A letter to my Senators and Representative. Crib freely if you wish.
Dear Senator Burr:
It would seem that we are living in an alternative universe, one in which Nazis, Ku Kluxers and other traitors to our American way of life are euphemized as the “alternative right” and the propagandists for Donald Trump claim entitlement to “alternative facts.” Does that make him an “alternative president?” If only it were so.
But about this I am serious: There is no “alternative Congress.” We have only one, the one in which you serve. We are looking to that Congress, looking to you, for the mature, stable leadership that, sad to say, is plainly not forthcoming from the infantile and petulant personality in the White House.
My wife and I marched Saturday, along with as many as an estimated 5 million other people in the United States and abroad, to affirm the values that we fear are in great danger from that man and from those in the Congress — not including you, we hope — who would enable his alarming behavior.
It was unquestionably the largest single-day demonstration in our nation’s history. And it was unfailingly peaceful.
We do not delude ourselves that Mr. Trump was even slightly impressed. We did not expect him to be.
But we do expect you to take account of our great numbers and our great resolve. What you saw Saturday — unless, perhaps, you were watching Fox News — is only the beginning. We will not acquiesce tamely to the vindictive destruction of Planned Parenthood, thereby denying lifesaving medical care to multitudes of women. We will not abide the repeal of Roe v. Wade. We will not tolerate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the absence of new provisions that genuinely broaden its coverage and reduce its costs. We will no longer ascribe legitimacy to that dangerous constitutional anachronism known as the Electoral College. We will not let the Congress sacrifice Social Security on the altar of Wall Street greed or destroy Medicare by turning it into a voucher program euphemized as “premium support.” We will not allow mass roundups of immigrants who work hard to support their families. We will stand in unbreakable unity with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We will not accept the erosion of hard-won LGBT rights. If the government pursues any such ill-chosen goals, we will be back in numbers as great or greater than you saw Saturday.
We, the people, didn’t just speak Jan. 21, 2017. We roared. And we will vote.
Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.