'Most Americans are not deplorable'
An open letter to U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:
This is an open letter to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Last month Brexit came across the pond and the results were an extraordinary victory for Donald Trump and a stunned and divided nation. Blue-collar middle-class America brought Trump to victory. His supporters no longer felt helpless and alone. Now they believe that someone in Washington will listen to the views that the political elite have ignored for years. Those political elite come from both parties and they have been in the process of financially ruining America for decades.
America faces many complex and extraordinary challenges these days. The United States must confront growing issues with an expanding Islamic world, an ever-increasing national debt, daunting unfunded liabilities, unbalanced trade accounts, and loss of our manufacturing base. We must also address our decaying infrastructure, controversial immigration issues, healthcare reform and, yes, even climate change. Our elected leaders in Washington and around our country need to keep these challenges in mind.
In your open letter to President-elect Trump you attempted to intellectually eviscerate and excoriate those who did not share your views or agenda. That represents a pattern similar to your rant against conservative opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care. At that time you further stated: "Too many colleagues are embarked on a desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, obstruction and fear ... cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead." Additionally you stated "fanatics, and people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups" oppose Obamacare.
Obamacare has some excellent components to its mandate that should remain. But Obamacare failed because it is merely another tax bill disguised to address both health-care inequality and income redistribution. It further failed because young Americans (the immortals in the insurance underwriting world) didn't flock to the exchange to purchase health insurance mandated by government to subsidize someone else.
When you return to Washington also keep in mind the magnitude of the debt future generations are saddled with. Our children and grandchildren are faced with what economists refer to as "intergenerational insolvency." Future generations are faced with a "fiscal gap" approaching $200 trillion. That gap represents unfunded liabilities, including Social Security and Medicare. Maybe in some election cycle we can spend more time on a good public policy debate.
Please when you are in Washington stop categorizing those who don't share their views on life as the "creepy alt-right." In fact, we don't want to be categorized at all. We are not just black or white. We are not just straight or gay, right or left, blue or red, conservative or liberal. We are all Americans, excluding those who are here illegally. We are Americans who want our voice to be heard in Washington. Also, most Americans are not deplorable.
In closing, you should not miss this opportunity to become leaders and statesmen and to work to bring this fractured nation together when you return to Washington. With our new president, this democratic republic will withstand the challenges of this transformation. Our next president never held elected office and is a political newcomer to the Washington beltway. President-elect Trump and the American people deserve political civility and the help of Congress in this transition. Please do not censor or ridicule those who don't share their views. Embrace those views if they can be part of a constructive debate about good public policy. Remember, everybody is not like you.
Finally, in my opinion America has always been great. Good public policy should strive to make America even better. Good luck to you, Congress and President-elect Trump. I wish America and its citizens the very best in the days ahead.
Dr. Stephen T. Skoly
D. Stephen T. Skoly is a Rhode Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Executive Producer of the documentary film “Fixing America.”