You all know me by now, so it shouldn’t surprise you that I regularly post feedback at the White House site. (I figure, the form’s there for a reason, and I’m pretty well-spoken, so what the heck, right?)
Because every now and then, this administration does something right. Maybe it’s deliberate, maybe accidental; maybe it’s someone inside working against the system — who knows? Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. (Old saying but still true. It may be flashing, but at 12:00 it’s right.) Anyway — I think it’s vitally important that, when they get things right, it should be acknowledged. So I do.
Here’s a sample:
“Mr. President, I’m pleased at the way the review of the National Monuments is going. I’ll admit that I had my doubts at first, but now that I see that nothing’s going to be eliminated, that land use regulation is going to be reasonable and in tune with the wishes of local people, I’m a lot more sanguine. I’m not so happy about the Stream Protection regulations rollback, and I’ll tell you why…”
I go on for a while. I always end with the words, “…and please, for the love of God, stay off Twitter! At three in the morning, we’re all a lot happier believing the leader of the free world has something more important to do than Tweet.”
You see what I’m doing? Positive feedback, then the criticism, and finally I try to leave him laughing. Because on the off chance President Trump ever reads the message himself instead of a mere staffer, I want him to maybe listen to what I have to say and not be immediately offended and ignore me thenceforth. This is important. A lot of people respond to his Tweets with nothing but rage and insults, but I figure calling someone a “raging shitgibbon” is a poor way to convince them of anything.
I’m telling you this because the “raging shitgibbon” Tweet that I referenced has over ten thousand Likes. That’s an awful lot of people who are pretty happy about someone who would rather insult than communicate.
Our biggest problem in this country right now is that nobody’s willing to listen, to hear out someone with another viewpoint and have a discussion. A lot of people are still badly traumatized from the election; a lot of others are still too busy celebrating to want to compromise. So it’s understandable — but that’s no way to move forward. And deep down, people know that. It’s why Facebook is losing its user base; things are just too negative.
But even with all that, I’m still optimistic. Wanna know why? It’s because, despite the nasty polarizations and even in a sense because of them, for the first time in my memory people are active in politics. People who four, eight, ten, twenty years ago would never have brought the subject up in polite company, who have made a life out of having no controversial opinions — these people are weighing in. Schoolchildren are paying attention. Grassroots organizations are growing, and there are marches and protests, flags waving.
Democracy is alive and well in America, my friends.
In 2006, one of the most evil nasty corporations known to man — I forget who exactly — took out a TV ad. It was a row of doors and steps on a street in Anytown U.S.A. Pretty boring, there was a hose and some parked cars and an abandoned bike, and one of the doors had a flag up. A voice said, “Five years ago, this was what America looked like. And then 9/11 happened, and today, it looks like this.” A picture of the same street, but every door had a flag up.
Say what you will about Donald Trump, people, but I honestly think that in five or ten years, we’re going to be able to look back at this time as the moment when America woke up and took control of its politics. I am very optimistic about our future, and I think I have reason.
A couple of days ago, I got yet another spam response from the White House. The subject line was “Thank you for your feedback.” I almost deleted it, and then I got to thinking: It’s been a while since the last time I posted. Curiosity got the better of me, and I opened it.
Thank you for your kind letter and generous words of support…”
Guess he might have read one after all. Now, let’s see if he stays off Twitter at 3 A.M. I’m not holding my breath.