An Open Letter to the Current Occupant
from Ed Chasteen
February 20, 2017
I come from a long line of poor people. Neither grandmother could read or write. With an eighth grade education and a shovel, my dad started as a ditch digger. Mother’s dad had no formal education, thought only scarlet women went to college and refused to let her go. I became her surrogate and went in her place. They are all dead and gone now and I am old. Fifty-one years in the same house, 30 years at the same job and 60 years married to the same wife.
I taught race relations from the 1960’s in this place where I came straight from grad school, a place known irreverently among us long-timers as “this little pissant college in this little podunk town”. Because I have loved it here and found ways to involve myself and my students in the lives of our people, I never could leave. I could have gone elsewhere and taught the same books, but I couild never know the people and the issues as my long tenure in this place makes possible.
We started the Ethnic Activities Center of Mid-America, the Human Family Reunion and HateBusters. I wrote How To Like People Who Are not Like You. We taught it everywhere we could wrangle an invitation. All for free.
Sir, in the November 2016 election you carried my ward, my town, my county and my state. People around me are hurting and need the help you promised. If I thought you understood their need, if I thought you had a plan that would meet the need, if I thought you had the skills to work with congress and the courts, if I thought you would draw to yourself the best and the brightest to advise you; then I, too, would have voted for you.
I did not expect you to win. I did not want you to win. I did not vote for you. But eternal optimist that I am, I hoped you would rise to the occasion. Instead, you distract with accusations of fake news. You make clearly untruue and unneseccary claims of voter fraud and crowd size and electoral vote margins.You fire people who express any independence. You do not let cabinet members select their own staff. You micro-manage.
You sir, were born rich. You have grown richer. You are an ocean liner. I am a rowboat. You fly as an owner in a plane with your name on it. I pedal a bicycle that says HateBusters and has my name in script. You say you care about my people and our struggles. How could you? Empathy does not appear a quality you posses. You have no first hand experience. Rather, there is a long list of folks who claim they are your victims. Your talent for keeping people down has been on display for a lifetime. At helping people up you are a novice with no evident desire to learn.
I said to all who asked for months before the election that anyone in any way associated with your name would thereby be made less. I see no reason a month after the election to say otherwise. Now that our country has been made less, many are beginning to realize that their vote for a rich man in love with himself does nothing to ease their burdens. When all see their lives made no better by your high office, who can predict what remedy they will seek?
Make America great again?