I'm On A Drug... (pradagirl) wrote in liberal,
I'm On A Drug...
pradagirl
liberal

An Open Letter to The Red States

I am writing this letter to the people in the red states in the middle of
the country -- the people who voted for George W. Bush. I am writing this
letter because I don't think we know each other.

So I'll make an introduction. I am a New Yorker who voted for John Kerry.
I used to live in California, and if I still lived there, I would vote for
Kerry. I used to live in Washington, DC, and if I still lived there, I
would vote for Kerry. Kerry won in all three of those regions.

Maybe you want to know more about me. Or maybe not; maybe you think you
know me already. You think I am some anti-American anarchist because I
dislike George W. Bush. You think that I am immoral and anti-family,
because I support women's reproductive freedom and gay rights. You think
that I am dangerous, and even evil, because I do not abide by your religious
beliefs.

Maybe you are content to think that, to write me off as a "liberal" -- the
dreaded "L" word -- and rejoice that your candidate has triumphed over evil,
immoral, anti-American, anti-family people like me. But maybe you are still
curious. So here goes: this is who I am.

I am a New Yorker. I was here, in my apartment downtown, on September 11th.
I watched the Towers burn from the roof of my building. I went inside so
that I couldn't see them when they fell. I had friends who were inside. I
have a friend who still has nightmares about watching people jump and fall
from the Towers. He will never be the same. How many people like him do
you know? People that can't sit in a restaurant without plotting an escape
route, in case it blows up?


I am a worker. I work across the street from the Citigroup Center, which
the government told us is a "target" of terrorism. Later, we found out they
were relaying very old information, but it was already too late. They had
given me bad dreams again. The subway stop near my office was crowded with
bomb-sniffing dogs, policemen in heavy protective gear, soldiers. Now,
every time I enter or exit my office, all of my possessions are X-rayed to
make sure I don't have any weapons. How often are you stopped by a soldier
with a bomb-sniffing dog outside your office?

I am a neighbor. I have a neighbor who is a 9/11 widow. She has two
children. My husband does odd jobs for her now, like building bookshelves.
Things her husband should do. He uses her husband's tools, and the two
little girls tell him, "Those are our daddy's tools." How many 9/11 widows
and orphans do you know? How often do you fill in for their dead loved
ones?

I am a taxpayer. I worked my butt off to get where I did, and so did my
parents. My parents saved and borrowed and sent me to college. I worked my
way through graduate school. I won a full tuition scholarship to law
school. All for the privilege of working 2,600 hours last year. That works
out to a 50 hour week, every week, without any vacation days at all. I get
to work by 9 am and rarely leave before 9 pm. I eat dinner at my office
much more often than I eat dinner at home. My husband and I paid over
$70,000 in federal income tax last year. At some point in the future, we
will have to pay much more -- once this country faces its deficit and the
impossible burden of Social Security. In fact, the areas of the country
that supported Kerry -- New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts --
they are the financial centers of the nation. They are the tax base of this
country. How much did you pay, Kansas? How much did you contribute to this
government you support, Alabama? How much of this war in Iraq did you pay
for?

I am a liberal. The funny part is, liberals have this reputation for living
in Never-Neverland, being idealists, not being sensible. But let me tell
you how I see the world: I see America as one nation in a world of nations.
Therefore, I think we should try to get along with other nations. I see
that gay people exist. Therefore, I think they should be allowed to exist,
and be treated the same as other people. I see ways in which women are not
allowed to control their own bodies. Therefore, I think we should give
women more control over their bodies. I see that people have awful
diseases. Therefore, I think we should enable scientists to try to cure
them. I see that we have a Constitution. Therefore, I think it should be
upheld. I see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Therefore, I think that Iraq was not an imminent danger to me. It seems so
pragmatic to me. How do you see the world? Do you really think voting
against gay marriage will keep people from being gay? Would you really
prefer that people continue to die from Parkinson's disease? Do you really
not care about the Constitutional rights of political detainees? Would you
really have supported the war if you knew the truth, or would you have
wanted to spend more of our money on health care, job training, terrorism
preparedness?

I am an American. I have an American flag flying outside my home. I love
my home more than anything. I love that I grew up right outside New York
City. I first went to the Statue of Liberty with my 5th grade class, and my
mom and dad took me to the Empire State Building when I was 8. I love
taking the subway to Yankee Stadium. I loved living in Washington DC and
going on dates to the Lincoln Memorial. It is because I love this country
so much that I argue with my political opponents as much I do.

I am not safe. I never feel safe. My in-laws live in a small town in Ohio,
and that town has received more federal funding, per capita, for terrorism
preparedness than New York City has. I take subways and buses every day. I
work in a skyscraper across the street from a "target." I have emergency
supplies and a spare pair of sneakers in my desk, in case somethng happens
while I'm at work. Do you? How many times a month do you worry that your
subway is going to blow up? When you hear sirens on the street, do you run
to the window to make sure everything is okay? When you hear an airplane,
do you flinch? Do you dread beautiful, blue-skied September days? I don't
know a single New Yorker who doesn't spend the month of September on
tip-toes, superstitiously praying for rain so we don't have to relive that
beautiful, blue-skied day.

I am lonely. I feel that we, as a nation, have alienated all our friends
and further provoked our enemies. I feel unprotected. Most of all I feel
alienated from my fellow citizens, because I don't understand what you are
thinking. You voted for a man who started a war in Iraq for no reason,
against the wishes of the entire world. You voted for a man whose lack of
foresight and inability to plan has led to massive insurgencies in Iraq,
where weapons are disappearing into the hands of terrorists. You voted for
a man who let Osama Bin Laden escape into the hills of Afghanistan so that
he could start that war in Iraq. You voted for a man who doesn't want to
let people love who they want to love; doesn't want to let doctors cure
their patients; doesn't want to let women rule their destinies. I don't
understand why you voted for this man. For me, it is not enough that he is
personable; it is not enough that he seems like one of the guys. Why did
you vote for him? Why did you elect a man that lied to us in order to
convince us to go to war? (Ten years ago you were incensed when our
president lied about his sex life; you thought it was an impeachable
offense.) Why did you elect a leader who thinks that strength cannot
include diplomacy or international cooperaton? Why did you elect a man who
did nothing except run away and hide on September 11?

Most of all, I am terrified. I mean daily, I am afraid that I will not
survive this. I am afraid that I will lose my husband, that I will never
have children, that I will never grow old and watch the sunset in a backyard
of my own. I am afraid that my career -- which should end with a triumphant
and good-natured roast at a retirement party in 2035 -- will be cut short by
an attack on me and my colleagues, as we sit sending emails and making phone
calls one ordinary afternoon. Is your life at stake? Are you terrified?

I don't think you are. I don't think you realize what you have done. And
if anything happens to me or the people I love, I blame you. I wanted you
to know that.
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