Reporter's Note: The President of the United States wants suggestions on how to run the nation. I, a citizen of the United States, write a letter every day in hopes of being helpful. You can’t say I’m not trying.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
Here’s something I don’t get. Politicians are always saying that Americans should pull together. We should be more bipartisan. We should unite to promote understanding, acceptance, and implementation of the President’s plans.
Mind you, there is a caveat here: I’m talking about the party in charge at any given moment. They are the ones who say this, and of course they would. If everyone gets behind the ruling party’s leaders, it’s easier to lead. The party out of power? You don’t often hear them rattling on that way.
But back to my point. We’re always told to join forces, all strive toward the same goals; but as soon we do, if it makes Washington nervous, we’re accused of being a senseless mob. People from the Lexus and loafer set start lobbing around the word “populism” as if it’s something they found molding at the bottom of the pool.
Take the continuing uproar over these AIG bonus bucks. I fully understand that the public outcry casts a shadow of torches and pitchforks, and it is fair to say we may not look our best as a culture when we are carving a big slice of revenge off of some greedy guy’s posterior. Even if he deserves it. But it strains patience, for Washington to be tsk tsk’ing the incivility of regular people right now, when those regular people are struggling just to keep afloat on much less per decade than just one of these infamous bonus checks. That’s uncivil.
I’m sympathetic to the argument that even these bonus collectors have families and might fear for their safety if this gets anymore out of hand. But what about the safety of the millions of other families who right now are terrified over losing their jobs, their houses, their kids’ college funds, and more because of what the bonus crowd did? I know the money gang keeps saying it’s not their fault, but that’s like walking out of a room full of oily rags, matches, and monkeys and saying, “Well, it wasn’t on fire when I left!”
I thought I had a solution: Give them the checks. Staple them at noon next Saturday to a post in the middle of Central Park. No one will release anyone’s name. No one who is afraid of “the mob” has to come get it. But then it occurred to me: Washington isn’t afraid of the “mob” for the sake of these rich guys.
Washington is afraid for itself. Voters knew the money guys wanted the money. That’s what makes them money guys. What we didn’t know is that the very leaders, Democratic and Republican, who promised that our tax dollars would not go for this kind of payout would be so inept at fulfilling that promise.
Frankly, I think those are the folks who the mob is really after.
There. Now I feel better.
Hope all is well with you and yours, and that the family has a great weekend. Chat on Monday?
For more of the Foreman Letters, go here.
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