An Open Letter to Members of Congress

February, 6, 2017

Dear Senators and Members of the House of Representatives:

I believe that as a nation, we are facing one of the most challenging and darkest chapters in our history. In the first few weeks of this new administration, our current president’s actions, behaviors, and language are destabilizing our governmental agencies, institutions, working people’s financial and medical safety nets, our standing among our fellow nations and making us less safe. 

Unlike certain countries, when the leader loses the confidence of the majority of members of their government, they are  are voted out. We do not have that luxury in the United States.  Here we rely on our president to have high standards, strong ethics and a commitment to the common good.  But what happens when a president fails this test, lacks moral and ethical values and views the presidency as an opportunity to increase his own wealth and power? What happens when a president refuses to release his tax returns and to put his businesses in blind trusts? What happens when the president invites his children to co-mingle private and public business? What happens when there are unanswered questions about the involvement and influence of a foreign government interfering in our elections and the legislative representatives refuse to investigate?  What happens when the president lies, makes up “alternate facts” and denigrates the press in general while specifically attacking and making  fun of individual journalists? What happens when the president creates fake news stories to distract from what is really happening? What happens when the president’s chief strategist is a known white supremacist and now sits on the National Security Council and has more influence than the Joint Chief of Staff?   What happens when the president uses his bully pulpit to target anyone or any business person that disagrees or criticizes him? What happens to consumers when Dodd-Frank is dismantled and we are once again subjected to the lawlessness and ruthlessness of Wall Street?  (That didn’t work out too well for us in 2008 as we saw the biggest financial crisis since 1929)  What happens when the president through a poorly written, unreviewed, and mean spirited  executive order bans one religious group from 7 countries from entering the US? What happens when the newly elected  temperamentally unfit president alienates one of our closest allies and threatens to invade Mexico? 

And what happens when the  Congress – one of the checks and balances that we so rely on to maintain the integrity of our Constitution is quietly complicit? What happens when Congress ignores the looming danger signs, the conflicts of interests, the attacks on the press, the dismantling of agencies, the firing of long term personnel because they see this as the time to advance their agenda and the country be damned……..

Yes, we are a nation of laws, But what happens when those charged with the responsibilities of monitoring and reviewing the president fail to do their jobs?  What happens when questions of impropriety arise and no one holds the president accountable?

Since this new president has taken office, there have been massive marches and protests.  The people of this country see the writing on the wall.  The people of this country are inclusive, caring folks who not only respect diversity, they embrace it.  The people of this country care about women’s rights, gay rights, people of color’s rights, and immigrants rights,  The people of this country care about our planet, want species to thrive, want clean water to drink, good air to breathe and recognize the dangers of climate change. The people of this country want affordable health care, good jobs and decent pay. The people of this country want financial security and a government that has laws that protect them and prosecutes those who cause harm. The people of this country want Main Street to come before Wall Street in our elected officials priorities.

The people of this country care about the truth and want transparency, integrity and accountability from our government.

I am asking you today to put aside your partisan politics and place the good of this nation and its people as your top priority.  I am asking you today to stand with the working people, the middle class of this country who give their blood, sweat and tears and expect you to have their backs. I am asking you today to not sit idly by and watch as this president destabilizes our cherished institutions and trashes our safety nets undermining the values that this country was founded on.

Our forefathers wrote, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” The people have risen to the occasion.  With or without you,  the people will prevail.  What side of justice to do you want to be on?

Sincerely,

Roberta Teller