"You can kill the Protester, but you can't kill the Protest." ---Anti-Flag
An Open Letter to the President
Dear Mr. President:
I wanted to write to you because I had some concerns that are not yet present, but I thought you could give me some advice. You see, I have an eight month old daughter who every day seems to be getting stronger and wiser. She is the joy of my life, truly a blessing. I know that I'm jumping the gun, but I started thinking about her future. I started thinking about how I could be the best example of a human being, with all my imperfections, with all my doubts and fears. I think about the questions she may ask me, and I'm not sure what to say. I thought of you, and perhaps what you might say to help me out. You are a leader of a great nation, and you have two daughters who seem to be doing o.k. You were put into office by the will of God, (and apparently by many believers who believe you are the will of God).
Anyway, my daughter's name is Saskia. It's not really American, but you might like the meaning. It means "Protector of her people." What a powerful name, huh? I thought you'd like it. You probably feel like the protector of your people. I bet! I like it too (wink! wink!). What I struggle with, though, is how to direct her towards truth? What do I tell her about equality when we live in a world devised and structured on inequality? How do I tell her that because of her genitilia that she will be considered less than a male? How do I tell her that because of her Daddy's blood running in her veins that so many in the world will hate her? That she'll pass better than her daddy because of her mommy's blood, but still be tainted to many people? That black blood is less than the price of oil (remember Rwanda?)? Rwanda is this almost invisible country in Africa. Not too many people think about it, that's for sure, but I swear, it exists. There are almost a million graveyard voices screaming out to be remembered. But don't worry, Rwanda is not your concern. I'm sure if you were in office you would have done something during the genocide that took place, huh? Send some food? Even pray? I know you would, Mr. President. I am certain of this.
Back to my daughter.
What do I tell her about killing people? I mean how do I make a distinction between our noble war in Iraq and other countries compared to the wars waged in America? The ones between this gang and that gang? The war between the races? The war against homosexuals? The war between the blue and red states? And all the casualties that happen? I mean why is it more noble to kill on foreign land than on our own? Why are gang bangers criminals, but not soldiers? Please don't misunderstand me, I SUPPORT our troops. I REALLY support them. I do, but I feel that my daughter is going to have a difficult time understanding how some murder is o.k. and others are not. It's confusing to me, and I'm an adult! Why is it less evil to shoot someone in the head than cutting off someone's head? Or why do we pretend that war is noble, or there is a nobility in carrying out murder? Or that the justice that happens on American streets between young black or Hispanic boys killing off competition is so much more evil than the "friendly" justice that happens to innocent lives in Iraq or Afghanistan? True, the blacks and Hispanics never really get to own anything, but still, do any of us ever own anything? And like how is the death penalty not murder, if abortion is, wouldn't the death penalty be as well, especially since we know about the innocents who have been put to death. Is that the democracy we want to bring to Iraq? Just wondering. And what is a woman supposed to do? I'm talking about a woman who gets beaten by her husband. Raped by him. Almost killed by him before she strikes back. Isn't that self-defense? The perservation of life? The man's foot who kicks her in the belly when she's pregnant, should not that foot be torn apart? What do I tell my daughter to do if a man ever puts his hand on her? What do I tell her about how the cops don't respond to domestic violence very well. Sure they do on the T.V. show Cops, but that's not the norm. Too many women who are in hiding now to disprove that theory. Is that the answer? Run and hide? How do I teach her how to become an activist? To fight the causes our government won't fight? I need to know, Mr. President. I need some guidance.
How will I tell my daughter who her enemies are? What languages do they speak? What countries do they live in? And with all due respect, please don't say that her enemy is anyone who fights against American freedom. There are plenty of black necks that have been hung by American freedom fighters. Plenty of gays and lesbians who have been victimized by these proud, God-fearing Americans. Who is/are the enemy god(s)? Is it Allah? Shiva? Buddha? HaShem? Christ? Will her enemies bleed like her? Think like her? Will her enemies fear her? Will her enemies be her friends? AM I HER ENEMY? I told you it was confusing. That's why I need a leader who has his ear on the pulse to help me understand. Because I have to be honest with you, I don't like how we've glossed over all the tragedies of this war we are fighting in Iraq. You can be honest with me. There are many children, women and men who have unjustly died by American hands, right? No judgment, if you're honest with me. I just want truth. I mean it's not just those bad terrorists who have stolen lives, or is it? Oh, before I forget, please speak with your impish spokesman/warrior Donald Rumsfeld, because he is screwing things up for you. He recently said that it's not our American troops responsibility to clean up the mess of all those insurgents in Iraq. He said that those insurgents are the responsibility of the Iraqi soldiers. Please let D.R. (I feel like I know him) know that those insurgents were not there before we arrived. I'm sure this was a small oversight on his part, but he is one of your spokesman, and I wouldn't want him to get his facts out of sorts. I'm sure you'll correct this.
What do I tell my daughter about female genital mutilation (FGM)? I'm sure you are aware about how serious a problem this is over in Africa. If not, check up on it: http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/femgen/fgm1.htm#a1. Be prepared to be disturbed. I'm sure glad that I do not live in Africa. Couldn't stand to know that this procedure might be done to my daughter. But is this really our problem? I mean since it doesn't affect me/us as Americans should I even care? And how much should I care? Would I be noble to educate those primitives? Or would I be justified to make a bigger statement by killing off anyone who performs such torturous acts? I think that would be just as noble as oil or democracy, no?
Or the A.I.D.S. problem? And we can't just blame it on the gays anymore. I know how much that must stink for some of your supporters, but what can we do? The facts are the facts. And so you can feel the importance of it. It's not just an African thing. It's a problem right here on our own soil. The fastest growing numbers are found in married heterosexual women. I know how much this information must bother some of your moralizers, but I just wanted you to be informed. I want to be able to give my daughter hope, not fear.
Whew! These sure are tough questions. Now you know why I needed your help in the first place. I hope you get the time to respond to me, because I have a funny little feeling that you know the answer to some of my concerns. There are other questions too, but maybe I should wait for your reply. I know you are a busy man, but I hope this gets to you. Just have some of your faithful keep an eye on me and they will see this letter, and then they can alert you . . . of my concern. I love my country, and I am a proud patriot . . . of this world. You see, I don't think that it's fair for God to bless [just] America. I think God should bless all. Don't you agree? Afterall, it's upon this principle why the founding fathers were able to steal, murder and rape this land away from the Native Residents before they were known as Americans. So, let's start practicing that mantra: God Bless All. It's catchy like: 4 MORE YEARS.
Well, I don't want to take up any more of your time, because I know you are a busy man. I just wanted to get your input. So, I thank you even before your response. I am sure you will answer when you have a moment to breathe. I send you prayers and laughter, Mr. Prez. (I know that was a little informal, but you seem to be a down-to-earth kinda guy. I was almost tempted to say, "Rock on!" But I thought better of it.)
Dr. Michael Fowlin