Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Letter from a right-wing nut job to legislators

Okay, here is a letter that the Glenn Beck fan club is apparently sending to their legislators. Note the highly persuasive use of facts, examples, and logic:

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when he will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Clean energy, now!

For posterity and comment, here is a letter I just sent to Rep. Norm Dicks:

As one of your loyal constituents, a wildlife enthusiast and an American concerned with the future of my country, I strongly urge you to defend, strengthen and pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) to safeguard our communities and our natural world for generations to come.

Clean energy is a win-win-win proposition: good for the economy, good for the environment (which is in desperate peril right now due to global warming) and good for national security by reducing our dependence on oil obtained from nations that might not have our best interests at heart.

This issue is probably the most important to me out of all the challenges facing America right now, and my votes all the way up and down the ticket will go to those candidates who strongly support clean energy in our communities and our nation. Sadly, that support is difficult to detect sometimes, but with your leadership, we can make clean energy a priority where it counts -- in our own backyards.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The handyman

It was last week, I think, when I attacked my backyard with my mower, and afterward, my weed-whacker. It was really hot out (when I was in Iraq, I vowed never ever to complain again about the heat in WA, but it was hot). Afterward, I decided to take a stab at the tall weeds behind the garage, but quickly gave up. They were just too tall and it would have taken too long.

Across the alley a little later, visiting a friend, I spied a man driving down the alley picking up aluminum cans to turn in for money. I went up to him and asked if he might know someone who'd be willing to take out all those weeds and grasses, and the ivy between the two garages. He took my phone number, and Sean called me the next day. We arranged a time for him to come over and estimate the job.

Sean was quite a bit older than I had expected. He had a slight frame, a scraggly appearance, and a few missing teeth that were visible every time he flashed his frequent, cheery smile. As we talked about the job and what I wanted done, it seemed he couldn't wait to get to work -- he was idly bending down and pulling up weeds and ivy as we spoke! Sean estimated 4 hours at most, $10 per hour. Wow. Preparing for the worst, I tried to mentally justify $40 for this job even as we agreed he would come by at 7:30 the next morning to do it. I told him I'd check on him after a couple hours and see how things were coming and whether I wanted to continue.

The next morning, I peeked out my window at 7:45 and could see his truck outside my back fence. I poured a glass of ice water and prepared to bring it out to him. As soon as I opened the back door, Sage began barking, loud and long. I thought it was just because of the truck, but when we reached the fence, I realized Sean had brought his dog, too! I hesitated a moment -- I had never met this dog, and what would happen if I opened the gate? But finally I decided to take the risk, and Sage and Tank met one another and went through their heirarchy rituals until Tank found a shady spot to lie down and Sage concentrated on her favorite bone.

I went out and told Sean there was a glass of ice water on the bed of his pickup truck. To my amazement, he was already almost done with the ivy, and the tall grass behind the garage was already mowed down! There was very little left for him to do, really... As we chatted, he mentioned his union job and how they kept telling him to hang on, there was work coming, but each day nothing, so he had to take odd jobs in the meantime just to make ends meet. He mentioned another job he had started, and was supposed to finish, but the husband decided to finish it himself. Sean seemed to maintain a very upbeat attitude in spite of all this; he was hopeful, cheerful, and respectful, calling me ma'am throughout his work here.

When he finally finished around 8:30, I went out to inspect his work. Everything was done to perfection -- nothing more and nothing less than what I had asked, even though my directions might have been a bit vague ("just clean this all up, get rid of this junk," etc.). It was perfect. And he had done it in a little over an hour. I paid him for an hour and a half.

Sean took his first drink of the ice water I'd brought him when he was all finished. He obviously relished it, and when he tried to hand the glass back to me half-full, I said, "No rush, finish it if you'd like!" He took another couple big swigs and was done. Tank was already in the truck, and Sean described the full day ahead of him, including applying for a production job at a Sumner bakery.

It took Sean a while to leave, though, because he had an interlock device on his ignition, and it took a while for it to warm up. I found that out while I was rolling up my extension cord. Now, I know that anybody with one of these devices is paying a pretty penny to keep it installed. Which made me admire and appreciate Sean all the more for showing up on time and knocking out this job in a quarter of the time he had originally estimated.

Going through my morning routine, I couldn't get him out of my mind. Finally, about noon, my brain woke up and I called his cell, to let him know he could put me down as a reference on any job application he might turn in. He wasn't going to the Sumner bakery that day, though -- his union had called and he was on a flagging job as we spoke.

Something made me sniffle a little as we hung up. Maybe it was the hope that Sean would finally find some permanent employment despite his former setbacks. Maybe it was a bit of shame, the Susan Boyle variety, for having sort of judged him as a rather lazy ne'er-do-well based on his appearance, when he turned out to be one of the most reliable, honest, and hardworking helpers I've ever hired. Maybe it was a measure of regret for not having paid him more. I mean, he could have followed my instructions to a T, but that would have meant removing a section of fence, since one section of ivy/blackberry bushes covers an area where there's no fence underneath. Removing that would have left my backyard vulnerable. And Sean was wise enough to alert me to this before just plowing ahead. I hadn't even known about this. I assumed my yard was fully fenced!

Some of my neighbors made fun of me for having someone else do this work instead of doing it myself. But I don't feel bad. Sean needed the work more than I needed the money. And in the process, I was privileged to meet somebody who truly maintains a positive outlook even when circumstances might dictate otherwise. Despite all the reasons Sean might have had to complain about one thing or another, he never did. Not one word of complaint ever escaped his lips in my presence. I wonder if I can live up to his example.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thoughts for a graduate

© Make up your own mind. Everybody sees the world through his or her own lens, and none is 20/20. Value others’ opinions, and even seek them out, but ultimately stay true to what YOU know.
© You can’t take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself. Do something every day just for your own well-being, and consider it your most important task of the day. This is one more way to serve your fellow man, by maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional health.
© Cherish your passions – they are the bubbles in the champagne of your life, and may provide clues to its purpose.
© It is easy to be friends with people who are popular and “cool.” It is hard to be a friend to those who need it most. But, which would you rather be remembered for?
© Vote in every election. It is not only every citizen’s duty, but also a priceless privilege that better men and women than you and me have fought and died for.
© Learn to laugh at yourself. Remember, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”
© The earth was God’s first gift to us, and one of His first commands was to take care of it. Do your part every day to make the planet a little better place to live. It’ll make you feel good inside, I promise.
© Befriend an animal. Even if you cannot be an animal guardian yourself at certain stages of life, there are always neighbors who need a dog walked once in a while. Animals possess a special wisdom, and you will learn much from them.
© No matter how successful, benevolent, or wise you may become, you will always have your critics. Even Jesus had them. Embrace whatever truths they may reveal to you, and let the rest fall by the wayside. If Jesus couldn’t please everybody, neither can you.
© Hold fast to your hopes and dreams, and know that cynicism is a cancer of the soul. It will blunt your awareness and cut you off from life’s joy and beauty. Don’t let it take root.
© Potatoes were once considered poisonous. What people, places, or things have you deemed toxic? Make it a point to go on an inner “potato hunt” periodically, and update your assessments, or you may miss out on some enriching experiences and relationships.
© Nourish your body with good, clean food; your mind with good, clean pursuits; and most of all your soul with love – because ultimately your body and mind will grow feeble, but your love can stay strong forever.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tiller's killer, and -- empathy?

Dr. Tiller's murder was a cold-blooded act motivated by nothing other than self-righteous hatred, and deserves full prosecution as such under the law. I hope his killer serves every minute of the hard time he's got coming to him.

Having said that, though, I feel a note of empathy needs to be inserted here amidst all the righteous outrage. Yes, empathy, our (or rather "their") favorite new dirty word. Because we'll never overcome that type of blind bloodlust unless we can begin to understand what motivates them.

I know a couple of passionate anti-abortion crusaders. They're my own folks. We've had many an animated discussion of the subject. So I know what kind of brick wall we're up against here.

Plain and simple, Dr. Tiller was, to them, a mass murderer bent on destroying innocent babies. Never mind the mother's rights, such as they may or may not exist -- the important thing was the babies' rights, and if the mother wouldn't defend them, then it was up to somebody. Murdering Tiller is, in their view, as noble an act as taking down someone who is about to start spraying shotgun fire into a packed stadium crowd.

I'm pretty certain my folks don't condone Dr. Tiller's murder. But I'm not so certain they don't condemn it, either, and I believe I understand why.