from your statements about bathroom laws, and you caved to the fetishization of trans people. “There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate,” you said. “There has been so little trouble.” And yet, you couched your beliefs about the need to “protect all people, even though it’s a tiny percentage of 1 percent” with the hopes that “most states would ‘make the right decisions.’” You caved to the fetishization of “States’ Rights” over “Human Rights,” knowing full well that states often willingly trample on human rights until they are forced to recognize human rights for all.
You caved to the right to discriminate.
(Read the rest of this post at Letters2Trump.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Complacent No More

We got complacent.

We were naive.



We thought that we had made a difference in all of our years of fighting and educating. We thought we were winning the battle. We knew that we were not yet post-racism, post-feminism, post-narcissism. We knew that we had a great deal of work left to do. But we thought we were making gains.

And then the election happened. In one horrible night, we watched in increasingly drunken and increasingly hysterical panic. What had happened to our country? What was happening to us? What in the hell were we going to do? How could we possibly survive? How could we raise our children in a country that was suddenly exploding with everything we abhorred?

You see, we had not won. We had only buried the hatred and racism and extremism and selfishness down into the bowels of our country. And the eventual eruption of all of that horror was caustic.





We have so much work to do.

We can no longer be complacent.

So, what can we do? What can I do?

I marched in Montreal with the Women's March. It was a start. Millions of people worldwide, on every continent, marched in solidarity. I was there. And I vow to continue to participate and make my voice heard.

The women's march now calls for 10 actions in 100 days. It is a start. I will participate.

Dailyaction.org challenges you to make one phone call a day to your representatives. It is a start. I can make one call a day. I will.

Letters2Trump posts a letter to the President every day. In this letter, the writer calls for action. The writer implores our President to think thoughtfully and critically and to do the right thing. It is a start.
Here is my letter.



We were complacent.

We cannot afford to be complacent any longer.


I will not be complacent.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 5 - The Point of Serving is to Serve

Dear Mr. President:
Because “I believe the children are our future,” as Whitney Houston once said, I asked my 8 year old son what he would tell you if he could write you a letter.
“Mom, we already did that, in school,” he said.
“Oh. Well, what did you say?” I asked.
“I told him to shut up.”
Once I managed to regain my mom voice, I said, “Fair enough, Sam. But, that’s not super helpful. We want to be helpful to Donald Trump, not insulting. So, think about how you could help him. If you had any advice for him what could you give him? If you wanted to tell him anything about his job what would you want to tell him?”

Read the rest of this post at www.Letters2Trump.com