Syrian Refugees

[Originally posted on Facebook, Jan 26, 2017]

Who are these refugees? They are not terrorists. They are Syrian families, women, and children who have been bombed, starved, orphaned, and widowed. Left without home, community, and country. The better question is: Who are we? Are we really willing to forsake the words on the Statue of Liberty that have helped to define us as a refuge for the oppressed? Will we remain silent in the face of a two bit demagogue?Ann and I have decided that we will not.

Inauguration Speech

Inauguration Day 2017 and the Women’s March the next day may mark the birth of a new spirit of activism in this country. Trump’s speech was at least a wake up call that we ignore his challenge to democratic principles at our peril. I’m reposting this from Facebook because it represents my first public expression of conscience. January 21, 2017

Dear Senators Murray and Cantwell, Congresswoman Del Bene, State Senator Palumbo, and Representatives Stanford and Kloba:

(This letter is being emailed to each of you individually, to the Seattle Times, and posted on Facebook.)

I saw off my wife, Ann, to the Seattle Womxns March this morning, torn about accompanying her or not. I decided to stay and write to you instead. Neither of us has been particularly active politically before. But, Donald Trump said at least one thing on Inauguration Day that I agree with: “It’s time to get to work.” That is true for us and it is particularly true for you. 

I have thought it a curious debate when people have differed on whether Trump is or is not “my President.” Like it or not, he was going to be. However, when I listened to his speech yesterday, it became clear. Donald Trump is NOT my President. Not my choice, but his, and that is true for most Americans whether they realize it or not.

In his final opportunity yesterday before taking office, he yet again disqualified himself from doing so legitimately. Certainly, the intrusion of Russia and the FBI cast shadows on the outcome of the election. But, far more damning is the fact that, ever since becoming Birther-in-Chief, Trump has built his prominence and candidacy on a foul foundation of lies and manipulation of public audiences and the media. That he has been able to manage that so successfully as a private citizen makes the prospect of his ascension to power with access to nearly unlimited resources truly frightening.
Surely, Trump’s inaugural speech must have sent shivers through you as well. He painted a stark and false portrait of today’s America. He conjured nonexistent existential threats from which he promises to save us, when in fact HE is the threat from which the country must be saved.

That’s where you come in. My wife and I voted for each of you. So did a majority of those in the state and your districts. We chose you to stand in our place in Washington and Olympia. It seems that role may be more vital than at any time in the past 60 years. Congress and state legislatures must be a check and a safeguard in the face of a dangerous Executive Branch. Politics as usual must be abandoned. Not only must the party find a coherent and unified strategy (and perhaps a bit more backbone), you must find creative and effective ways to communicate with and enlist Republican colleagues who will be willing to put country above party. For once, winning re-election cannot be the highest priority for anyone in either house.

On the other hand, if we are any indication and if the women’s marches around the country today are any indication, courageous leadership on your part will be recognized and rewarded. We’re counting on you.

Mike and Ann Massengill
Bothell, WA