Hey Guys! It so good to be back and able to share my stuff in this sweet looking new format. I’ve got so much stuff that has been sitting around that’s been waiting for the website re-launch! I hope enjoy it all!

My mother has always been a letter writer. I speak on the phone with her once a week and still, more often than not, I receive a handwritten letter between calls. More important to this story is the fact that she has never been afraid to write letters to strangers.

My childhood is filled with wonderful stories and experiences thanks to my mother’s letter writing efforts. There was the time we found a small piece of metal in a piece of Oscar Mayer deli meat. I remember watching her sit at the table handwriting a letter to the company and carefully taping the piece of metal to the letter. One day a man in a suit knocked on our door. He was from Oscar Mayer and he was there to personally apologize…and take us shopping! Better still was the time she wrote to a company that made brass polish (I wish I could remember their name) to tell them how great their product was but she couldn’t find it in the town we moved to. Could they suggest somewhere for her to get it? Next thing you know we receive a giant box filled with the complete line of their polishing products!

The point I’m getting to is this, I’ve seen first hand the power that a letter can have. Which brings me to Zimbabwe. Thanks to BBC America World News in the morning I’ve developed a horrid fascination with the country. Anyway, what follows outlines the country’s tale of woe so I won’t lay it out here. However to sum up, one day I just got so mad at the circumstances there I found myself swearing at the television. But what to do? I’m not rich, I’m not a celebrity, I’m not a politician (I know some exist that are neither wealthy nor have a celebrity level profile), I’m just a schmo. Then it hit me, I could write a letter. Not send an email to a website, but an honest to goodness, put it in an envelope and slap a stamp on it letter. And that’s just what I did.

Of course, who should I send the letter to? Well, Obama and McCain want my vote, don’t they? Then of course there are my senators Clinton and Schumer, they need my votes too, right? And since the letter referenced the run off elections in Zimbabwe taking place near the end of June, I begrudgingly acknowledged that perhaps George W. should get a letter. Why choose? I sent the same letter to all of them. I made sure to let them know who else was getting the letter, no secrets here!

See my letter below:

6/7/08

Dear Elected Official:

I never thought I would write this letter. I mean, the possibility of me writing to you, or probably more accurately, one of your staff, always existed. I just assumed if it ever happened it would be to address some of my concerns about the challenges our country faces, such as the need for health care reform, a restoration of civil liberties, the ever-widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, or perhaps my belief that homosexuals deserve the right to marry. Instead, I’m writing to you about Zimbabwe.

I blame the BBC. I never would have known anything about Zimbabwe if it wasn’t for BBC America World News. I took notice when they started reporting about skyrocketing inflation in the country. Eventually climaxing with Zimbabweans making startling statements such as a loaf of bread now costs as much as what they paid for their home when they first purchased it. As a rabid believer in the freedom of speech, what came next was horrifying. Newspaper offices were being raided and shut down. All the foreign press was kicked out the country. Suddenly my BBC reports were coming from Johannesburg. Seriously, who kicks out the BBC?

Then came the elections. How long should it take to determine who wins a presidential election? Yet, Zimbabwe still awaits the answer. Stories keep coming out of people being beaten, detained, and killed, just for voting for the MDC candidate. Now the government has ordered that all aid organizations must re-register because of alleged political involvements, thus depriving millions of Zimbabweans of aid they need while the organizations go through the process. There’s speculation that the government is doing this so that they can offer aid for votes for the current government. To make matters even worse, the opposition candidate keeps being detained by the government when he tries to campaign for the run off election!

Why on Earth do I care so much about Zimbabwe? As a proud American, how can I not? What the people of Zimbabwe are going through is the worst-case scenario that our founding fathers imagined when starting our new country. President Mugabe helped the people of Zimbabwe break free of British colonial rule. Now he and his government, for lack of a better phrase, have become tyrants, unwilling to surrender their authority, seemingly unable to help the countrymen they originally sought to liberate. Some say this is why our country has the Second Amendment.

My husband once told me that you can’t force democracy on people, they have to want it. The people of Zimbabwe don’t just want it; they are fighting and dying for it. The people of Zimbabwe are our kinsmen. Our country more than any other should understand their plight, it’s written into our nation’s DNA.

Please, tell me there is something our country can do to help Zimbabwe.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Elson

cc: President George W. Bush
Senator John McCain
Senator Barack Obama
Senator Hillary Clinton
Senator Charles Schumer

To keep learn more about what’s happening in Zimbabwe, visit: www.bbc.com/zimbabwe. I’ll be sure to post any responses I receive here, so stay tuned!






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