Thursday, March 30, 2017


30 March 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

I saw a picture of you with your young son online—a handsome lad; and, as I understand, just one of your three children. A wonderful family, I’m sure. I myself have three kids, now grown, with children of their own. Unfortunately, three of them live in England: my oldest granddaughter, who just celebrated her 18th birthday, and the grand-twins, now fifteen. Happily, my youngest lives close to us here in Southern California—he happens to be sitting next to me as I write, because his mom is off at an international conference in Berlin. (Great things, these international events, in which America still participates!)

But I write about these kids because, as a grandfather, I am concerned for their future—as I am sure you are for your own children. What kind of a world do we want to leave them? It seems to me reasonable to suppose that, given the direction of the current Congress and administration, it will not be the kind of world we would wish for ourselves or them. I myself would wish for a world in which nations could work well together, and where poverty, hunger injustice and warfare were no longer dominant. I’m sure you’d want the same.

As for our country, would you not agree that we all want a livable environment? That we want peoples of all races, creeds, orientations to have the opportunity for a healthy and successful life? That educational doors be open to all who qualify? That we want and need a thriving cultural community? That the acquisition of money and possessions should not be the only goal we teach our children? And so on. These are some of the basic requisites for a civilized society on which we can surely all agree.

But these seem to be dreams, only, for your Republican party, the president* and his administration. The trickle-down theory of a free market economy has proved to be a cruelly false promise to many over many years; the income gap keeps growing, to the detriment of the underprivileged and the poor. The president’s budget makes drastic cuts in all areas that might provide a leg-up and assistance, when needed, for the disadvantaged and the elderly. It makes drastic cuts in environmental action, as well as in diplomacy and foreign aid—everything that have given us leadership in the world. So much for “making America great again.” He is making America small again, in the eyes of the entire world.

I write these things to you because I know we share a love for our children and a concern for their future. I write because I see their future dimming. Your kids, Congressman, and mine, will grow up in security, wealth and privilege. No question, they will enjoy excellent educational opportunities and access to rewarding careers or professions when they reach majority. But I think you must agree that many millions of American children will not have the same opportunity, no matter how much we may like to pretend they do. And your (now very right-wing) Republican policies and budgets are not working to assure they do. This is no longer even the conservatism you embrace.

And then, too, your children and mine will face a future that is not so secure, no matter how much money we spend on the military and homeland security. Nature herself is indifferent to such things. She is a much greater force than all American might, and can wreak more havoc than any military. We are, literally, powerless against her.

So, Congressman, do we wish for our kids to grow up in a world we have polluted with our action and inaction, a world we have failed to defend when science told us, unambiguously, that it was at risk? An environment that threatens not only other species, but our own?

We need sane politicians and sane policies, and we need them now. It is no longer acceptable simply to toe the party line. Your constituents entrusted you with their lives, and the future of their kids and grandkids. It is not acceptable for you to go along with the Republican herd when that herd is stampeding heedlessly toward the cliff’s edge. We, your constituents, must rely on your sound judgment, your ability to discern fact from fiction, truth from outright lies, reason from fantasy. We must rely on you to be your own man, and ours, to stand up and out from herd mentality with strength and clarity of vision. We ask this of you. We demand it.

I trust that your aides will allow you to see this letter, amongst the many you must receive; and that you will read it with the seriousness and sincerity with which it is intended.

Thank you. As always, respectfully,

Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


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