A Letter to My Representatives

Dear Senator Pluto, and Representatives Mickey and Minnie—names withheld because most American politicians are an embarrassment.  I am writing today to express my concern about our politicians and share my opinion about healthcare.

Who am I?

I am a husband, father, and grandfather.  I worked in engineering for seven years, owned a small business, and am now a federal employee with almost 20 years of service.  I grew up on welfare until my mom, working two or more jobs at a time, managed to get us off of it—being on welfare used to be an embarrassing motivator.  I was the first in my family to graduate from college.  I have a bachelors degree, a masters degree, and thousands of hours of cyber security training.  I am a veteran who loves his country.  I am an Expat.  Although I am a registered Republican, I am fiscally conservative and lean left on many social issues—which means that I vote my conscience, not my party.

I mention who I am so that you understand a bit about my background and perhaps my perspective and biases.

What concerns me?

During the last election, I was unimpressed with both Presidential candidates.  Hillary, who I believe has issues with integrity, accountability, and poor decision making, was part of the Washington machine that conspires with the DNC and continues to advance an unsustainable agenda.  Trump, who obviously has issues with “alternative facts,” was a loud mouthed narcissist concerned primarily with himself.  Both candidates, along with the two previous administrations, have done more to divide our country than any President in history.

When President Obama was elected, I was optimistic about the future and eventually disappointed with the outcome.  President Obama did little to unite the country, sowing discontent where there should have been partnership.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) fell far short of what was promised—coverage for all Americans.  One may argue these points, but a simple look at the number of people who remain without healthcare coverage, the number of people who can’t afford coverage under ACA, and the relations between blacks and the rest of the country support my assertions.  His service as the first black President was historic, his performance in the role was mediocre.

Under President Trump we have a totally different President.  He tweets, bashing SNL, judges, and the media—which I can’t say is undeserved—and makes comments that are blatantly false.  He seems so focused on the things that don’t matter and so oblivious to our system of checks and balances that I wonder if he’s ever read even one word of the constitution.  He is a master manipulator, getting the media to keep him as the top story day after day, but he seems to have absolutely no grasp on facts—it is not possible to communicate complex ideas in 140 characters.  I reserve calling him a liar, because I think he believes what he is saying, which makes him ignorant and misleading—which is no better or worse than the “fake news” he talks about ad nauseam.

I am encouraged by several of President Trump’s appointees and cabinet picks.  I am optimistic the retired Generals he selected will serve our country in their current roles as well as they served in the military.  However, I can’t help wonder if their ability to succeed will be encumbered by the President’s seemingly rash decision-making and off-the-cuff remarks.  I watched with disappointment as Secretary John Kelly did his duty as a good soldier and took responsibility for the confusion with the travel ban, suspecting that it was actually the President who forced the issue.  President Trump’s style is going to mean his appointees will be spending far too much time taking responsibility for bad decisions than doing their jobs.

I struggle to put into words my thoughts about some of President Trump’s other selections.  Spicer can’t assemble more than two words without sounding like a dictator and Conway seems to spend so much time defending the President’s ill-conceived remarks, as well as some of her own, that I doubt she can ever be trusted to talk about facts versus fiction.  I am not hung up on DeVos, Sessions, or others—if we removed everyone from the three branches who was inexperienced, incompetent, or said something stupid, two people would be left to run the country.

I’m also concerned about the President’s priorities.  I question our need for additional military spending over and above an increase for inflation.  It is possible he knows something we don’t—perhaps Russia or China are considering invading?  But an additional $50 plus billion dollars seems excessive in light of his proposed budget cuts.

The most remarkable thing about the proposed budget cuts is how small the list seems.  Although I don’t agree with all of them—it would be nice to see the NEA continue, and PBS is about the only station that comes close to discussing facts rather than shaping the news—but most stink of riders inserted into past legislation to garner a key vote from a legislator in New Hampshire or some other state that wanted money for a bridge or something.  Seriously, does anyone thing the U.S. Institute of Peace is having an effect on conflict prevention?  The biggest question is where are the rest of the pork programs?

What concerns me about the healthcare issue?

I believe the ACA is an unsustainable mess produced out of the marriage of politics with special interest.  The Act does not cover all Americans and deductibles can make healthcare unaffordable—which means although it covers 20 million people (give or take), it doesn’t actually benefit 20 million people.  This is America—Americans deserve a healthcare system that covers everyone without making people choose between food and insurance, or forcing people into bankruptcy for an unexpected health condition.

I am disappointed that after eight years the Republican replacement for ACA appears to do more for corporate profitability than American healthcare.  After promising a system that costs less and covers everyone, Trump seems content to follow the Republican’s and their special interest dollars.  Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and many other countries have systems on which we can model.  Yet we are willing to base a system that effects every American on the Republican’s desire to placate special interest over the good of Americans—just like the Democrats did with ACA.

What would I like to see?

In short, I’d very much like to see Republicans and Democrats stop acting like elitists focused on re-election and start treating their constituents the way they might treat their family—in other words, demonstrate cooperation, show the benefits of compromise, end polarization, inspire people—lead like leaders.  I would like to see…

…A bi-partisan effort that sets aside special interests and corporate backers to provide affordable healthcare coverage to all Americans, that includes coverage for pre-existing conditions and low deductibles, and does not financially destroy someone just because they get sick.

…More Republicans with the courage to speak out against the President and his minions when they make factually inaccurate, misleading, and sometimes asinine statements.

…More Democrats with the courage to break party lines, work with Republicans to shape new legislation, support nominations and legislation that will have a positive impact on the country, and call out their Democrat peers for their ignorant statements and acts.

…Republicans not calling the previous election a mandate.  It was not a mandate to lie, screw up the country even more than the two previous administrations, and act like your uber-right wing ideas are embraced by the majority of Americans.  Most people have nuanced views about the issues of our time—they do not live on your political fringes.  Just because we have a two-party system in the US does not mean a vote for the party that you most agree with is a vote for everything on their agenda.

…Democrats recognize that, just like republicans, your far left ideals are not shared by the majority of Americans.  Most people live in the center.  They can be pro-gay marriage, but not support special rights for the ever growing alphabet of LGBTQRST “special” people.  They can believe in a universal healthcare system, but not support abortion.  Voting for Trump did not make one a bigot or a Nazi—it made them sick of a status quo that increasingly focuses on creating, promoting, and recognizing a growing butt load of “special” groups of people, rather than promoting and recognizing America and Americans for our already inherent diversity.  Just because we have a two-party system in the US does not mean a vote for the party that you most agree with is a vote for everything on their agenda.

Conclusion

That’s about as much as I have to share.  I don’t write letters like this very often…the last time was to Carter and I was eleven.  But I do vote in national and local elections, and I have lots of friends who feel as I do—and a couple who lost their minds because they either dislike President Trump or love him.

Thank you Senator Pluto, and Representatives Mickey and Minnie for taking the time to read this letter.  There is no need to respond, your form letter simply serves as a reminder of the gap between you and the people you serve.  Also, please don’t add me to an email distribution list.  I already get more than enough emails to keep me busy well into the night—besides, I’d just end up setting up an email rule to send them to trash.  It’s not you, it’s the volume.

Sincerely,

Rob

Ps. Two of the three representatives sent rather lengthy form-letter explanations via email.  In each case, they described the complexities of the issues and thanked me for my concerns—highlighting the rather wide gap between politicians and their constituents.  One of those who replied added me to an email distribution list, for which I set up a rule to send all email from their domain directly to the trash.  Politicians suck but at least they are consistent.


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