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.

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