If I had a deficit in my bank account of $500.00 on the first of the month, and my rent and bills came due totaling $2,000 with no other current options for income, and this is the way it was every month, wouldn’t I be poor? Of course I would be. If I kept borrowing money from family member after family member and never paid them back, what would you say about me then? I think we all know. If I kept telling everyone, “Don’t worry, I’ll pay you back when everything gets better,” but things never got better, people simply wouldn’t believe me any more. Let’s add to this the fact that I have a spouse and small children. They have little food, no phone, no health insurance, no car, let alone car insurance, but I continue to pay $800 every month for an alarm system to protect the little we have left. What would you say about my priorities? I’m sure I would appear to be living in a dream world of idealism and hope with few options for reasonable resolutions to my issues. The only problem is that I don’t see it that way. What can I do then?
Tell the truth. That’s the only option for improvement. I have to sit down with those I love and tell them the truth of the situation. I have to say, “I am in poverty right now and I don’t know what to do. I can’t take care of my family. I think I am completely out of options.” Only then can I figure out what to do. There are always other possibilities for resolution, but they will never appear until we tell the truth.
This is what is happening in America today. We have a deficit that is inordinately larger than our income can handle. Our citizens are in pain and dying because of our inability to care for them. Our country is printing empty money to offset out debts. Legislators are using our national poverty as a hostage to satisfy their personal agendas. The worst part is every single one of them is pointing at someone else as a cause for the problem instead of asking him- or herself, “What can I constructively do to fix this, and with whom?”
Have you ever seen ferral dogs fighting over a small morsel of food? That’s what I see when I watch the legislature act these days. It’s embarrassing to me as a voting American citizen to watch a gaggle of ineffective people strut and caw like a bunch of vultures making tens of thousands of dollars a year talk about what we, without food, electricity, and health care, need. I write to my congresspeople. I write to the president. I write my blogs. It just gets worse. Instead, they hold poor and middle class people hostage for the benefit of the wealthy, claiming income and estate taxes should be handled equitably? Really, ladies and gentlemen? Since when did equity have anything to do with our governmental process or life in the United States of America? We have never seen one day in the over two centuries of our history in which either full equality or equity existed in our history.
So, what’s next? Our president, with ranking members of both parties in both houses of Congress, senior cabinet members, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court must stand before our country and say the following in one voice:
“My fellow citizens of the United States, this message comes too late and after too much damage has been done to our once great country. We have finally recognized that our greed and selfish choices have injured our citizens. We have spent so much time focusing on our personal needs and desires in government that we have forgotten our primary focus and ultimately, our employers – you. Americans on Main Street are the most important considerations we must have. As with the microcosm of our families, if we take care of those we love with responsibility and accountability, act as good neighbors with those around us, and speak directly to any injustice with one voice, we will find our way out of any challenge. If we move with transparency and wise authority, we as a national community will find our way through the muck and mire that has slogged us down in our path toward greatness.
“Today, the bald eagle has feathers missing. Today, Lady Liberty is slouching in shame. Today, we are not great. The one strength we have as a nation is that we understand what hard work means. We understand that we can make a delicious soup out of potatoes. We are not afraid to face our demons. Beginning today, that’s what we have done. We, the leaders of these United States of America have signed a binding, bipartisan pact together to move toward the national ideal of trust, communication, ethics, integrity, and strength. We can only do this with your help…”
From there, the new process begins. From there, the dialogue will include everyone who needs to participate. From there, true hope begins. From there, we rebuild our country. From there, our great eagle soars once again.
Dear President Obama,
As we evaluate what happened in Maine as marriage equality, via Question 1, went down with a similar margin as is did in California with Proposition 8, a vivid memory from over thirty years ago comes to mind, in the way a locust comes to a field of corn.
When I was a young father, I used to smoke around my children and in the house. I smoked in the car and at work. I smoked everywhere.
As my children grew, I would lecture them on the dangers of smoking, even as I went to the hospital for asthma and two strokes in my forties from smoking. I did begin smoking in a different room than the one in which my children were playing. I did all these “better” things, but I never quit. I never took action to model a “best” behavior for them.
I believe that this is what you have done to the gay and lesbian community. You’ve talked a lot about your support of the LGBTQ community. You’ve signed ENDA and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. You’ve done all this, but you have not repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and you have not repealed the Defense of Marriage Act. I remember mentioning that we would see how you’d done by this time in my commentary of May 2009, “DOMA, DADT, and the President of the United States.”
You have given tacet approval to everyone in the United States to stand by their arrogant bigotry by not taking action. Maine’s response to Question 1 raises our questions about your commitment to the tasks at hand, especially considering that on your White House contact website, there isn’t even a category for civil rights. Our issues are relegated to the cruel word, “Other.” It makes me believe that some of us American citizens are seen as “those people.”
For the record, every single one of my children ended up smoking. Although they are now in their 30’s and 40’s for the most part, and making their own choices, they initially learned from me that smoking was o.k. I am saddened every day by that fact as they end up in the hospital with asthma and bronchitis. I am saddened that they may develop emphysema or lung cancer and die the way their great-grandparents did, and as I, it appears, shall do as well. I am saddened that their children, of which there are nine between them, will learn the same lessons from my children as mine did from me. The impact of my smoking has become generational.
Are you going to allow the impact of your inaction toward the necessary civil rights issues before you to become generational, as well?
With my husband, David, we signed our Domestic Partnership documents in August 2005. In August 2006, we were married in a religious ceremony, and in doing so, we became husbands to one another. You, Mr. President, however, have no record of that marriage. Neither does anyone else, except in the hearts of those in attendance. Is that the life you would want with Mrs. Obama?
Next time you have a cigarette, (and because I, too, continue to struggle with my nicotine addiction, I know there will be another cigarette, Mr. President), each time you take a drag, think about the gay community. Each cigarette represents another gay person who is being discriminated against. Each puff represents one more day that American citizens are being kept from equality. Every butt you throw away is the dream of a gay couple whose hope for their 50th wedding anniversary that has been dashed.
So, I raise my filled ashtray to you, President Obama, in hopes that you will both stop smoking and make the changes to our laws that will provide equality to all people in America.
James S. Ch. Glica-Hernandez
Sent Wednesday, November 4, 2009 9:15 PM PST
President Barack Obama was elected by a mandate by the people of the United States of America in November 2008. Clearly, people were ready for the changes Obama assessed the country needed. Now, we’re complaining.
I had a family member once upon a time that, no matter what happened, she would complain. If she were to receive a million dollars, she would complain about the taxes. If she were to wake up one morning thirty pounds lighter, she would complain that she had nothing to wear. We have become a country of that same person.
Change is painful. Change is scary. Change, for America and Americans, is necessary.
When will we get it through our short-sighted, fear-riddled brains that what we’ve been doing for the last several decades is not working and we must fix it. The economy is in the gutter, our health care is suffering because of the insurance companies’ insistence on higher and higher premuims nearly no one can afford, and our culture is becoming more violent and full of crime. What will it take for us to dig in, in the way our forefathers and foremothers did to elevate themselves out of the Great Depression? Where is our work ethic? Where is our warrior spirit?
There is no dirt under the fingernails of those who are doing the complaining because they want everything handed to them without doing the work. Is that who we’ve become? That is not the energy that built our country in the first place.
It’s time for us to understand that nothing in the world is going to change the fact that we have to rework our economy, our health care system, our criminal justice system, our sense of unified culture, and our access to the entire American dream, no matter what labels others give us, if we want the changes we voted for a mere ten months ago.
Already, we’ve seen our place of respect in the world rise to levels we haven’t seen in at least nine years. We’ve seen white collar criminals going to jail for duping the American public. We have been exposed to truths about which we had suspected for many years about our government. These are all good things. These are the events that will transport us farther toward our goal for an open government, a new vision, and unified action.
Oakland Raiders fans have the right idea. No matter what their team is doing, they stand behind the organization. They disagree. They get angry. They hope for better. Ultimately, however, they remain part of the Raider Nation. When a new leader comes aboard, they always have hope for a brighter future. Perhaps, as Americans, we should stand behind our Red, White, and Blue, the same way Raider fans stand behind their Silver and Black.
Take a deep breath, America, hike up your collective skirts, and get ready for the long road ahead of us in correcting the errors of our past. President Barack Obama can, and will, get us there. I know it. The challenge is that he cannot do it alone.
He will require our help. We must raise our voices in support and unity. We must challenge what we think is wrong in a dignified and respectful way. We must never let our drama overshadow our need to change.
Change is not coming. Change is here.
Since 1959, the year I was born, as Dwight D. Eisenhower was serving his second term as President of the United States, the one thing I’ve noticed in politics is that each new president promises change in one way or another. As the four to eight years of their presidencies progress, there is one thing that remains consistent: the basic parts of running the government and our desire to remain the same continues unfettered.
There are those who support the president. There are those who disagree with the president. There are those who fight to support the president’s policies and there are those who fight to end the president’s tenure before its time.
The grassroots support that elected the candidate in question usually stay fairly strong. The crazies take shots at the president, sometimes literally in the cases of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
As we debate health care in America, President Obama’s desire to speak before the students in the United States, as well as his speeches on foreign soil, it’s become clear that the change Mr. Obama has promised will be hard won. The sweeping adjustments to our way of life that were the dreams of which his candidacy were made, will be smaller and more middle of the road than he expected, as they always are. That’s the nature of our society.
Certainly, there have been major accomplishments achieved by each of the presidents along the way, but the dynamic shifts in our culture and process as Americans have been few and far between.
As Mr. Obama listens to the representatives of the millions of Americans within our borders, he will discover that we are not a more homogenous community, such as the one he represented in Chicago. We are poor, white people in Appalachia. We are wealthy black people in Los Angeles. We are working class Latinos in New Mexico. We are isolated Inuits in Alaska.
Each of us have a different view point and a variety of needs in our lives. Mr. McCain lost the election based more on Mr. McCain himself and his running mate, Sarah Palin, than he did from the strength of Mr. Obama’s platform.
That’s the way it usually is. We select our president based on which individual is the lesser of two evils. No one wants a politician in office; yet, they are the only ones running.
So, as we continue to await equality for the gay community, health care that serves our entire population, an end to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, amongst the many other wishes we dreamed in November 2008, let us remember that we, as an American people, have once again mandated that we remain on the same highway we’ve found ourselves for at least the last fifty years of my memory, by our fear of change and distrust of those in office.
We will allow President Obama to rise only to the level of the mediocrity of our thought and the cloudiness of our vision.
It is criminal that at the federal and state level, discrimination is being presented in such a light that it appears those in authority are surprised that anyone is questioning their intentions toward the LGBT community.
I have a simple note to President Barack Obama.
Dear Mr. President,
First, allow me to congratulate you on your election as President of the United States. As a citizen, I am personally and nationally challenged by recent events that affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Please accept my comments in the constructive and immediate way they are intended.
Every moment you allow honorable people who happen to be homosexual, like Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach and Lt. Daniel Choi, to stand before your tribunals, and let there be no mistake, they are your tribunals as Commander-in-chief, you are standing against equality and non-discrimination. There is no middle ground in that truth, Mr. President. None.
In the same way that we must stand against the abuse of children, unavailability of health care for the poor and middle class, and declining education funding for those students most in need, we must, too, stand against codified hatred and disrespect of any of our citizens, especially those who serve our country in the most valuable way possible, some of whom, losing their lives in the process.
We are watching, Mr. President, with a hopeful eye; however, that eye is daily growing increasingly full of tears awaiting your response. We are truly blinded by your stagnancy, deafened by your silence, and crippled by your inaction on this issue.
Take a moment and look at sites like bannination.com at what your inaction is permitting some people to say about Lt. Col. Fehrenbach. Yes, we have free speech, but without true leadership in another direction, you are their leader first. The irony is that Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is fighting equally for these people’s rights, as well as everyone else’s. Is it any wonder why our children are committing suicide for being perceived as gay? How can they possibly respect that aspect of their lives if their President and military commit punitive actions against others like them so publicly? What message are they receiving when at many of the state and national levels, they are told they are second class citizens?
It is time for real leadership in this arena, Mr. President.
First, an Executive Order must be signed discontinuing all actions related to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It was a bad policy and a bad law to begin with and should be shut down as soon as possible.
Second, you must personally let Congress know that there is a deadline by which time you expect a bill to be on your desk that revokes any and all laws related to discrimination of any kind, including against the LGBT community.
Third, you must clearly state that the laws of the Federal Government that pertain to the rights of one citizen pertain to the rights of all citizens. That includes marriage.
Only in these three actions will you truly be remembered as a leader in Civil Rights.
Thank you for reading this correspondence, Mr. President. I trust that you will do the right thing soon.
James C. Glica-Hernandez
Citizen of the United States