An Open Letter to Mr. Newt Gingrich


                                                                                                                                                                December 3, 2011

Dear Mr. Gingrich,         
                     
I am the child of two U.S. Army veterans, both discharged honorably. My father returned from his most recent tour in Iraq in 2005, even though he was in his 50's.  My father was a deputy sheriff until he was forced to retire due to the medical complications from a parasite he contracted while fighting in Iraq.  He has fought for our country multiple times, and when home, continued to protect and serve.  He has his faults, and throughout my life, I have not always understood all of his decisions. What I have always understood is that even with those faults, he is a man who has thoroughly earned his dignity and the respect of others. 

My mother is a Bookkeeper. She began independently studying this field when she was 22 years old as, on a cop’s salary, we couldn't afford college courses. She has done remarkably well in her career and is now the Director of Accounting for the corporation she works for. My mother taught us kindness, patience, and how to care for ourselves and others. Most importantly, she taught us that if we are willing to put forth the effort, we can accomplish anything. At that point in time, this was true. 

I learned the basics of bookkeeping from my mother throughout my childhood. When I learned I was pregnant with my daughter, she began instructing me on the remainder. I am now an eleven year seasoned Full Charge Bookkeeper. I also obtained a college education, and have many other accomplishments. I have the same drive as my mother in regard to personal and professional improvement.  I am an all American Over-Achiever.  

My mother is currently “Middle Class”. My father has always been poor, and I am poor. Please do explain to me how my child, or myself as a child, only learn the work ethics of criminals? In addition to that, I have been unemployed for longer than I care to recall, and I bathe daily. I also pursue every employment opportunity I can find. These positions have included both that are at my skill level and low skill, low pay positions. In all, over the course the past month, I have applied to nearly two hundred positions. On each occasion I have actually been lucky enough to speak to someone regarding a particular employment position, I was informed that I was competing with hundreds of other highly qualified candidates. Please, take a moment to allow that to soak in. 

The majority of those I know earn less than $30,000 on average. We are not drug addicts, dealers, criminals, or chronic well fare abusers.  We are almost all poor now.  We are also, almost all unemployed or under-employed. Every one of us is happy and willing to work, including hard labor and in positions with no relation to our normal fields. We all welcome the prospect of work in any form, given it is not slave labor or morally degrading. Most importantly, Mr. Gingrich, we are deserving of far more respect than you have offered. 

Each and every one of us go to work every day possible and on any shift available. We are the professionals whose companies have failed, we are the nurses whose hours have been cut, we are the cashiers at retail stores, we are the teachers whose programs lost funding, and we are the people you rely on every single day. Everyone who makes an honest effort to work, whether it be at a gas station, or The White House, deserves the same respect. 

There are people who live in poverty as a result of their choices, and some who choose to expose their children to lives of crime. It is true that this is a tragic problem; but, your comments regarding poverty and the unemployed included an enormous population that does not fit into this category other than in financial or employment status, and those comments were deplorable. In fact, more of us currently living in poverty do not fit into your description of us. Your views on the poor population are as ill informed as they can possibly be. 

What message would it send to a small child, and yes sir you are speaking of small children, to have them clean up after the more fortunate INSTEAD of enjoying some of the same privileges? Yes, this approach would help the families ease their financial burdens, but what would happen to the family of the previous janitors who would then be unemployed or under-employed? Robbing Peter to pay Paul will eventually fail, as our economy should have taught you.  

Of those I do know who are fortunate enough to have one income households and still survive; most of their children do not learn work ethics nearly as thoroughly as my child does. In fact, most of their children are a bit spoiled and lazy, though not all. Some are outright self righteous with what I believe to be major entitlement issues. My child understands that whether feeling well or not, whether I am needed elsewhere or not, I have to work if I can. She understands that to not work means to struggle to survive, and that to work hard full time, means to enjoy more things in life. She understands that to not work often means that only the child can eat. She understands that one's job is one's way through this life. She also knows that to work hard at her education is to venture down a more secure road, or so we believed. I am certain that the plethora of unemployed, poor, college graduates would argue that statement at this point. 

I have taught my child that everyone is equal, and that what is not equal, is personal choice. Those who chose to be lazy, and refuse to seek self improvement will suffer hardships that are avoidable. Those who chose to continue forward regardless of the hurdle will, at least one day, succeed.  I have taught her, and will continue to teach her, that those who have the ability have the responsibility. My ten year old daughter understands that if someone is less fortunate than you are, you do not intentionally increase their burdens. You help them learn to overcome them. She understands that by teaching and guiding others toward self improvement, you stand to improve both of you. How is it that my small child understands this and you do not? I do not believe that enabling is the answer, in fact that will feed the beast; however, placing the financial burdens of a household into the responsibility of a child robs them of that very childhood and degrades their potential. It is as morally sound as those who do expose their children to lives of crime. In either instance, the child is forced to suffer and sacrifice because of circumstances fully outside of their control.  My child does, by the way, earn her own money when the work and funds are available. She does yard work or chores for neighbors, etc. The substantial difference between what my daughter does, and your grotesque suggestion, is that she is free to determine this day by day, and these are only her responsibility for the day she decides to accept the job. The remainder of her free time, she is free to be a child. The funds she earns from these things are also simply for her to spend on things small children enjoy buying, and not as a duty to help support her family. She does not yet have a family to support. Your suggestion would bind her to adult responsibilities and deprive her of what could otherwise be joyous childhood memories and various learning experiences.  

You have made quite clear that your personal belief is that all who suffer deserve to suffer, but please take a moment to remember that you were only able to receive that large sum of money from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae because OUR hard-earned money paid for it. Please remember that these hard working people, whose tax dollars have financed your luxurious lifestyle, are the same as the poor people you state are all criminals, and the unemployed who would have work if they simply bathed. I’m sure that your response to this will be that every American should have become a Wall Street big wig, big business CEO, or a politician, but some of us have dignity.

I am certain that you will not read this letter in its entirety, if at all. If you should read it, I am certain you will not listen as your paycheck was signed by those who have walked our country directly into despair. I do promise you though, that I will share my views contained in this letter with everyone I encounter who may intend to vote for you. I promise you that after they look into my face, and upon my demeanor, they will know I am truthful. I promise you that should they not believe the extent of my efforts in obtaining employment for example, I will promptly prove it.  All the money that you have behind you cannot purchase one’s dignity sir, and you have no right to attempt to diminish mine. 


With True Sincerity,


Patricia Williams

3 comments:

  1. great letter. Couldn't agree more!

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  2. Thanks Mary! I also sent it to his campaign, and since I couldn't sleep, I posted it as a comment under a whole bunch of news articles about him today. I figure he's full of himself enough to read them. If not, maybe some (soon to be former) supporters will.

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