Saturday, June 10, 2017

So, Imma send a letter

Dear Paul,

Can I call you Paul? Okay. Great. I haven’t taken the time to congratulate you on your promotion to Speaker of the House. When I first heard the news, I thought, ‘Well, Paul and I disagree on a lot of fundamental things, but at least he is intelligent and has enough courage to do the right thing in the difficult situation a divided congress often presents.’ You see, Paul, I don’t know you, personally, but I know where you came from. The last time you were home, in fact, my mom saw you in church. She prays for you, Paul. I do, too.

Janesville, Wisconsin is a place that is difficult to describe. I learned about right and wrong from the stories my grandmother would tell over a boiling pot of goulash at 1107 Hamilton Ave. She would also pepper our imaginations with the fairies that lived in the big oak tree and magic that dances in bon fires. The house is gone now, but stories and memories are more difficult to tear down.

My grandfather, however, taught me other lessons. He taught me about hard work. He taught me how to make a living. He taught me how to be proud of the work that I’ve done. He worked at GM for as long as I can remember. And, when it left Wisconsin, there were a lot of people out of work and out of hope.

The people of Janesville have recovered because Wisconsinites have an uncanny way of moving Forward. We take our lumps and make the best of the situation we’re given. We’ve learned right and wrong. We’ve learned hard work. We’ve learned pride in ourselves and our home.

But, Paul, I gotta tell you some things. That health bill you actually rammed through (as opposed to the eight month process the Affordable Care Act underwent), it is not good for many, many people. You had the House vote on it even before the Congressional Budget Office could take a look at it and let the American people know what American Health Care Act would cost.

I’m not talking money, here, Paul. Money can be made, and money can be spent. I am talking about lives. Human lives. The plan you passed would kick a whole slew of folks off of health care—people in your district, people in Rock County, people in Janesville, your home town. I know you have spent the past 13 years in DC; I can imagine it is hard to remember the farmers in Evansville or the people living near Riverside Park. But, we need health care. And, kicking it back to each state to determine who can and cannot get quality, affordable care won’t work out as cleanly as you hope. There are going to be a lot of sick people wearing Make America Great Again hats knocking on your door demanding some answers.

Paul, you sold an idea. A flawed idea, but genius all in the same. Your “health care” plan is a tax cut for wealthy people. Some wealthy people are all for it, obviously.  But, here is the sneaky part. You sold this plan with the American Dream, with the idea that ‘I’m not rich now, but I could be..someday.” And, that is how you got it. The people who believe they will someday be wealthy don’t want the government taking their hard-earned money when they have it, in the future. But, the American Dream is just that, a dream. Rags to Riches isn’t reality. There are systemic poverty and class structures designed to keep people in their places.

We may not have castes, here, but do you know how difficult it is to move up a social class? To move up several social classes? You need good, quality public education. You need parents working at a livable wage. You need public programs to form open and accepting communities. You also need healthcare.

This, of course, is where we differ. It is important to have fiscal conservatives to balance out my plans. But, it is a balance. There is some give, and some take. But, Paul, with this health care bill, you just took. And, when the Freedom Caucus said nah, we’re good, you bent over backwards to appease them. You know who that doesn’t benefit? Your constituents.

Health care is obviously a big deal, a bigly deal, if you will. But, I am much more concerned, Paul, with how you have kowtowed to our new Commander in Chief. Remember in paragraph one, when I thought that we have different ideals, but I appreciate your character? Well, I’ve got to say, I have been unimpressed. You have stood by this man through a lot of hair-raising details of how he chooses to live his life. And, just recently, you stood up for him saying something like, ‘He is new to government. He is new to all of this.’ It is okay to make several gaffs while being new to waiting tables or even mis-shelving books in your new position at a library. But, for goodness sake, he is the leader of our country.

A new rookie comes into the White House every four or eight years. Your excuse of him being new to politics doesn’t hold water. If he wasn’t ready for the job, we have several specific failsafes, all of which, well failed. They all failed because the Republican elite, you and your friends had neither the courage nor the gumption to stand up to him. He has taken your party and made a mockery of it. There is a time and place to be a Republican. But, right now, Paul? Right now, it is time for you to be an American.

Katie Botsford

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