Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving, Senator McConnell

Dear Senator McConnell:

I purposely omitted “Happy” from the title because I am sticking to my honesty campaign and, the truth is, Thanksgiving is not the happiest day of the year for me. I do, however, have much to be thankful for I just rehash those things every day except the one day assigned. I’m rebellious that way; never loved anyone more because it was Valentine’s Day, or dreaded winter any more or less because of something a groundhog did or did not see.

Thanksgiving will always live under the cloud of having been the day my father was diagnosed with cancer and, consequently, the day my happy world changed. I had known disappointments before then, even had some complications in my life at the time, but nothing (so far) compares to the devastation I felt that day (although December 13, 2000 was a close second). I knew my father would not survive because his eyes died that Thanksgiving Day, resembling the heartbreaking, lost forever look in the eyes of many fighters returning from war. I hope you have met a few so you will understand what I’m talking about.

I’m writing this while my pumpkin cake cooks, and I’ll go through the motions tomorrow, preparing the rest of the meal, smiling and playing games with the family, and allowing myself one day of the year to be defiantly thankful even though I know it is irrational to begrudge a day for causing me sorrow. I’ll post this tonight but expect you and your staff to be out tomorrow. When that occurred to me, I wondered who you will think of most on your day off – the unemployed who wish they didn’t have another day off, the people fighting the wars you started, or maybe the people who are stuck in hospitals receiving cancer diagnoses and hoping you heard Wendell Potter’s confession about destroying Michael Moore’s movie SICKO and creating the fake grassroots group that purposely destroyed our ability to have an honest debate about health care reform.

If you let me know which library is most convenient for you, I’ll have them hold Mr. Potter’s book, Deadly Spin, for you. Maybe, you will be thankful for the opportunity to denounce your Party for stealing the truth from the public, and for the opportunity to apologize for your continuance of that deception, and most of all the opportunity to call press conferences, appear on talk shows, and speak with newspaper reporters to set the record straight. If timing ever worked this well for me, I would be extremely grateful.

As I watched my father die, and as I contemplated my own mortality a couple of times, I realized some of the things that I am most grateful for (364 days a year). One of those is that money really does not matter in the big picture. Sure, it’s nice to be able to afford effective pain management when terminal, or when politicians have decided that tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% are more important than universal health care, or even affordable medications, but money cannot buy peace of mind, a clear conscience, a second chance to make things right, or respect.

I guess, on Friday, I will be grateful to you for reminding me how grateful I am that my father spent his life giving to others, harming no one, playing fair, lifting everyone he met, and honestly making this a better world just by being himself. If given the opportunity to choose a perfect life, I would have to say that I have had it because I was raised by an honest, loving man. Maybe he set the standards too high, and that's why I expect so much more than I get from you.

Today, I ask you to consider history and legacy. Your name will appear in the history books, possibly as one of the people instrumental in bringing down the Unites States of America. I’m not sure that even our enemies will consider you a hero for that; I think it will be an ugly page that no one should truly want to see their name on. If it all falls apart tomorrow, or even if things continue as they are headed, I believe this is how you will be remembered. No amount of money, or power, or Texas textbooks will change that. The truth lives in all of us, and it will live for generations after you are gone. My grandchildren will carry their knowledge and disdain for you the same as they carry love and respect for the great grandfather they never met, as will many others.

You have time, Senator McConnell, to make things right and to change that legacy. In one day, you could stand before the public and clean things up. You could correct the lies your party spread about health care reform, and be honest about what a mistake it would be to borrow money to help the top 2% move more jobs overseas while the middle class dies. You could admit the accomplishments President Obama has made and vow to help him improve on those to make up for your obstructionism this past year. And you could surely influence Senator Kyle regarding START and become a hero for making the world a safer place.

I will be thankful if you do.



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