Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FAREWELL (FOR NOW!)

15 August, 2017


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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Farewell (for the time being!) Cruel World (of politics)!

My wife and I are excited to be leaving on a road trip to northern Idaho to witness the total eclipse of the sun—an event out of which we hope your Trump will not attempt to make political hay.  Though I can’t resist the analogy between the eclipse of the sun and the Trumpian eclipse of American values.

Anyway, you’ll likely not be hearing from me for another week or ten days! I’d be happy to think you might be relieved, but of course not. I’d be na├»ve to think my letters even come to your attention. They do, however, reach many other ears than yours via social media links on the Internet. This is my 128th letter to you since the inauguration, and most of them appear on my blog, The Rohrabacher Letters, which has a growing readership. My goal, not to put too fine a point on it, is to deprive you of your seat in Congress and replace you with a good Democrat.

Signing off, then, for the time being, I remain as ever,

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE OGRE

A most extraordinary experience last night--or rather, very early this morning. I thought to be awoken by a tap on the shoulder and, upon opening my eyes, to have been confronted, ultra close-up, with the huge, untidily bearded face of a hideous, angry ogre. The experience must have been a dream, of course, but it felt nothing like a dream--more like a three-dimensional hologram, disconnected from any dream narrative. It was so frightening that I yelled aloud, "Oh, my God," waking Ellie in the bed next to me.

What could be the explanation for this apparition? If not for the untidy beard and the scraggly grey hair, I might have said Trump--who is as scary an apparition as haunts the world right now. I think I share the persistent sense of impending doom with many of my fellow Americans. It's not necessarily the doom of nuclear war, though that is indeed a frightening possibility. It's more the sense of everything around us spinning out of control in the social-political world, in the incompetent hands of an ill-mannered, bellicose ogre.

It was perhaps this creature who came to visit me in the early hours.

RACISM

15 August, 2017


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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Trump, again

It was grating to watch Trump mouth the words he had been virtually forced to say, yesterday, to include the neo-Nazis and the KKK explicitly in his indictment of violence. It was clear to anyone watching that this was simply an exercise in political expedience, not a sincere expression of his personal beliefs.

Besides, the correction—certainly not an apology, God forbid!—came two days too late. His message to the “alt-right” thugs in Charlottesville was already clear enough to them: what you did is okay with us. The Former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan said as much, publicly, on national television, claiming a kind of victory for the demonstrators in their support for his agenda; as did a prominent Nazi newsletter. These people embrace him as one of their own—and the man does not have the guts to disown them.

Speaking of which, I searched online to see if you had had anything to say about the events in Charlottesville, but I was unable to find a word. Nothing on Twitter, that I could see, nor even on Facebook, where you touted your visits with Boy Scouts and “Vietnamese friends” in the past few days. You also mentioned office visits with your constituents, but from your report they seemed to be all of a supportive nature. Your mentioned the dissatisfaction of some with progress on the health care issue, but reading between the lines I gathered the progress they wanted was on “repeal and replace,” not support for the ACA.

Anyway, I would like to hear you voice an opinion on Charlottesville. In these increasingly difficult times, we need to know that our Congressman stands with us against the ugliness of racism.

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Monday, August 14, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE




11 August, 2017

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Charlottesville

This, unhappily, is your Republican base—certainly the Trump base. The base of the base, if you will. The “Make America Great Again” mob, which in Trump’s rhetoric was easily understood as “Make America White Again.” And was condoned as such by the then candidate. The violence yesterday in Charlottesville was surely nothing more than an eruption of the deep-seated emotions that he called forth—still calls forth—at his rallies for adoring fans. It’s called racism.

We here along the Pacific Rim in Orange County are for the most part safely white. For the most part, still, we have been protected from the growing masses of people of color. They come to our gleaming gated communities of luxury ocean-view homes and condominiums, to clean our houses and maintain our gardens during the day. At night, they return inland to places where we fear to tread. Thus far we have been privileged and protected in your district. Given the rise in the Latino population, however, it is important for us to prepare hearts and minds for the future. We are no longer alone, and must make space for our brothers and sisters of other creeds and colors. I urge you to remember this as you vote in Congress.

As for your Trump, what a disgrace. Charlottesville offered him the opportunity to bring words of healing to the nation, to acknowledge the white nationalist source of those tragic events of yesterday, and even—would that it were so!—admit his own part in inspiring and permitting that vile expression of racial hatred. He failed that test. Instead, refusing to call out the real perpetrators, he chose to skirt the issue of white nationalism and appease his base.

Could we at least hear words from you, our Congressman, explicitly rejecting the KKK, the reborn Nazis, and others of their ilk who gathered in Charlottesville?

Respectfully



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Friday, August 11, 2017

WAR?

11 August, 2017

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: War?

The mindless bellicosity continues—from the golf course! I should say, it was not simply continued, but amplified yesterday, as Trump doubled down on his reckless rhetoric.

Who does this man think he is? A draft dodger playing war games with the lives of millions?

I hope you might by now have read former (Republican) Senator Gordon Humphrey's letter to his congressional representatives. It urges them passionately to support H.R. 1987, the bill currently in the House to empower a commission to evaluate the president's mental capacity to serve in the office to which he was elected. It is now past time. The evidence of the current president's incapacity accumulates daily. He is, quite simply, a danger to the country and the world.

If you are to represent your constituents and serve the interests of the country you, Congressman, must lend your voice to support this now urgent initiative. We cannot allow so grave a choice to depend on the judgment of this particular president*, a man of such questionable strength and steadiness of mind.

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

TRUMP


10 August, 2017


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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Trump

I’ll be brief. The man is obviously irresponsible, intemperate in language and action, ignorant of world and national affairs, arrogant, and unpredictable to friends and enemies alike. His interests are limited to his family and himself. He is undeserving of the office to which he was rashly elected, and demonstrably incapable of effectively managing the affairs of a great nation.

So where are the Republicans? In a situation that becomes daily more chaotic and dangerous, where are the men and women, the grown-ups, to step up and take charge of this nursery of a White House?

Each one of you has the responsibility to speak out and stand firm. Why do you, Congressman, fail to accept this responsibility? It’s your job.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MORE BOILERPLATE


9 August, 2017

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Health Care, again

I received your boilerplate response to my most recent personal letter on the subject of the ACA. It was, I believe, the third or fourth response I’ve received to my now more than one hundred personally-written, hand-signed and hand-addressed letters. Even these few responses have been emailed boilerplate. I cannot believe that you, or anyone at your office, actually read my letters or gave them the attention and thought with which they are written. Too bad!

That aside, I find myself in disagreement with at least two of the points made in your boilerplate response. First, if the ACA is indeed “on the cusp of collapse” as you assert—a Republican talking point with which most serious analysts take issue—it is due to the spiteful neglect of Republican lawmakers and governors rather than the bill itself. We all agree that fixes are needed—we have all agreed on that from the very start—but Republicans have resisted every invitation from Democrats to collaborate on those fixes, choosing instead to vote persistently on “repeal.” Now that this option has been finally laid to rest, I would hope for a better resolve on the part of you and your colleagues to serve the interest of the American people.

Next, you insist—contrary to evidence—that the Republican alternative, the American Health Care act, provided adequately for those with pre-existing conditions. You praised the fact that it “would have initiated a more market-oriented, competition driven health insurance market.” Here, as you must know if my letters have been read, we have a fundamental disagreement: to properly serve the needs of all Americans, we need to think of health care as something other than a “market.” The provision of health care is not, by its very nature, profitable, for the simple reason that those most in need are likely the least able to meet the proportionately higher costs of insurance or care.

There are the points I have been trying to make in my letters on this subject. Rather than addressing my concerns, your response simply reaffirms your party’s known positions—which have already been rejected soundly by both public opinion and congressional vote.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW!)

15 August , 2017 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, 101 Main Street #380 Huntington Beach, CA 92648 Dear Congressman, Re: Farewell (f...