I just sent this letter to my representative in the House of Representatives. It will be interesting to see what sort of response I receive.
On Saturday afternoon, you called our house to invite us to participate in a tele-conference. We would like to have participated in this conference, particularly because we view much of what the Republican-controlled House has been doing with reference to the budget in a negative light.
We didn’t answer your phone call because our caller id said that the caller’s identity was unknown and the phone number was unavailable. For all the talk about communicating with the people of your district, that’s a real good way to not communicate. Maybe you knew what we were thinking and you didn’t really want to know.
If we had been able to participate, this is what we would have said:
First, the House Republican majority has no problem cutting funding for National Public Radio which is one of the few media systems that does provide a reasonable coverage of all topics. But the same majority will not cut the funding for Radio and TV Marti, even when the overwhelming evidence is that Cubans don’t listen and the broadcasts do not benefit the American public. To say that the minuscule amount of money given to NPR is a waste when millions benefit from its programming while spending money on a program that does little good defies logic.
Second, how can you as a physician and as a woman justify defunding Planned Parenthood? It would be one thing to say that all that Planned Parenthood does is abortions but they don’t and what advice and comfort that is given to women is funded from other sources. This attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on women in general. How can you even justify not supporting Planned Parenthood, both as a woman and as a physician?
I will not discuss the issue of abortion as that is an individual choice. But for all those who wish that abortion was banned in this country, what alternatives are being offered? How do we help those women who are faced with this dilemma and sometimes abortion is the only option they have? I keep waiting for those so adamantly opposed to abortion to offer a reasonable and rationale alternative and yet none is ever offered. It simply refreshes the idea that the Republican Party of the 21st Century is the party of "NO – No answers, no solutions."
The same thing can be said for that joke that Congressman Ryan is trying to pass off as budget. Yes, there are problems with Medicaid and it needs to be fixed. But giving block grants to the various states does not solve the problems with Medicaid and probably would only make things worse. And while there are some problems with Medicare, all reports are that it works just fine. Could it be that those same Republicans who are calling for the elimination of Medicare simply cannot stand the idea that everyone is entitled to the same basic medical care? Why else would the solution to Medicare be to let the insurance companies of this country handle the medical care of our seniors and disabled? Does the term sell-out mean anything to you?
Yes, there are major problems with healthcare in this country. I have been unemployed since 2007 and I have been without any form of health insurance. How am I to pay for my medical care? The problem, and you should know this as a physician, is with the insurance companies. Letting the insurance companies dictate the solution to the medical crisis of this country is the proverbial fox guarding the hen house solution.
And when will the middle class get a tax break? Or is the plan to give all the money in this country to the rich and totally eliminate the middle class all together? This country has been fed a line of **** since Ronald Reagan was President that monies given to the rich will trickle down to the middle and lower class. Look around and tell me what exactly has happened in the past thirty years — the gap between the rich and everyone else has gotten bigger, not smaller. The majority of the rich in this country got rich through greed and selfishness and they flat out do not want to share their wealth with anyone. We see the results of this in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states where, funded by mysterious millionaires whose only agenda is to keep all the money for themselves, governors and Republican state legislatures seek to destroy the rights and hard work of the middle class.
We would have asked why it is that were the Federal government to have been shut down, Congress would have still gotten paid? How is it that you all can keep your money when you don’t want others to have any? Why is it that Congress has one of the best, if not the best, healthcare programs in the country but won’t share it with the people who pay the bills? Why is it that Congress seems to be exempt safety rules and retirement policies that are part of the normal life of being a citizen in this country. The time has long passed since Congress treat itself as it treats the people.
Yes, there is a fiscal crisis in this country but look at where all the money this country spends is going. It is not going to the poor or the middle class; it is not even on the books but being spent on wars that were never authorized and were initiated by a Republican President. Serious discussions about the budget require serious discussions about the willingness of Congress to spend money overseas without question and without even putting it on the books. And yet, we are faced with a crisis because some of the Republican majority of the House of Representatives don’t like being told on public radio that there are problems in this country.
There wouldn’t be any problems with Social Security if Congress hadn’t been stealing from it to justify the expenditures that they have been making over the years. Let’s be honest; it doesn’t matter whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, it seems that a politician can’t seem to keep their hands off the people’s money. It is called the Social Security Trust Fund for a reason; it is kept in trust for those who paid in. Are we to trust the Wall Street gurus who have ravaged the private bank accounts of this country any more than we are to trust Congress?
As one who use to teach college chemistry (until I found out that I was too old and overeducated), I taught those who sought to be physicians. So I have some understanding of your background and education. Theoretically, you are a smart person. So why is it that you allow your colleagues to banter around false science and say it is the Gospel truth?
The Environmental Protection Agency does just that, protect the environment. Remember that it was created during the Nixon administration which I suppose many Republicans today really don’t want to be reminded. And I don’t suppose that many Republicans don’t want to be reminded that the first true environmentalist President was Theodore Roosevelt, though the Republican Party quickly disowned him when he fought for the environment and he sought to limit the power of corporations and wealthy individuals in this country.
Do we need to remind you what this country looked like before we got serious about protecting the environment? Do we want pictures of rivers catching fire to be posted on the front page of the New York Times? Do we want to have to chase people away when they seek to fish in the Hudson River? What are we going to tell our children when they can’t swim in lakes and rivers because of the toxins and poisons that were dumped in without a second thought?
It seems to me that the Republican Majority of the House of Representatives is one of the most scientifically illiterate groups I have ever observed. It is time that you use your own scientific background and speak out for the truth, not just accept the party line that says that the rich know what they are doing and they will protect the working class and poor of this country. They haven’t done so yet; why should we expect them to do so now?
Do me a favor – don’t send me the usual canned reply saying how you are working for my best interests. Stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and tell your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stop thinking about their own interests and start thinking about the future of this country. Stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and speak out for the care of the poor, the homeless, the sick, and the forgotten. Speak out against the injustice that is being done against those who have nothing. It is alright to speak for the American dream and the opportunities that this country has offered to everyone since Europeans first set foot on this continent (I bet that if one were to go back in time, even those who came to this country 10,000 years ago across the Bering land bridge came looking for a better opportunity). But make sure that the rules by which the game is played are fair and equitable rules, not rules that favor one class over all the others.