Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An open letter to my friends in the aftermath of the 2016 election

My friends,

I have mostly refrained from posting political statements, as I have not wanted to contribute to the noise. But I'm no longer able to hold my tongue.

I am sick in my soul. I feel as if I've drunk a brimming beaker of hemlock. I am certain that what happened last night will prove a national tragedy. In a great seizure of national delusion, the American people chose to send Donald J. Trump to the highest office in land -- a man who freely advocates violence; who insults the disabled, ethnic minorities, and prisoners of war; who openly brags about sexually assaulting women; who has publicly called for the assassination of his opponents; who has lauded America's enemies and invited their attack. This is a man who has never served the public; who has never held any public office; who has likely defrauded thousands; who has never shown any interest whatsoever in helping anyone other than himself; who has spent his entire professional life attempting to seize wealth and garner attention for himself while screwing pretty much everybody else.

This may be the worst decision America has made in its 240-year history, certainly the worst since Andrew Jackson was elected in 1828. It's no joke. Such a thing demeans us all.

Let's be clear, the US president is not a king (at least not yet), and thankfully the Constitution has "checks and balances" in place to restrict the power of such a man as this. And yet, if there's one thing we learned during the dark years of 2000-2008, it's that the executive branch is capable of inflicting tremendous harm on the country and the world. To what extent this raging egomaniac will be allowed to impose his cracker/crackpot ideas on the rest of us remains to be seen.

To my international friends, I apologize. I am embarrassed by my country and ashamed of my fellow citizens. I can't believe enough of them were duped into electing this reckless conman to the presidency. Apparently PT Barnum was right, it would seem a sucker would have to born every minute to reach such a critical mass of suckers. Please understand that I do not support this man, I did not vote for him. Everything he is, says, and does, is absolutely contrary to what I believe in and what I hope I stand for.

To my US friends I have this to say: This is not a football game. It's not about whose team wins. The problems which confront us as a nation are complex and massive. The solutions will not be simple and myriad perspectives will be required. We can disagree on matters of public policy and still respect each other. But I'm afraid I must tell you that if you voted for this man, I can no longer be a friend to you. I will continue to hold you in my heart but as far as I can tell you have hitched your cart to the negative forces which are destroying this country and the world.

To those who have actively and earnestly attempted to prevent what happened last night, thank you. Justice will not be given to us, we must take it. And we will. God help us all.

-PL

Friday, June 17, 2016

Enough is Enough

Here is my letter to all candidates for public office and elected officials...

Dear [fill in candidate's name]:

It's time to stop pretending that nothing is wrong. We have a very serious problem in this country and that is the preponderance of military-grade weaponry among the private citizenry. It's absurd to pretend that such lethal weapons in the hands of civilians does not endanger the public. The facts are the facts.

There is absolutely no rational argument that can be made for allowing private citizens to possess military-grade weapons. But the weapons manufacturers and their lobbying group, the NRA, have somehow managed to convince much of the public that this is not the case. This is an unfortunate situation but it is not insurmountable.

Admittedly the Second Amendment to the US Constitution is problematic, as are the many state constitutions which impede the regulation of private weapons ownership. But let's be realistic: the Bill of Rights (including the Second Amendment) was adopted in 1791 – a time when people were still using flintlock muskets. There is no way the authors of the Constitution could possibly have foreseen the ready availability and tremendous lethality of weapons available today. The laws of today must reflect the reality of today.

No person in their right mind could honestly argue that the laws of this nation should guarantee private citizens the right to possess any weapon of their choosing, or that the producers and traders of military-grade weapons should be allowed to carry on their trade without restriction. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. Any attempt to make such an argument is either disingenuous or badly misinformed.

The time to act is now. Congress must stand up to the NRA. The nation's leaders must begin to speak the truth about the proliferation of these weapons – even though this is not what many people want to hear. Yes, some people will be upset. Yes, people are going to have to live with the fact that they will not have the right to possess any weapon they desire. Unfortunately they are going to have to accept this. There is no other way. Any other approach is simply too dangerous.

We have a choice. We can either change the gun laws in the United States or we can watch the country be destroyed by the unchecked proliferation of weapons. There is no third option. The recent tragedy in Orlando has created an opportunity to change this situation. Now it is time to act.

I hereby pledge that I will never again vote for any candidate who does not publicly support a complete and total assault weapons ban. I would like to know if you are publicly committed to this goal. If not, I will be unable to vote for you. I'm sorry but I have no other choice or recourse at this time.

I wish you strength and cunning in the effort to amend the nation's gun laws.