Dear Friends, Family and Complete Strangers – December 1, 2020

December 1, 2020

Dear Friends, Family and Complete Strangers,

Call me Pollyanna, go ahead, call me naïve, call me too idealistic. You could find other adjectives but no swearing or bad words. I have an idea that could bring people together. Seriously, SINGING!!!! Not just anything, but songs of America. Pull out your Rise Up Singing songbooks, find your old records or, look on You Tube for folk songs, Civil Rights movement songs, songs from WWI and WWII and anti-war songs, songs of the idealized Old West, songs from slavery, songs from union organizing days, songs of Freedom, songs from the military, silly songs and other children’s songs that we all know, or should know. Then, someone who knows how to do this (not me), put it all together for the Great American Sing Along. Find the guitar players, drummers, bugle players, accordionists, piano players, fiddlers and those who know how to play the bones. Have subtitles with the words so we can all sing. Find singers who can lead the songs from all over the current music spectrum. I vote for Bruce Springsteen to be one of them.

I just saw a wonderful program on our Detroit Public Television station: “Peter, Paul and Mommy”. It must be from decades ago because Mary was there too. The audience was composed of young children and parents, all doing their part to clap along, sing along, sway and smile. The mood was contagious, charming and heartfelt. I couldn’t help but sing aloud with “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed the fly, perhaps she’ll die”. When we sang it with grandchildren, we changed the ending to “perhaps she’ll cry”. Peter and Paul sang the verses and hammed it up so that all were giggling. They sang Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty “and I teared up. Mary led a medley of children’s ditties with a chorus of “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring, he bumped his head and went to bed and he couldn’t get up in the morning”. Everyone was smiling.Just imagine everyone sitting around a campfire, or a fireplace, or your living room or wherever the tv is after popping a ton of popcorn and making hot cocoa. Leave a little room for dancing or space to squirm. Let’s end the evening with a rousing “This Land is Your Land”. This could be one of the ways we try and connect with each other and rekindle a spark of unity.

What do you think?

Dear “People” – November 29, 2020

November 29, 2020

Dear People,

I’m writing a letter to those of you who still think Donald Trump won the 2020 election. I actually know a few of you and see what you post on your Facebook pages. Because I know you are smart people, I try to follow the threads you have posted and check out the sources for the claims. Since I want to believe that you are all still sane, intelligent and caring people who simply have the best interests of this country and democracy at heart, I would love to hear more about how you know what you know. For example, could you please explain the theory that “massive fraud” took place through the efforts of Republican officials at the state, county and district levels, international plotters, at least one of whom is dead, machinery that is double and triple checked for problems, voting rules that have been followed for decades, and, of course, the FBI, Justice Department, Republican appointed judges and voters. Oh yes, and the plot was organized across various states but only affected Donald Trump, not other Republicans on the ballot. Perhaps you could also explain how almost all the court cases have been thrown out of courts and almost all the A Team lawyers have quit. Are you sure that Rudy Giuliani and Sydney something or other are representing the Truth? How do you know that when there was no evidence presented? Every – time I read an article stating that there are affidavits saying that someone saw something nefarious, but they turn out not to be admitted in court because the person heard something 2nd or 3rd hand. There are complaints about how ballots were counted because the complainers don’t know the laws of the state as to how ballots MUST be counted.

Dead people don’t vote. They don’t even try to vote because they know they would be caught in a crime punishable with big fines and jail time. I know you love our country so please consider if this is the best way you can demonstrate the love of how this country decides elections. I understand that you really, really wanted to win, but you didn’t. I understand that you are terrified about policies that you think will harm you or cause you to “lose your freedom” or force you to change your “values”. You are free to believe what you want and to keep your values as long as others have the same rights to beliefs and values. I totally get that the rule of law is important to you when you think the Black Lives Matter Movement will somehow end all policing and you are scared.

Please reconsider the fear that other people are worth more than you and will have more rights than you. I’m pretty sure that won’t happen. Oh, and it’s really not cool to threaten the local election clerks with killing their pets, family members or them and burning down their homes. Really not cool.

Dear Friends…. et. al. – November 24, 2020

November 24, 2020

Dear Friends, who don’t think there will be a new administration legally elected on January 20, 2021 or who don’t think the DTvirus is really a thing, or who don’t think that climate change is a serious problem,

Let’s discuss the issue that some of you don’t think this was a fair election because Donald Trump didn’t win and how could it possibly be fair? After all, lots of people of color voted! After all, Democrats always cheat! After all, there is some kind of hidden conspiracy of Communists and Nazis (!!!!!???) and super wealthy people working together to eliminate the vote of Republicans! We also can’t forget the army of dead people lining up to vote! Or…………maybe, just maybe, none of that is true. Maybe, just maybe, this was an historic election with the highest percentage of legal voters actually voting in our history. All the checks and balances of legal, fair and democratic (small “d”) happened.

Now let’s discuss the pandemic and why some people think it’s a hoax or not that serious, and in any case, no need to have public health rules, just let everyone decide for themselves to endanger others. I guess you think that the numbers do lie. I guess you don’t believe that hospitals are overrun with patients suffering from a disease that has many different symptoms and that are being treated by medical staff who are completely devoted to their jobs but who are worn out by months of this pandemic. I have a gentle suggestion for you; if you don’t want to comply with the public health rules that are mandated by public health officials (who aren’t trying to take over your body or soul), don’t follow the rules. Just please, stay home and stay away from others. If you do need to go out in public, please wear a mask and follow the rules for physically distancing from others.

Finally, let’s talk a little about the climate. It isn’t really important what you “believe” or “think”. You are not being forced to believe in science. You are not forced to learn any math, unless you are still in K-12 school. You don’t have to understand biology, chemistry (I sure don’t- I’m still traumatized by 10th grade chemistry class memories) or geology. Your ignorance of all subjects related to the dramatic changes in the world’s climate won’t affect the world’s climate. If you hang around for a few more decades, you may evolve to understand this subject better. You know, life -long learning is a good thing.

I sincerely hope you have a wonderful season of holidays, celebration, enjoying family, food and joy even if you won’t be physically together. Stay healthy, stay safe, and in this season of giving and generosity, remember that we are all in this together.

Dear To Whom It May Concern – November 20, 2020

November 20, 2020

To Whom It May Concern:

I live in the state of Michigan. It’s a beautiful state with some wonderful, friendly, generous people. We have the Great Lakes, beautiful forests, vibrant cities and lovely rural areas, tons of culture. We have lots of sports teams although you might not be impressed with any of their records, but they have nice t-shirts and sweatshirts. Michiganders are civic minded. We vote. The majority of voters in this state voted for the Biden-Harris ticket. Our electoral votes will officially go to them.We also have some people in our state who have extremely different ideas. I really mean “extremely”. You probably already know that some of them thought it would be a great idea to kidnap the governor, maybe kill her and maybe blow up the capitol building. We have self- proclaimed militias who like to dress in camouflage, carry military style weapons, and think their freedoms have been taken away from them. Their freedoms include not wearing masks in public. I’m not sure what other freedoms they have lost. It is very true that jobs and businesses have been seriously hurt by the pandemic. It is also true that hospitals and health workers are stretched beyond their limits to help patients. I don’t know if these extremists are referring to jobs, businesses and health workers safety and sanity. I think they are mainly thinking about the masks and the requests to wash their hands.

The president has asked the Republican leaders of our House and Senate to come to Washington to listen to him. It seems that he would like them to disregard the 150,000 vote- lead of the Biden-Harris ticket and send electors who pledge to vote for his ticket instead. I’m not a lawyer or a Constitutional scholar, but that seems very, very wrong. There is no reason this should happen. Our vote was fair, safe, and secure. There was no hanky-panky. I’m sure the president is convinced that there was, but he is wrong. As you know, in this country we count votes, and the winner is declared. It’s pretty simple and straightforward. This idea of overturning the voters’ choice is completely undemocratic. Thank you for listening to my concerns.

By the way, who pays for the trip to Washington, D.C.?

Dear Supporters of President Trump – November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Dear Supporters of President Trump, my fellow Americans,

Sigh, this is a really hard letter to write but I hope you read it. I see, read and hear your pain upon learning that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election. Many people have felt that shock, disbelief and worry before and others will feel it in the future. It’s hard to accept the truth and easy to suspect that shenanigans in the voting process spoiled your vision of what will happen in the next four years. Suspected shenanigans are not the same as facts and wishes don’t make things true. However, it is true that it takes time to mourn your loss. President Trump has had more than a week to sit shiva and so have you. You tear your clothes, cover the mirrors, be comforted by others and tell stories about your memories. You are free from your regular work and eat meals provided by the kind people around you by ordering in and supporting local restaurants. Then you return to your daily life. Trump has not had any public events for more than two weeks nor have there been any daily briefings or public communications other than his tweets. Neither he nor Pence have mentioned the explosion of positive tests for the virus, hospitalizations, deaths and pleas from medical workers for help. I understand your pain is being expressed with anger but please move on with life. It doesn’t mean that you stop crying or wailing about your loss, but it doesn’t mean you prevent the future from happening.

I understand that you supported President Trump for different reasons that I can respect even as I disagree. Some of you were thrilled with tax cuts and increases in the stock market even if about 90% of our population is not invested in the stock market nor had any significant benefit from the tax cuts. Some of you love this administration for policies on immigration while others are disgusted by these same policies. Some of you love that the American Embassy was moved to Jerusalem and that certain Arab states are signing treaties with Israel that benefit both parties. Some of you are passionate about the issue of abortion and it’s the main reason you supported the Republican ticket. Some of you love the name calling and undiplomatic language used by our president. It is your right to vote on your beliefs and it is fundamental to our democracy to choose the party and platform that best represents those beliefs.As I watched the scenes from the MAGA group in Washington last week, I thought, “these people are really grieving”. They were passionate and angry and totally convinced that their version of the truth was real. It’s not. They made accusations that voting systems “changed votes”, that “dead people voted”, that “illegal votes were cast” and there was a grand conspiracy across states that involved “a deep state”, “The Media” and “Facebook”. How sad and how absurd. I beg you to look at some news sources that include actual facts.

Do you remember Superman? I mean the tv show, not the comic books. Remember that he stood for “Truth, Justice and The American Way”? Please don’t hate your fellow Americans for voting for their candidates and their platforms. Truth can depend on many things, but facts are provable. Justice means that our laws apply equally to all of us and guilt needs to be proven. The American Way is democracy in action. We vote for our choices. We look out for our neighbors. We care for our environments. We educate our children, and we try to be civil and respectful of others. Please continue to work for your ideas but respect that others’ opinions also matter. That applies to “both sides” where there are “good people”.

Thank you for reading my letter and I look forward to hearing from you. Please, no threats and no swearing.

Dear Dr. Scott Atlas – November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020

Dear Dr. Scott Atlas,

I understand you are a member of the President’s Corona Virus Task Force team. So, just to be clear, you are not the Surgeon General of the United States nor are you the leader of this team, nor are you an infectious disease specialist. You are, however, one of the most prolific tweeters on the team. Recently you tweeted, “Masks work? NO”, in spite of the advice of all the rest of the health experts in the world.

Late last night, after Governor Whitmer put into effect new public health measures for Michigan, you tweeted “The only way this stops, is if people rise up. You get what you accept.” # FreedomMatters and # “StepUp.Here’s what I have to say, WAY TO GO! What I mean is, find the nearest exit and GO! Those two tweets plus your promotion of the dangerous belief that so called “herd immunity” will be all the protection we need, indicate that you should GO, immediately! Look, there are a couple of reasons why you should go. The current president and the current vice president, the one who used to be in charge of the team, have already quit so you can quit too. Just follow in their footsteps, but maybe wear a mask and stay 6 feet behind them. Here’s another reason; your tweet about encouraging “the people” to “rise up” could be seen as a call for violence. If, heaven forbid, that did occur, you might be held liable for inciting violence. If you quit the team now you could look for a lawyer to advise you on this matter. If you decide to use the lawyers the president uses, you know, Guilliani and Barr, then all I can say is good luck. Otherwise, check out the names on the benches at bus stops or the back of packages of matches or even on your local Craigslist. I’m sure you can find a better lawyer than those two.

As I think more about this issue, I’d like to thank you for using the idea in your tweets that freedom does matter, and we do need to step up. Putting on a mask in public, washing hands and sanitizing, staying away from crowds, keeping indoor groups to just the family you live with and trying to keep socially distant from others you do not live with, are actions that are about freedom. Can you imagine the political prisoners in other countries who have been jailed, tortured or killed think wearing a mask means you have lost your freedom? If you think losing your freedom is about not going to the bars, the gyms and indoors to restaurants, I have solutions for that. Walk in your neighborhood or at a park, buy some beer or better yet, spirits (from Mammoth Distillery or Three Chords Distillery), order a to go meal from your favorite restaurant or open a can of beans. It’s the families of children of school age, college kids, essential workers and people living in assisted living and nursing facilities who have lost their freedom due to the rampant spread of the virus from people following your advice.

Please, just go.

Dear Mr. McConnell, Cruz and Graham – November 13, 2020

November 13, 2020

Dear Current Majority Leader McConnell, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Lindsey Graham,

I’d love to tell you how much I admire your love of our country, your democratic belief in our institutions and your loyalty and obeisance to our current president. Unfortunately, I cannot. You are all very smart people and extremely knowledgeable politicians, but your role as leaders in our democracy is obscene. Your tactics of supporting the fallacy that there was corruption, fraud, or a grand scheme of “stealing” an election and allowing the present administration to refuse cooperation with the incoming Biden-Harris administration is deplorable and dangerous. So far, there have been no credible court cases brought to challenge illegality in the state elections. All “legal” ballots are counted or still being counted. The results are in. Georgia can do a recount but even if a 14,000 plus votes are somehow overturned, the end results will not change, and you know that.Current Majority Leader McConnell, how kind of you to continue to support the president in his time of grief. However, it does seem that you are more worried about his mental state than the smooth transfer of power from one administration to another. Do you remember saying “Our main goal is to make President Obama a One Term President”? That was at least a very honest if also a non-patriotic statement. It’s probably your plan now as well. You accomplished stacking the courts with conservative judges, so kudos on that. You’ve blocked continuing support for a large number of our citizens and businesses, so no kudos on that. Your efforts to keep your power and block the power of Democrats is great politics for you but terrible for the country.

As far as you two, Senators Cruz and Graham, I have nothing but contempt for your dishonesty and fake rage against anything Democrats do. Senator Cruz, your efforts to praise the president while absolving him of his disrespect of you, your father and your wife, is simply unforgivable. Senator Graham, your words and promises have already been shown to be lies, self-serving, not serving the needs of the country. Do you really think you will continue to golf at Mara-Lago or any of the other properties belonging to you know who? Do you at least get a discount on a round?

I’m not asking for you three to be the kind of leaders we need at this time, but I do ask you to review your oaths of office that include the phrase “defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic”.

Dear Mrs. Trump III – November 11, 2020

November 11, 2020

Dear Mrs. Trump, the III,

There’s so much hullabaloo around your husband’s lack of ability to graciously concede the election to VP/President Elect Biden, that I wondered if anyone is asking how you are doing. So, how are you doing? I wonder if you are super sad, relieved or just worried about your husband’s mental state. His aides and other lackeys seem to be very concerned about him. Apparently, you and Jarod have tried to explain to him the need to move on past the election, but he isn’t “ready” to hear that yet. What if he heard other news that upset him like, g-d forbid, there was an incoming attack on our homeland or aliens have just landed? Would he not be “ready” to hear that either? It’s kind of the job to be ready for anything. The good news is that the bad news about his loss is not the end of the world for most of the country even if the outcome of the election saddened 70 million or so. I’m sure you will be okay, and your son and parents will be okay and, eventually, your husband will adjust to his retirement.

You probably already know that he and I were in a pen pal relationship for almost 8 months. Don’t worry if he never told you about the letters; he probably didn’t tell you about a lot of other relationships or letters or things like that. NOTHING was going on that could worry you. All I did was try and share some advice with him based on my own experiences in life, what was happening in the news and general common sense. He didn’t listen to me just like he doesn’t listen to anyone.

I hope you are thinking ahead and planning your move. You will need to find a moving company because I don’t think your husband can lift the furniture and put it in a moving van, pack up his stuff, or help with any other details and don’t forget the golden toilet. What about your son’s schooling? Sure, he’s learning remotely now but do you want him to transfer schools and leave friends again? He could stay in Washington and live with another family when the students go back to school in person. I also wonder and worry about you and your future plans. If you move to Florida and don’t play golf, what will you do? I guess you could always write a memoir of your time as the First Lady and your work with the Be Best Program. Michelle made a ton of money with her memoir and you know how hungry people are for your words. I sincerely wish you good luck in all your future endeavors.

Dear Mr. President – November 10, 2020

November 10, 2020

Dear Mr. (you only have until January 20, 2021, then you will be former President) President,

I have a number of issues, concerns, and thoughts to discuss with you today. Since you have had not public events in almost a week and no public statements, I am going to guess you are doing the following things: 1) trying to get courts to do your bidding, 2) getting AGBarr to do your bidding, 3) hiring a moving company to take your stuff to Florida, 4) firing as many people as you possibly can. But what I want to discuss is our personal relationship.

I thought we had a good relationship; you know, the kind where we could openly and truthfully express our opinions and emotions. It turns out that we do not have that type of relationship. It’s been mostly one-sided. I tried and tried to offer you advice, support, and understanding but you rejected all my advice, don’t want my support and understanding you became a ridiculous full- time job. You are unable to have a mutually respectful relationship with other people. It’s all one way. Either you are unconditionally obedient, respectful and worshipped or you are banished from the room, the job, your intimate circle.

This has become an abusive relationship where no matter what I did, it was never enough. Hey, isn’t that similar to the name of your niece’s book, Too Much and Never Enough? She says your meltdowns will continue to consume you, but you can’t change what is happening right now; you can only try and destroy more. Remember the story about you going to a birthday party when you were a child and putting your fist through the birthday cake? I think you are doing the equivalent of that now by firing everyone you can from our national security agencies, refusing to cooperate with the Transition Teams, and keeping “your people” from accepting the results of a free and fair election. You are acting like a spoiled brat who can’t even share a birthday cake with others. Your behavior,” is a model for what we teach our children NOT TO DO!

In short, I’m breaking up with you. Maybe we can have some kind of communication/relationship in the future but right now I’m not sure that would be productive. Let me think some more about how harmful that might be. I know the polite way to say that is “it’s not you, it’s me” but that’s not true. It is you.

Dear Mr. President – November 7, 2020

November 7, 2020

Dear Mr. President,

I hope you are able to read this letter even if your eyes are bloodshot from crying. People are partying, dancing in the streets, banging pots and pans and honking horns and full of joy. But there is no joy in Mudville tonight, is there? How sad for you and your supporters. When the pundits on tv ask “What now?”, I know your answer is “I’m going to fight this fake news”. Don Jr., a devoted son the likes no one has ever seen, maybe the most devoted son EVER, pleads for you to go to “total war”. Your top- notch lawyer, Rudy, continues to sound like, well, like Rudy. Your former advisor, and possible future cellmate, Steve Bannon, seems to have lost his own head.

Look, a loss like this is going to take some time to sink in. Surely you have had tough situations to deal with before now. I’ve sent a number of ideas about how to cope with stress and anxiety and you must have some ideas of your own. I certainly hope Melania and Jarrod and Ivanka are there for you. Use a punching bag or pillow to help with your anger, don’t hit or throw anything at them. Everyone knows this is super hard for you and everyone knows that you have to do some things you don’t want to do for the sake of the country. You should do them tomorrow, but it will be okay if you wait until Monday night. I’ve added a congratulatory phone call to President Elect Biden to your homework assignment. If you do not complete this assignment, you may be sent to the Principal’s Office or to Mitch McConnell’s, or worse. He and the assistant principals may come to your office to see you. Remember when Barry Goldwater and a group of senators came to see Nixon?

Get some sleep tonight. Here’s a song that can help you relax. Cross your arms and hold the crossed arms of your family while standing in a circle. Sing Taps. “Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hills, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, G-d is nigh.