Weekly Letter to the President
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ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
February 2, 2018
Mr. President: If a headline for the State Of the Union (SOTU) address was expected
to be: "A Truculent Trump Traduces Democrats", it now could be "Trump Triumphs --
Credits American People for Year of Successes." The speech was a litany of success
stories, economic and military illustrated by tales of valor, grit, hard work, forbearance
in the face of tragedy, the actual individuals involved all present, and, when
mentioned, asked to stand to be applauded. It was enormously upbeat with one sour
note -- the Democrats looking surly, determined not to applaud ... not even the
universalities of Congress, certainly not the tax bill on which they caved. If truth be
told, both sides have the same pay masters. The speech itself a magician's illusion, a
glass not half empty or half full, but appearing full yet without content when turned
The Democrats' response talked of chaos, and the negatives they could muster
without seeming to realize that if Trump had credited the American people for the year
and its successes, the Democratic response was indirectly blaming the same people
for the failures. It fell flat. Attention focused on the white drool collecting on both
corners of the speaker's mouth, morphing Joe Kennedy III into a
frothing-at-the-mouth, angry young man vandalizing the beautiful portrait painted by
the American people and displayed by the President.
Does this mean Mr. Trump has been a good president? No, of course not. He is
temperamentally unsuited to the job. In one year, the Union of Concerned Scientists
have moved their doomsday clock twice: each time a half minute closer to midnight.
It is now at two minutes to, the closest to doom since 1953. They cite increased
danger from nuclear weapons, that is proliferation, increased expenditures, improved
accuracy and thus greater usability of tactical nuclear weapons, the absence of arms
control talks and a general instability. To that they add the calculated failure to
combat climate change, a charge clearly leveled at the Trump administration.
Mr. Trump has also been lucky. The world is in a synchronous economic boom, for
the first time since 2010. He is adding to it with a regressive unfunded tax-package
contributing to the stock market's record highs. For the tax cuts, the bill will come
later -- perhaps on the backs of the same middle class whose paychecks will have
more take-home money from February as the president proudly pointed out.
Some congressional representatives touted left-leaning credentials by announcing
their decision to boycott the SOTU address. It achieved little, and might be
considered a slight to the office of president.
If truth be told, most of our elected representatives are no longer responsive to the
needs of the ordinary voter. Election victories correlate with political ads on TV, and
these cost money. Fundraising is the name of the game, a time-consuming, lucrative
activity that also makes politicians beholden to major donors. It is a fact Donald
Trump was able to exploit by declaring he was not bought as he was using his own
money -- and it struck a chord with many voters. Of course, his tax bill will allow him to
keep more of it, perhaps even more than he spent in the election.
Not a bad deal. But then did he not claim to have written 'The Art of the Deal', a
runaway best seller?