What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Letter #169... Dear Mr. President... The Absurdity!

Dear Mr. President,

I think it’s time to have a discussion about the “absurdity” of Americans and most particularly, parents when it comes to ‘protecting’ our children.

Yesterday there was yet another school shooting, this time at a middle school in Sparks, Nevada by a 12 year old boy that got a gun from his own home, a semi-automatic pistol that was apparently not “locked up”…

I find it absolutely ‘crazy’ that parents ‘claim’ they will do anything to protect their children from harm, except apparently, to lock up their guns. The lengths that our society is going to, to protect children is simply mind-boggling.
We claim to protect our kids... and yet...

Here are a few examples:  Just recently the Kentucky High School Athletic Assoc. directed its high schools to “not participate in organized post-game hand-shake lines/ceremonies,” due to too many fights. Sportsmanship be damned, we need to prevent our ‘kids’ from fighting by protecting them from an outstretched hand.

Kids on too many playgrounds are not allowed to play 'tag' anymore because it constitutes ‘physical contact’… another school in N.Y. just banned 'balls' at recess. Really? The answer? According to the district superintendent, “we want to make sure our children have fun but are also protected.” Protected from what… a ball? How much fun can recess be now? Our kids can’t go out and play by themselves anymore… they have to have ‘arranged play dates’… they can’t ride bikes without a helmet or roller blade without a helmet, kneepads, and elbow pads. They can’t skate board without all of the above gear, and most communities won’t let them skate on the sidewalks, but it’s illegal to skate board in the street because it’s not safe. Kids don’t play pick-up baseball or football games any more it’s all organized through the school or recreation centers. Most kids don’t walk to school any more, even if they live within walking distance, because parents are afraid that they might be snatched by some stranger, which by the way, rarely happens.

The point is, is that most parents go to great lengths to protect their children from all kinds of ‘perceived’ dangers, but they don’t have the common sense to lock up their guns. I just cannot wrap my mind around that mentality. We pass all kinds of school rules to protect kids from being… well, kids. We can even ‘protect’ them from learning sportsmanship, but we can’t seem to pass a single law that protects them from gun violence… it is absolutely criminal, and ABSURD!

I don’t give a tinkers damn how many ‘men’ shoot off their penis’, but I do care about the children in this country who are slaughtered by guns each and every day. Please bring this “absurdity” to the attention of the public because we seem to have lost all semblance of common sense when it comes to “really” protecting children.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers,
Your Gadfly Granny

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Letter #168... Dear Mr. President... It's Time to Fight for Our Kids

Dear Mr. President,

On Tuesday you said you plan to, “make the best case that I can,” for a military strike on Syria, and that “there are times where we have to make hard choices if we’re going to stand up for the things that we care about, and I believe that this is one of those times.”

Didn’t you make the best case you could for Congress to pass some common sense gun control laws? Or, was that just lip service for the parents, friends, family, and the country, just after the slaughter of ‘innocent children’ at Sandy Hook? How can you make a case to the world or even this Congress regarding military action in Syria when you can’t make a case for saving the lives of ‘innocent children’ slaughtered by weapons of mass destruction in this country?

We’re wringing our hands over 400 ‘innocent children’ killed by their own government in Syria, but we are doing absolutely nothing about the 2,848 children that are killed in America every year because of gun violence… that’s 8 ‘innocent children’ every single day, day in and day out.
Stop the bombing...It's time to protect our children

I find it offensively hypocritical of the U.S. to be ‘up in arms’ over the use of chemical weapons when you consider our history… the horrors of WWI led to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which banned the use of chemical weapons. The U.S. didn’t sign until 1975, long after dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam and Cambodia, with the ‘unintended consequence’ being the loss of thousands of lives, including our own U.S. Servicemen. It wasn’t until a 1997 that an international treaty banned the production, stockpiling and use of these weapons. Angola, North Korea, Egypt, South Sudan and Syria are still not signatories to the pact.

You condemn Assad’s “brazen use” of chemical weapons and the deaths of hundreds of children as a violation of international norms and said that failure to act would empower other “rogue nations, authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations” to develop and use weapons of mass destruction. Don’t you think that the U.S. is outside the “norm” when it comes to our obsessive use of ‘personal weapons’? Don’t you think that our failure to pass comprehensive background checks, limiting magazine capacities, and limits on the amount of ammunition one person can purchase, is outside the ‘norm’ and could embolden “stand your ground’ crackpots and right-wing gun enthusiasts, not to mention how it's already emboldened the NRA?

If we worked half as hard at passing laws that keep our streets safe, and our kids alive, as we do in trying to ‘police’ the world and trying to protect Syria's children, then we wouldn’t have 8 children a day and 2,848 children a year, slaughtered in this country.

Yes, these are hard times and you have hard choices to make, it’s time to stand with Americans who want an END to bombing, an END to boots on the ground, an END to more military interventions, and an END to any and all wars of any kind… It’s time to make our children what you care about most. It's time to end the violence against our children with weapons of mass destruction... ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Letter #167... Dear Mr. President... Time to Reignite the Dream

Dear Mr. President,

For the first time in my 67 years on this planet I’m afraid for this country, and I’m starting to be afraid of the people in this country. I’m afraid that the horrific upswing in blatant racism toward you, will take this country back to the early 60’s.

Yesterday my husband and I went to see Lee Daniels’ The Butler, it was an excellent film in every way, in fact, most of the people in the theater applauded at the end… it was that powerful.

With the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Kings “I Have a Dream” speech, I see his dream coming apart piece by piece, vote by vote, gun by gun, and law by law. When this country elected you I thought, ‘at last’ we would finally see the end of racism in America… that having an African American in the White House would unite us ‘at last’. But it seems that quite the opposite has happened, we are more divided, and more divisive than ever before in my memory. It seems that racism has only lain dormant during that time, and your election, instead of reigniting the dream, has brought the Confederacy back to life with all of it’s ugly symbolism using tea bags instead of white sheets and pointed hats.

I’m not alone in feeling this way, I read more and more people expressing utter dismay at the things we are witnessing…  Citizens United saying that corporations are people, median income a full 6% lower than its peak in 2007, literally hundreds of bills introduce that restrict a woman’s right to choose and mandate unreasonable intrusive reproductive screenings, Stand Your Ground laws that allow a person to shoot an unarmed teen, the Supreme Court striking down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and over 80 measures to restrict voting rights in 31 states, in 2013 alone. The reduction in early voting, the elimination of same-day voter registration, and the repeal of high school voter registration drives. Texas Republicans even pushed through a bill that would allow a concealed-carry gun permit to be used as voter identification but not a student ID. Now you have to prove that the laws are discriminatory rather than the state having to show they are not before implementing them. All of these things are outrageous and unacceptable.

I was heartened and surprised to see the ACA passed, but in the short time since and even before full implementation the Republicans have voted 40 times to overturn it in part or in whole. Why? I know you have asked this Congress to pass the Jobs Act on numerous occasions, but they have failed to pass a single piece of legislation regarding jobs, and all the while we see peoples income declining. Why? Just maybe if a Jobs Act had been passed then the three teenage boys would have had jobs instead of being so bored that shot and killed an innocent Australian man while he was jogging. Why? Where is the Dream that MLK talked about almost 50 years ago?

In a recent poll for the Pew Research Center, titled “King’s Dream Remains an Elusive Goal,” only 26% of African Americans said the situation for black people has improved and 21% said that things have gotten worse. Things are going backwards.
I don’t know what else you can do that you have not already tried. Your positivity in the face of immense adversity is laudable even if it goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

The big question is; how do we reignite Dr. King’s Dream? How did we let a minority of haters wield a bigger stick than the majority of people who want to move this country forward? How do we reverse this insidious trend to destroy this country just to see your Presidency fail, because that seems to be the GOP agenda?

We can all do it just like Dr. King did back in the 60’s… by speaking up, by calling people out when they lie or misrepresent the truth, or try to suppress and alter the facts. YOU, Mr. President must lead the way… you can no longer afford to let the radical right-wingers get away with maligning you with impunity, and threats of impeachment. Because every time you let them get away with it by not speaking up, it emboldens them to continue and signals to those listening that it may be the truth. We need all elected Democrats to push back against any and all falsehoods with swiftness and conviction. You, and other Democrats can take a lesson from Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear when he spoke about the ACA at a fundraising breakfast attended by both Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

Beshear said,"it's no fun" hoping and praying you don't get sick, or choosing whether to pay for food or medicine. He also said Kentucky is at or near the top of the charts on bad-health indicators, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer deaths, and preventable hospitalizations. He said all that affects everything from productivity and school attendance to health costs and the state's image.

"We've ranked that bad for a long, long time," he said. "The Affordable Care Act is our historic opportunity to address this weakness and to change the course of the future of the commonwealth. We're going to make insurance available for the very first time in our history to every single citizen of the commonwealth of Kentucky."

This is what all Democrats should be doing and saying because if we don’t start pushing back now, and pushing back unapologetically, then the 2014 elections will be another mid-term disaster. We can’t let that happen, you can’t let that happen. We need you to be the fearless leader we saw during your campaigns, you’ve got nothing to lose at this point and everything to gain… now LIGHT THAT FIRE!

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers,
Your Gadfly Granny

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Letter #166... Dear Mr. President... You Were Wrong!

Dear Mr. President,
I don’t often say this, but “you were wrong.” I must respectfully disagree with your remarks after the acquittal of G. Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. To say that “We are a nation of laws and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their son” is like saying you can “Stand Your Ground” if you’re white, and you can do it with a gun, but if you’re a black teenager using your fists, you are dead.
However, I’m going to give you the benefit of doubt, and will assume that the reason you did not make a more proactive statement of utter disgust is because you did not want to jeopardize either a civil lawsuit or a DOJ lawsuit against Zimmerman for a wrongful death or a federal hate crime.
Trayvon should haunt all of us until the "SYG" laws are abolished
With that said, I cannot imagine a world where we calmly accept a travesty of justice like the Zimmerman trial based on a flawed law that allows a person to chase an innocent person down the street, after being told by the police to stop, start a fight, then shoot and kill that person and claim it was self defense. The verdict makes me feel ashamed to be a woman, a mother, and an American.

I find it ironic that people are so afraid of “black men” and “black boys” in this country, and yet history and countless recent tragedies, prove that fear to be totally unfounded. NO assassinations or attempted assassinations of our Presidents were committed by a black man, it was NOT a black man that slaughtered 20 innocent babies and 6 teachers in Sandy Hook, OR shot Gabby Gifford in the head, OR gunned down people at a theater in Colorado killing 12 and injuring 60, OR detonated pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon killing 3 and injuring 264, OR blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City killing 168 and injuring 600. And it was NOT two black teenage boys that took semi-automatic weapons to Columbine H.S. to gun down schoolmates killing 12 students, 1 teacher and injuring 24 others. No, these were all “white” men. In reality we should be much more afraid of white men.
We are not a nation of laws when those laws do NOT protect us equally, treat us equally, try us equally or defend us equally.  We are not a free country when we are imprisoned by bigotry, fear and hate. And we cannot call ourselves Christians when we perpetuate that bigotry, fear and hate with laws like “Stand Your Ground.”
The murder of Trayvon Martin cannot be allowed to stand, because if it does, the message we are sending is that it’s open season on black youth in Florida… come one come all if you want to kill a black child, Florida is the state for you, bring your handguns, chase them down, shoot them and claim you were just “standing your ground.” A “bad law” cannot go unchallenged, and we cannot accept the verdict from a jury given instructions by the judge based solely on the “Stand Your Ground” Law.
We cannot rest until the “Stand Your Ground” laws are abolished in every state where they have been passed… Trayvon Martin deserves no less …
Most Respectfully,
Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Letter #165... Dear Mr. President... That Dog is a Democrat

Dear Mr. President,

A friend passed this along from his conservative daughter, and I thought it was interesting enough to reply to my friend that his daughter was indeed a lucky woman. Perhaps this is something Congress can agree on, even though each is seen from a different perspective.

It just hit me!

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants, 24/7/365. His meals are provided at no cost to him.

He visits the doctor once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs may arise. For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him.

He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep. If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.

He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep. He receives these accommodations absolutely free. He is living like a king, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.

All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.
I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head,

My dog is a Democrat!

My answer to this woman would be the following:

"I give you everything that's in me... unconditionally"
First, that dog gives you his unconditional love without you even needing to ask.

That dog discourages those who would invade your private domain, and that dog provides an early warning system so that you can either get your gun to protect your precious family, or call for for help.

That dog provides you with 100% loyalty and devotion (a lot more than most husbands), and is always home to greet you after a long or difficult day. That dog listens to every word you say without any preconceived ideas of his own, and without interrupting. That dog provides comfort when you are sad, and celebrates with wonderfully wacky antics and tail wagging when you are happy.

That dog will remain by your side in sickness and in health, no matter what (again, more than some husbands). And that dog would probably lay down his life for the person that provides his basic needs... food, housing, and healthcare... and love, and the fact that you provide a little extra gravy with those basic needs is to your credit, for which that dog is eternally grateful.  

And if by chance that dog happens to make a mess, perhaps it was because he was left alone too long and didn’t have a choice. On those rare occasions he feels ashamed, but he doesn’t judge you for leaving him too long, he doesn’t get angry, and he doesn’t complain, even if he’s punished. He tells you that he’s sorry with is sad eyes and his limp tale, and begs you for forgiveness.

While some people are not able to place a great deal of value on these wonderful attributes, some of us know they have infinite value, much more than any dollar amount you can attach. And did I mention that your dog would suffer and grieve terribly if he lost you due to an untimely death… and not because that dog was afraid he’d lose his meal ticket, his luxurious home, or even his own health… but simply because he loves you, more than he loves himself.

And lastly, you should count the lucky stars that you’re seeing after being hit in the head by that brick because…

‘That wonderful Dog is a Democrat, and he’ll be right by your side until you regain your senses.’

So Mr. President, give Beau a big hug  and a kiss, because I know he’s a Democrat too.

Most respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

Friday, February 8, 2013

Letter #164... Dear Mr. President...Committed to FIX not fight...

Dear Mr. President,

It’s been a while since my last letter, I asked that you do something about gun violence and other pressing problems facing this country, and you did, but you can’t do all of it alone… you need cooperation from members of Congress and Senators.

The "First Forty" Problem Solvers
So I have a favor to ask of you. Somewhere in your State of the Union address on February 12th, I’d like you to publicly acknowledge the 40 lawmakers that have pledged to find bipartisan fixes to our nations problems. You will be able to recognize them by the orange buttons they will be wearing under their congressional lapel pins, identifying themselves as “Problem Solvers”… displaying their pledge… “Committed to fix not fight.”

The 23 Democrats and 17 Republicans want everyone to know that they have signed a pledge to try to end hyper-partisanship and reach across the aisle to solve the myriad of problems facing the people and the country. These men and women know that the only way to solve these problems is through cooperation. We can no longer afford to waste time and energy by clinging to separate ideologies that pander to the radical fringe on either end of the political spectrum.

Today, on Facebook, I posted a list of the 40 “Problem Solvers” and asked my friends that if their representative was not on the list, they should ask them why. Ask them why they are not willing to work to solve, this nations problems. Ask them why they are not committed to fixing things. I think those are fair questions, and I think you should be asking those questions during your State of the Union speech.

I’m proud to say that my new Congressman, Dr. Ami Bera, is part of this historic group. We worked very hard to get him elected replacing obstructionist Republican, Dan Lungren, and Dr. Bera promised that he would work just as hard to get things done. We are all sick and tired of political gridlock… we need to move this country forward. This ‘fabulous forty’ group of ‘problem solvers’ also scored a victory when Congress passed, and you signed the “No Budget No Pay Act. Great start… maybe it will inspire others to sign up to be problem solvers as well.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he would proudly wear his Problem Solvers lapel pin. “It says that we are willing to sit down and put the good of the country and the good of the people ahead of the good of our party, our party affiliation or our political well-being. We were sent here to do a job, and it wasn’t just to make sure that we stay here.”

I look forward to hearing your speech on the 12th, and I will be enjoying it while visiting the beautiful island of Maui…

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers,
Your Gadfly Granny

Monday, January 7, 2013

Letter #163... Dear Mr. President... The Whole World is Watching

Dear Mr. President,

The whole world will be watching… they will be watching to see what you do about common sense gun control, they will be watching to see what you do when the NRA tries to say you’re trying to circumvent the 2nd amendment, and they will be watching to see if you have the real strength of leadership to buck the GOP.

Purpose of Assault Weapons... to KILL people
People say everything happens for a reason, but I don’t believe that… some things defy reason, and are beyond reason, like the senseless slaughter of 20 innocent babies and 6 innocent adults. Like the shooting in the head of an innocent girl in Afghanistan for wanting an education for herself and other girls, and like the brutal rape of a young woman in India… yes, Mr. President, some things are beyond reason.

Reason is something you can calculate, something that is justified, like you are our President because more people voted for you than Mitt Romney… that’s the reason. Or, more people are murdered in this country because we have more guns than any other country… that’s the reason.

It’s not because our people are angrier, or more evil than people in other countries, because that’s just not the case, we are a caring, loving, compassionate people (for the most part), we give more aid after disasters anywhere in the world, than any other country, and when disaster strikes here at home, people come out of the woodwork to help and pull together. Even people with very little money of their own, often donate what they can, when people are hurt or suffering.

So the problem in this country is not the people, it’s the guns. There is no “reason” or justification for ordinary citizens to own assault weapons, the only “reason” for a person to have an assault weapon is to KILL people. The only “reason” for a person to possess clips that carry multiple rounds, is to KILL multiple people at the same time, and there is NO “reason” or justification for this unless you are in the military and under attack.

Mr. President, the whole world will be watching.
I’ve heard many critics that say you are just another “corporate” politician, that you are just as beholden to the interests of big business and Wall Street as any other politician, but I refuse to believe that. I refuse to believe that you are unwilling, or unable to stand up to the NRA and the manufacturers of assault weapons used for non-military reasons. I refuse to believe that because I saw the look on your face, the tears in your eyes, and heard the catch in your voice when you responded to the horrific slaughter of those babies at Sandy Hook.

The whole world will be watching, and waiting to see what kind of a leader you really are, and they will be judging you by how you handle this issue above all others. I implore you to be the kind of a leader we need… one that puts the lives of OUR CHILDREN above the “bogus” hue and cry over the infringement rights of the 2nd Amendment. 

The time has come… our “children” are our “reason” to act now.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers, 
Your Gadfly Granny