This was the letter I wrote that got me started down this path of trying to draw attention to what has happened in our town. I wrote it out of a place of frustration because of what I was seeing happening around me. The reality is, IF Obama had wanted to create an executive order, he could have. We could have received the assistance. I know he is not 100% responsible but when I wrote I thought if I’m gonna write something it may as well start at the top. I am aware this situation is way more complicated than a signature but I believe that when one is in a position to be a leader, they should do so by example. This was his state. His people. To not step up and speak for them, is upsetting to many.
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Rebecca Richardson and I am a resident of a small little town called Washington, IL. I’ve proudly lived here for the past 12 years. My children have gone to school and grown up with their friends here. They have experienced a childhood that I’d hoped and dreamed of when I was a little girl. It is an idyllic, small AMERICAN town, one I am so very proud to be part of.
In my neighborhood, when someone drives down the street, we wave. We may not know them yet our hand extends in greeting, neighbor to neighbor, so much being said within that silent gesture.
Drive down roads in our town and you’ll see children playing outside. Snow fights in the winter;bike riding in summer. Grandparents on their porch swing, coffee in hand while their grandchild plays on the lawn.
So many years ago, you spoke so eloquently about Hope. About Change. Who sir, exactly, where you speaking to? Was it people like us? Hard working Americans who are trying to give their children a better life, a good life? People who dot this beautiful country in tiny little towns all over the U.S.? Who exactly where you making that empty promise to?
You see, I have a gift. A gift with words. Like you, I can write beautifully, speak eloquently, inspire people’s passion with my own. The difference Mr. President, between you and I, is that when I speak; when I write; the words have meaning behind them. Most importantly, sir, they have ACTION.
While you sit behind your large and important desk, approving aid to another foreign country in need, I drive down a once quite and beautiful road that is now a war zone.
Do you know what it feels like to drive your child to school and see the grill of a car on the top of a tree?
Boards where windows once stood?
Or know the feeling of gratitude that snow is hiding what you don’t want to see, the destruction underneath? I do. The people in my town do. We’ve lived it every day since November 17th.
We have our own war going on right here at home. Right in your own backyard.
While our government approves billions in aid to a foreign country, I can introduce you to some families right here, in the good old U.S. of A. who are struggling to eat. Who are waking up with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress with no insurance to get help.
Just 3 hours away from the town you once called home; my town was decimated by an F4 tornado. Just 3 hours away from your big city, my tiny little town, filled with hard working American folks is going through something horrific. They are struggling and FEMA, that joke; it’s busy denying the aid that will help our people, YOUR people get the help they need.
I ask you again sir, were is their Hope and Change? Were is the help they need to recover?
Lives have been turned upside down through an act of nature that no one saw coming. What is being done to help?
As you go through your day today shaking hands of the people in suits worth your time because they fill your election coffers; I will go about mine shaking the hands of people in my town. Asking how I can help, what I can do. I will spend today, tomorrow, every day that I can, doing my best to help the people of this small AMERICAN town rebuild.
I won’t make empty promises. I won’t give fancy speeches written by others that hold no water. Come Spring, as you attend another benefit to raise money that will certainly not benefit us, I will get in the trenches, get dirty, lift car parts off of the trees that once beautified our streets and do everything I can to help my people, my town get back on it’s feet.
FEMA can continue to deny us, based on old formulas that do not consider towns like ours but we Sir will NEVER GIVE IN OR GIVE UP.
It is a broken system. A flawed system, that continues to hurt the very people you are sworn to protect.
The chances of you seeing this are a million to 1, I know this. You know what? I’m ok with that.
Truthfully after you completely ignored us when the tornado touched down, and could not be bothered to make a trip to your own state, well I’ve pretty much come to expect that action from you IS inaction.
I am one voice sir but it is a loud one. It is only one, but one that will continue to speak for the many who are pissed off, angry, and sad. You may choose to ignore us, choose to pretend as if only the parts of America that stroke your ego exist, but I promise you I am not alone in how I feel.
Just keep something in mind, Sir President. The oath you took, the promise you made. It was to be the leader of the United States of America. The last time I checked, even my tiny small town of Washington, IL was still a part of U.S.A.
The good people of Washington, IL are #WashingtonStrong for a reason. With or without you we will rise. We will prevail. Because ACTIONS, Sir President trump pretty words, any day of the week.
R. Richardson- Proud Parent, Wife, and Washington, IL Resident.