A letter to the editor, No. 2

Just submitted this to my local paper. They did post my letter from last week; I didn’t check to see if it was in the printed edition, but there were only 3 new letters posted online, so I’m assuming yes. Pretty sad that I had enough material for a completely new letter just one week later…

(edit: I previously accidentally posted an earlier draft instead of the final piece I sent to the paper. This is the final piece.)

Last week I wrote about several strange and disturbing occurrences that took place in the first week of Donald Trump’s presidency. Unfortunately, this week has brought several more such events to add to the list:

Four senior State Department officials were relieved of duty before successors were confirmed, leaving a gaping hole in the department’s senior management team.

President Trump signed an executive order adding Steve Bannon to the principals committee of the National Security Council. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national security were informed that they need no longer attend meetings that are not directly related to their areas of responsibility.

President Trump signed a rash and confusing executive order imposing a temporary limitation on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This order was worded in such a manner as to include legal permanent residents (“green card holders”) in those barred from entering the country. It was enacted so quickly that there was no time to plan for its implementation or to make sure those tasked with implantation fully understood the order. The administration later said that the order did not include permanent residents, but the jury is still out on whether the order was simply misunderstood, or deliberately unclear.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates instructed Department of Justice lawyers not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration, citing it as unconstitutional. She was then fired, just days before the Senate was set to confirm her replacement.

This is definitely not normal.

A letter to the editor

I’m afraid this blog has morphed into a kind of action log lately (not that I’m posting everything I do here). I should get back to writing about other stuff, but my big introvert struggle right now really is activism.

I saw another good suggestion for introvert activism– writing letters to the editor of one’s local paper. The article I saw pointed out that though it seems like no one reads these, people do, often older people who tend to come down on the conservative side of the political spectrum. So, appealing to these people might not be a bad idea.

To that end, I submitted the following letter to the editor to my local paper today:

To the editor: Several disturbing events have taken place surrounding and in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

1. A group of eight people, two French nationals and six Canadians, were denied entry into the US when they revealed that their intent was to attend the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Border agents said that attending the march was not a valid reason to enter the United States. The Canadians were told they would be arrested if they tried again to cross during the weekend, and the two French citizens were told that they would be required to apply for a visa for any future visit to the US. France is a member of the Visa Waiver Program, which allows French citizens to enter the US without a visa unless there is a pretty good reason not to allow them entry. Even if turning them away on this instance were justified (a claim that is debatable), requiring them to obtain a visa in the future because they had once tried to cross the border to attend a lawful protest is ludicrous.

2. Six journalists were charged with felonies for covering the inauguration protests. They are facing a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

3. After the National Park Service re-tweeted photos of the small inauguration crowd, the Trump administration temporarily suspended the agency’s Twitter privileges, and imposed restrictions as to what could be posted on its official social media outlets.

4. The Trump administration has instructed the Environmental Protection agency to suspend its contract and grant programs, as well as all outgoing communication, immediately and until further notice.

These things are indicative of isolationism and an attempt to control the press, both of which are detrimental to a free and democratic society in a world that gets smaller with each technological advance.

This is not normal.