The following is a letter I sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on January 8th, 2013 in response to his leadership in the Fiscal Cliff Debates.
Dear Speaker Boehner,
My name is Mary Ramirez. I am 26 years old. The man in the picture is my husband Gilberto, and he is 29. That’s our dog, Zuzu. We have no children yet, because we’ve spent the last 4 years—the first 4 years of our marriage—trying to keep our heads above water in this economy, and while we paid off expenses for my husband to legally immigrant to this country from Mexico. We’ve just recently begun to tread water, and things were getting a little better, though things are beginning to once again get worse as our economy continues to worsen.
I lived for three years in Mexico while I studied Spanish and taught English. For those three years, I lived in a socialist nation, with socialist principles, socialized medicine, socialized taxes. . . the list goes on. I witnessed firsthand the effects of corruption in Mexico, as 2 of the children I taught lost their fathers to kidnappers. Suffice it to say though it is a beautiful country, they are not free in the same definition that we understand “freedom” here in the United States. As my now-husband and I progressed in our relationship, we made the decision that when I went back to the U.S., he would come with me.
He loves his country. He misses his country- he misses his family. Nevertheless, he came because, in addition to his desire to be with me, I told him that I grew up in the greatest, freest, most prosperous nation on planet earth, and that our lives could reach a much better place if we came here. He stepped off the plane onto American soil in August 2008, and President Obama was elected just a few short months later. I cried that night, because I was all too familiar with the nature of the plans this president had then, and has now for this country. I turned to my husband in disbelief, as I told him this wasn’t the America I grew up in.
Do you know where I grew up? Let me explain. Throughout the years that my mother lovingly sacrificed her own personal career to home-school my siblings and I, there hung on the wall a simple, type-written letter on White House stationary. It was addressed to my mother, from President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan selected just a few letters at a time from the hundreds he read each day, to which he provided a personal note. My mother was one of them. I used to sit and stare at that now famous signature in awe. I learned what patriotism was from my father, my mother, and the author of that letter on the wall. I grew up head over heels in love with what this country stood for, because I knew it meant I could grow up to reach the stars if I wanted to, as long as I worked hard enough. . . because this was America.
Today, thanks to the President’s repressive policies and radical, anti-American ideology, that is no longer true. I am 26 years old. Just twenty-six years old. And I will not live in the same America my parents did. The debt I am saddled with; the debt my unborn children will be saddled with; it is such that I fear a generation or more will pass before this is fixed. . . if ever. When I am your age, Speaker Boehner, you will be long gone, but my husband and I, and our future children will still be here, living with the consequences of what you and your coworkers do every day. Do you realize that?
During this fiscal cliff debate, you had a chance to stand on principle. You had a chance to stand up for what makes this country different than any other place on earth. I am not suggesting that you dig in your heels “just because” in a fight like the one you just had in Congress- rather, I’m saying that when you’ve got something as good as what we’ve got here in the U.S., you stand up for that principle—hang the political “costs!” Though you may tell yourself that you did, you saved no one from a tax increase. Maybe my husband and I won’t see our Bush tax rate repealed (because we don’t make enough), but we’ll see it in our grocery bill, in our energy bill, in what our clothes cost, in what gas costs. . . everything. Taxes may not have gone up on the “poor” or most of the so-called “middle-class,” (though they did as it pertains to Payroll Taxes) but they went up on the job creators and the producers in this country. They must pass it along to stay afloat. We will see it.
You should have stood for what made this nation great. Instead, I think you thought you have a chance to win either in the eyes of the media, or down the road with the debt debate. Incidentally, what would posses you to believe that a man who finds it prudent support legislation that cuts $1 for every $41 in taxes would ever grant you ANYTHING in the debt ceiling debate? This is a man who to your very face denied that we have a spending problem! You had no leverage, and you have no leverage now. You were never going to win with these people. You aren’t going to win the media over. You aren’t going to win Progressive Liberals over. You’re not going to win Socialists over. You had no real choice but to stand on principle and win the American people over! And you folded. For the first time in two decades, you hitched the GOP’s wagon to the idea that higher taxes COULD solve the problem. Sadly, this nation chose to elect a man wholly unsuited to lead, and thus for the time being he IS going to get his way either way. You had a chance to say, “Mr. President, you may have the power to veto my party’s choices. You may spit in our faces. But I cannot, and I will not cede the point that taxes will fix our problems. I cannot sign away our principles that have for years made this nation great.” Instead, you ceded that very point.
Do you realize that in the 200+ years since the inception of the United States, we went from doing things the same way they had been done for 5,000 years—i.e. the horse and cart, the same tools, the same medical procedures—to putting a man on the MOON? That wasn’t happenstance. What happened in this nation when our Founders signed away their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor when they autographed the Declaration of Independence was that for the FIRST TIME in human history a place was unleashed that would be based upon the understanding of the human nature, and the harnessing of the creativity of the free man. That, sir, is what propelled us to the heights we once found ourselves.
Nearly half of this nation now receives something from the federal government, and thus it is somewhat logical to expect that they would indeed reelect the man who has continued to promise them more. BUT, this nation also elected to keep a GOP-controlled House. You had the chance to serve a bulwark against the forces that wish to see our principles tossed aside. You still have that chance, though you have severely hurt it.
Lead, Mr. Speaker. Be the leader that this President has refused to be. Allow those under your leadership in Congress to lead as well, instead of the shameful way you removed certain conservative voices from key positions. Work FOR your country, not against (however inadvertently) what it stands for. Serve the American people— who pay your salary, and have entrusted YOU with their lives and their fortunes. Our future depends on it.
Mary Carolyn Ramirez
Freelance Writer, www.afuturefree.com