Saturday, December 31, 2016

Break Is Over and So Is 2016

Time to get back in the saddle, on track, back in the grove and all of the other sayings that mean BREAK IS OVER.
I'm reading a lot about all of the terrible things that happened in 2016.  Yeah, some bad stuff happned but so did a lot of wonderful things.
Let's change the bad stuff that we can and learn from it but let's also rejoice in the many, many wonderful things that happened during the past year.  We are alive and that is miracle enough.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Letter to the U.S. Electoral College

Dear Electors,

My name is Thomas D. Walker from Tucson, AZ.

I am 74 years old and grew up very poor, on Arizona cattle ranches. Through education and hard work, I've risen above that with successful careers in journalism and social service. It's a story that many people of our great nation have shared. We have made some incredible strides in improving the lives of Americans, persons around the world and the environment, through our domestic and foreign policies and legal battles.

That all changed in December 2000 when the Electoral College voted to elect George W Bush president over Al Gore who won the popular vote. As we all remember, the policies of the Bush administration ushered in an ideological agenda that resulted in an illegal war that destabilized the middle east, destroyed the country of Iraq, and ramped up the rise of terrorism.

We suffered through the collapse of our economy due to deregulation and the supply side economic policies of the Bush Administration. Millions of Americans lost their economic security through the loss of homes and retirement savings. After eight years of an Obama presidency that was shamefully obstructed by those same right wing ideologues in Congress, we are barely making gains in an economic recovery.

I wonder daily how different the world would be today if the Electoral College had voted for the winner of the popular vote in 2000. But the Electoral College didn't know what lay ahead and could not predict the disasters of a Bush presidency.

Now, 16 years later, we are at another tipping point. However, the stakes are much, much greater this time. In 2000 Al Gore was the winner of the popular vote by 539,000. In 2016, Hillary Clinton is the winner of the popular vote by 2.8-plus million votes. Despite that, the GOP managed to garner more electoral votes for a man, who any rational person can observe, is temperamentally unstable and wholly unqualified to perform the duties of the office of President of the United States of America.

Donald Trump is assembling a cabinet of anti-democratic billionaires, Wall Street insiders, white supremacists, religious-right wing ideologues, science/climate change deniers; many of these people also have no experience in governing.

This cabinet, aided by GOP politicians who are wholly in service of the billionaires and corporations who fund them, is poised to create policies that privatize every aspect of American life while dismantling the civil rights gains of the last 60 years. At the same time, they will reverse environmental protections that will hasten the destruction of many species, accelerate the refugee crisis globally and unleash disease and unknown consequences on the human race, due to accelerated climate change. All of which threaten our national security.

Now, we learn from the CIA that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 election in an effort help Donald Trump win the presidency. Hackers connected to the Russian government provided WikiLeaks with thousands of stolen emails designed to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances. Whether these clandestine efforts had any effect on the election is unknown, but it certainly should cast doubts.

Donald Trump's administration is extremely dangerous internationally and he threatens to, through ignorance, narcissism and poor impulse control, destroy our relationships with our NATO allies and inadvertently destabilize America's relations with many countries that have the potential to create chaos on the world stage.

I base my opinions and predictions on Donald Trump's past and current behaviors. Instead of using the 146 days between the election and inauguration working daily in Washington, preparing to govern, studying daily briefings and overseeing the hiring of 4,000-plus persons (who, by the way, need to be highly vetted and will need security clearances) to run our government under his administration, this man is on a road trip, holding “thank you” rallies, continuing to make promises he cannot keep, engaging in divisive rhetoric, lying, calling foreign leaders willy-nilly without consulting the State Department, attacking and demonizing the free press and tweeting absurd threats to strip Americans' citizenship from them for exercising their first amendment rights.

Who knows what he’ll do today? He is a one man media circus clown.

And I haven't even gone on about his financial secrecy, international and domestic conflicts of interest, which alone disqualify him from the office of President, as he will be violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution on the day he is sworn into office.

So, the Electoral College is at another tipping point. In the spirit of Alexander Hamilton's letter writing campaign in 1800, when he urged the Electoral College to elect Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr due to his opinion that, "...Jefferson is in every view less dangerous than Burr," I, Thomas D. Walker, respectfully and tearfully write this letter to plead with the Electoral College of 2016 to vote for the winner of the popular vote, Hillary Clinton's 48.2% of the popular vote to Mr. Trump's 46.3% of the popular vote.

Please exercise your duty to protect the citizens of the United States of America from a mentally unstable demagogue who views the presidency as a vehicle to promote his brand. Please elect the "less dangerous" and highly qualified, lifelong public servant, Secretary Clinton as the next President of the United States of America. If you cast your votes for Donald Trump, when our country is ripped apart, you will not, in years to come, be able to say, "Well, we could not have predicted this....".

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.


Thomas D. Walker