Open Letter to President Trump. On Asian Americans

Photo by James Wheeler on

Dear Sir,

I was glad to hear that you came out asking people to not hesitate and take the vaccine against the coronavirus. It will make a tremendous difference and, no doubt, save lives as a result.

Thank you for that.

I would now like to ask if you would be so kind as to put out a general appeal to all people to please refrain from showing hostility to Asian Americans.

The number of hate crimes against them has increased.

Your having called the corona virus the ‘Wuhan virus’ has not helped. You labelled it as such because you thought it would boost you in your campaign. But that is now over.

Members of the World Health Organization have travelled to China to investigate how the pandemic started. It will take time, maybe even years, before that matter is fully resolved.

And, for sure, Asian Americans have got nothing to do with how the pandemic came about.

Nothing at all.

They are our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors, doctors and nurses, engineers and technicians, scientists and artists, servers and cooks, workers in all fields of endeavor, contributing their best effort to the progress of this nation.

And yet, some people, angry with all the restrictions and losses the pandemic has forced upon us, and unable to reflect on the complexities involved, have chosen to act irrationally and vent their anger on Asian Americans.

There is no justification whatsoever for such violence.

As you well know, we have a long history in this nation of targeting minorities with tragic consequences. You, yourself, have done so. But perhaps you can now rise above it and plead for thoughtful and considerate behavior.

People are capable of evolving and finding their better selves. We all are. You, too.

You didn’t get reelected but you still got 74 million votes.

A call from you to show moderation and respect for others, no matter how superficially different they may be, will likely do us a lot of good.

And help us on the path to greater self knowledge for, as they are us, we are them.

Thank you, Mr President.

Oscar Valdes

Letter sent to President Trump. Mar a Lago Resort.

1100 So Ocean Blvd

Palm Beach. Florida, 33480

Georgetown Law Makes the Wrong Call

In an article published yesterday in the New York Times, Sandra A. Sellers, a law professor of almost 20 years with the school made the following statement to another professor at the end of a virtual class. The professors were unaware that the recording had continued.

“You know what? I hate to say this,” Ms. Sellers said on the video. “I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks — happens almost every semester. And it’s like, ‘Oh, come on.’ You know? You get some really good ones. But there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy.”

The remarks were deemed racist by the Black Law Students Association which called for the professor to be terminated. She resigned. Here’s the link to the article.

I read the professor’s statement and my impression is that the university overreacted.

Ms Sellers is an experienced professor. She’s making an assessment of her students’ capabilities. In her class, there have been some Black students who have not performed to her expectations. But some have. ‘You get some really good ones.’

When professor Sellers says, ‘It drives me crazy,’ I hear despair rather than a racist sentiment.  Unfortunately, she didn’t act on it.

Since she’s had this impression for a while, she should have brought it up to the administration and asked for additional assistance for the students. That would have been more fruitful than sitting on her frustration.

I do not think her statement constitutes ground for her dismissal.

The sentiment she expressed may be present in other teachers. The lack of students’ performance may be present in other classes.

Because of systemic racism, some students may not be well prepared and will need help.

Georgetown Law can provide that help and should.

Ms Sellers statements are reason for Georgetown Law to do some serious reflecting.

Are they giving a pass to some Black students because they are Black?

If so, that doesn’t help anybody. It doesn’t help Black students because if not properly prepared they will have problems in the fiercely competitive workplace.

The task of the university is not to react unthinkingly to an accusation of this type, but to examine it in detail, and make sure that any Black student who shows problems with their studies gets all the help they need to be the best they can be. At the university’s expense.

That’s how we overcome systemic racism.

Professor Sellers should be brought back and put in charge of groups for professors to air their views. In private. Without a video playing.

Andrew Cuomo and The Allegations of Sexual Harassment

It’s been hard for most of us men to learn but learn we must. Women are fast moving into positions of leadership in whatever fields they enter, and they demand that they not be objectified. (as in seen only as sexual beings).

The message is clear. We, men, have been slow to get it.

Women are saying, respect me for what I do, for what I contribute, and do not sexualize me. And, should I choose to be sexualized, I will be sending you a clear signal for you to proceed.

Women are saying, I have a right to look as good as I wish and still expect to not be objectified.

Because Mr Cuomo did not get the message, a competent and sometimes brilliant governor is now standing on the edge of a long political career.

The fact that he has political power made him overconfident and, according to published reports, he overstepped the line.

He still has a chance of not being pushed over the edge and keep his office, but it will take some daring on his part.

Here’s my advice:

Accept every allegation that is true and apologize.

Ask to meet with each person who has complained about his behavior – with a witness for their side and one for his – and express, face to face, how much he regrets that he was the cause of the distress inflicted.

Vow to embark in an effort to help other men avoid the mistakes he made. For instance, the Governor could start a foundation/program to teach men in positions of power to restrain from sexualizing their employees. The Governor would then become a defender of women’s rights and help them develop the voice that would put an end to misbehavior the very moment it happens. Not wait and let it fester.

In their quest for autonomy and affirmation in the workplace and in life, women may sometimes hesitate to assert themselves when confronted with unwanted sexual advances, but it is clear they eagerly wish to be able to speak on the spot if an advance is not to their liking.

Women have all the right in the world to feel they are in control of their bodies at all time.

We, men, have got to learn that.

I believe the Governor has the capacity and emotional fortitude to do this.

But he must act quickly.

If he does, he may well stay in power and even rise further.

And his example help other men.

Good luck.

Biden Talks to King Salman

On February 25th , President Biden made a phone call to King Salman to discuss state matters.

Present in the Oval Office for the call were Vice President Harris, Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, and Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor.

The king and the President had already discussed Iran and Yemen, with Mr Biden emphasizing that Iran would not be allowed to have nuclear weapons which would pose a threat to the kingdom as well as other neighbor countries.

President – King Salman… we will be releasing an intelligence report on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Ankara, in October 2018.

King – We have been expecting it.

President – I want to make clear that the question of human rights will be high on my agenda during my term. We owe it to the world. From the start, I have sharply disagreed with the way my predecessor handled the assassination of Mr Khashoggi, a US resident and respected journalist and contributor to the Washington Post. It is inconceivable for us that such action would be carried out without the Prince’s consent.

King – I understand.

President – King Salman, did you know of the operation?

King – I did not.

President – For us to keep quiet about this would make our nation an accomplice. We cannot tolerate that.

King – I understand. As you know, Saudi Arabia is trying hard to become a modern nation, but there is much work to do. As long time allies, we ask for your patience and tolerance.

President – I welcome your government’s opening up opportunities for women. And the release of the young woman activist who had been held for a year. But she still will not be allowed to travel abroad.

King – Mr President, give us time. We want to join the rest of the world, we do. My son, the Prince, has good ideas. Due to my age, I am now 85, I’ve entrusted him with the day to day operations in the Kingdom, but I assure you that I have now resumed oversight of key decisions so as to prevent a repeat of what happened to Mr Khashoggi.

President – That is welcome news.

King – I have also considered, the possibility of reparations for the family of Mr Khashoggi and his fiancée and intend to pursue the matter.

President – I hope you will. It will not bring back Jamal Khashoggi but it is an acknowledgment of responsibility.

King – Yes. The actions were committed by Saudi Arabians in positions of influence, by Saudi Arabians in my service.

President – Thank you, King Salman. I look forward to a fruitful relationship. We will talk again. Best.

King – Good bye for now.

They hang up

General Hlaing and The Prisoner. Myanmar

Eighteen people had been killed the day before as government forces shot into the crowds of civil disobedience participants. And yet the protest movement did not yield.

Nyan had been arrested in the street as he withdrew from the charging police and had stopped to aid a fallen protester.

He was now sitting alone in a windowless cell, his back against the wall, face in his hands. Nyan was a civil engineer in a government office that built bridges throughout Burma. He was 39 years old, married and the father of two.

There was a sink and a toilet, no bed, and a single light bulb overhead. He had been fed once – a piece of bread and a small portion of rice – in the twelve hours he had been detained.

A cut on his forehead where he had been struck hard by a wooden club was swollen but had stopped bleeding.

He reviewed in his mind why he had done what he had. At first, his wife, a pharmacist, had hesitated to support him, but he had insisted. The nation needed everyone, he had argued. The military should not get away with shamelessly disregarding the results of an election where the National League for Democracy had won a clear majority and then put their leader, Aung San Suu Ky, under house arrest. Freedom had a cost and it was for the citizens to pay it.

‘If something happens to me, the children have you,’ he had said to his wife, Shway.

‘I have a bad feeling about this, Nyan, I don’t know why.’

‘Be brave, my love, we want the best for our children, don’t we?’

They held each other in a tight embrace as their children, 3 and 2 years old, stood by, anxiously.

The young one started to cry but the older one put her arm around him.

‘Nyan, you’ve protested several times already,’ said Shway. ‘Let others do their part too.’

 He drew back to look at her and said, ‘They’re counting on me… I can’t let them down.’

She looked him in the eye, uncertain she would be able to see him again, and nodded.

‘I understand,’ she said softly. ‘Go, then… but first embrace your children.’

He turned and knelt before them, then held them both in a tight embrace.

‘I’ll be back,’ he said. Then he rose and walked out.

Nyan raised his head and rested it against the wall behind. His arms and back ached from the blows he’d received but he didn’t think anything was broken. He knew that some people had been killed in the protests but didn’t know the exact number.

Now he heard the clank of metal on metal as the door was being unlocked.

As it opened two soldiers entered, one with a machine gun in his arm pointed at him, another with a can from where he sprayed a mist into the stale air of the cell. It smelled of fresh linen.

The two soldiers stood before him but said nothing. Then an officer, dressed in a spiffy uniform decorated with medals, stepped in. He was wearing his military cap.

Nyan was surprised. He recognized the man immediately. It was General Hlaing, leader of the military junta that had staged the coup.

The general stopped right in front of Nyan.

The two men locked eyes.

‘We met before,’ said the general.

Nyan remembered. Two years before, the General had made a surprise visit to the Ministry where Nyan worked and the two men had shook hands.

‘Why are you doing this?’ asked the General.

‘In defense of our freedom,’ said Nyan. His voice was firm but there was no anger in his words.

‘You have chosen to jeopardize everything you have, for what?’ replied the General. ‘To be part of a rabble, part of a mob with complete disregard for what the military have done for the nation?’

Nyan looked down for a moment. When he answered he looked the General directly.

‘We are fighting for the right to choose our leaders, the right to express our ideas and let others express theirs. That right should be respected at all times.’

The General listened calmly. ‘My father was a civil engineer too, in the same Ministry you know work.’

Nyan was quiet.

‘There was fraud in the election in November,’ continued the General. ‘That’s why we’ve had to intervene, to protect people’s rights.’

‘There’s a parallel, isn’t there?’ returned Nyan, ‘between what you’ve been saying since your party lost by a wide margin, and what happened in the United States with Mr Trump. He, too, from the start, kept talking of fraud. I wonder if he was your inspiration.’

The soldier with the spray can stepped forward. ‘Do not be disrespectful,’ he said to Nyan, menacingly.

But the General scowled at the soldier and the man quickly backed off.

‘In America, there are safeguards against what you’re now doing,’ said Nyan, ‘not here in Burma. Here, our votes are not respected and we have to put up with your desires to be king, and for your son and daughter to have large business interests that could only be had because of your influence.’

The General showed no emotion but he was now steaming inside. How dare this insignificant prisoner, whose life he held in his hands, speak to him with such insolence.

The General closed his eyes. Whenever he felt like striking out in anger, he closed his eyes and that helped him regain his composure. He liked being composed, or the appearance of it, especially when he had to be ruthless as he was tempted to be right at that moment. It was up to him to do what he wanted with Nyan. Up to him to have him disappear if he chose to. Just like that, for he, General Hlaing, was now the undisputed ruler of Myanmar. He had staged the coup on February 1st and the next day he had created the State Administration Council and put himself in charge.

It was not the first election that the military’s party had lost. They had lost, too, in 2015, when long time dissident Suu Kyi had risen to power even though the military refused to allow her to have the title of president. And then the following year, in October 2016, as if to establish clearly who was really in charge, General Hlaing’s troops had violently pushed the Rohingya Muslim minority out of Rakhine State near Bangladesh where many sought refuge. The actions had been deemed genocidal in intent by most of the world. But the uproar had passed. Everything passed. The world would soon forget about his small nation again, leaving him free to rule as he wished.

Myanmar was his. He owned it. It was his to do what he wanted when he wanted. And he was not about to cede that privilege to people whose brains were addled with notions of democracy.

The world belonged to men of power and he was one of them. He and Xi Jinping and Putin and Duterte and Kim Jong Un and El Sisi, Assad and the Saudis too.

He was sure that China would be supportive of his coup. In fact, all of them would.

When he opened his eyes, the General asked his escort to leave the cell.

The two soldiers were hesitant. Nyan was not cuffed or tied down to anything.

‘Leave,’ the General repeated.

The two men exited.

The General took off his cap and brushed back his hair. He had a pistol strapped to his side. He was a good shot, he reminded himself. If Nyan made the slightest move he would put a bullet in his head.

‘I like power… always have… which is why I went into the military. It makes me feel alive… I’m 64 years old and in good health… I could live another 30 years… so why not do it while I’m exercising power? Why share the cake if I can have it all? Suu Kyi may win elections but I can impose my will. There’s something sublimely intoxicating about that.’

‘It doesn’t bother you that the nation as a whole is damaged by having one man in power doing as he wishes?’ asked Nyan.

‘Damaged how?’

‘Just like we need physical exertion to develop strong bodies, we need political exertion to grow our minds and learn to repair social injustices, injustices to which we’re all so prone simply because we’re human,’ replied Nyan. ‘We need political discourse to expand and affirm ourselves and so enrich the country.’

The General moved his head slightly but there was no change in his expression.

‘There are so many countries where democracy leads only to paralysis,’ said the General, ‘which is why China has opted for autocracy. Look at how well they’re doing. Their example is teaching us all the right way to do things. Soon they will surpass America in every way.’

Nyan folded his arms as he kept looking up at the General.

‘Your forces have killed people… shot and beat them… does it not bother you? Can you sleep at night… knowing that because of you there will be children without fathers or mothers, or brothers or sisters? Have you not thought of all that you’ve had, all the privilege you’ve enjoyed all of your life? The protests are not meant to strip you of your place in the military, but to insist that you respect the will of the people, that you protect the results of elections. The protests are meant to curb your excesses, your vanity, your grandiosity, your disregard for the rest of us. The riches you’ve accumulated, are they not enough for you?’

The General had not moved at all since he planted himself in front of Nyan. Now he took a small step back. He put his cap back on.

‘The weapons you use to repress us are all very modern,’ resumed Nyan. ‘The guns, the cameras, the cyber weapons. And the new armored vehicles cruising our streets were made in Israel… we can tell. So they found a way to circumvent American sanctions.’

‘I want the best for Burma,’ said the General.

‘You do not want the best for Burma… you want the best for you and the military,’ returned Nyan, ‘and you’re willing to brutalize us to achieve your aims.’

The two men looked at each other for a moment.’

Then Nyan asked, ‘What will happen to me?’

‘I will give you two options… leave the country… or stay and cease to be political.’

Nyan hung his head.

But he didn’t need much time to deliberate. At 39 years old he had a clear idea of what to do with his life. He believed in the protests. He believed that, eventually, enough of the men who were now siding with General Hlaing would realize that the blood in their hands was the blood of their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers, and confronting their fears would choose to turn against the General. Nyan believed that the spirit of revolt against injustice that filled every Burmese when they set out to participate in a protest, would one day convince their oppressors that they were on the wrong side of history and would then join the fight against tyranny.

The General rested his right hand on the handle of his side arm. ‘You can take your time before giving me a reply.’

‘I don’t need more time,’ said Nyan, ‘I reject both options… and choose to fight you.’

The General didn’t change expression at all. But he, too, had made up his mind. The struggle for the soul of Myanmar would rage on.

He moved to exit the cell but stopped.

Without turning back to look at Nyan he added, ‘You think the world will come for you?’

‘I have no illusions,’ replied Nyan.

‘Then why throw your life away?’

‘I’m not throwing my life away… I love my people.’

The General paused for an instant… then… ‘yes… love,’ he said softly, almost to himself.

And he exited the cell.

The door slammed shut behind him.

How To Best Treat the Highly Gifted

By acknowledging their talent and granting them the opportunity to develop what nature gave them. But not at the expense of those whose gifts are not as manifest or who have less ability.

Who is highly gifted? Anyone who displays an ability that makes others stop and notice.

As the exceptional gift is nurtured and expressed, the person is rewarded by further acknowledgment, thereby confirming that they are on a fruitful path. The experience is empowering even if material riches were not to follow.

The fact that a person does something well does not mean they will have enlightened opinions on other subjects. Being deft in one area and obtuse in another is a common occurrence.

The highly gifted are not self sufficient. They rely on the rest of us to further facilitate their particular talent. Interdependence is a fact of life.

When we recognize the gifted person’s ability we are saying, ‘You have something special. Thank you. May you go on to fulfill your promise.’

We then must turn to ourselves and ask, what gifts do I have? For all of us have something that, if one commits to, will likely become a source of much satisfaction.

Say that a person identifies a talent for doing electrical work. If developed, such ability will be a source of pride. Such person can say to themselves, ‘I’m a good electrician. People whom I assist are most gratified by my work.’ That person can then look at someone highly gifted in whatever area and say, ‘my gifts are not of such magnitude as yours but they are gifts, for I can solve problems and am self reliant and competent as a person.’

There is a freeing effect that comes from acknowledging that others have powers we may not have. When we say, ’you have discovered yours, I will discover mine,’ such acceptance will bring us much peace and enjoyment.

Now say that a person has marked intellectual limitations but they find they are good at cleaning offices. In fact, they take pride in it. There’s a dignity that comes to a person making an effort to contribute to the extent of their abilities. If it is something the person values and helps them contribute to the community at large, it becomes a gift.

The highly gifted should not be insulated by preferential treatment because they may then forget the plight of the less able.

Nature chooses to give a very special gift to some and not to others. A pretty woman will favor a man and not another. We have no control over that. It is the woman’s choice and nature at work. If we don’t accept it, then we succumb to envy or resentment and in doing so waste precious time needed to find what is truly ours.

For a society to be well functioning, it is essential that ample educational and training opportunities be granted to all its citizens. The highly gifted will find their way and in the process learn how to value the work of others.

Some years ago I saw a documentary on a school in a Scandinavian country, not sure which. The clip I recall showed students of varying abilities working side by side in the same classroom, and the better able taking some time to assist those who were less so.

I suppose one could say that to maximize efficiency, all the less able should be put in a different room and assigned to a teacher specializing in instructing them. But something vital would be lost. The less able are likely to be soon forgotten – perhaps even devalued.

And the very gifted may soon forget how lucky they are.

Courageous Resistance in Myanmar

After the military disavowed the elections where they were badly outvoted this last November, they have seized by force what government they didn’t previously control and imprisoned Suu Ky, the leader of the winning party (National League of Democracy) on February 1.

The rightfully enraged people of Myanmar have stepped out against the military in what has been called a Civil Disobedience Movement, with large numbers of government employees joining in the protest.

It is hard to say what other nations are now doing behind the scenes in an attempt to counter the military coup, but there is no question that the people of Myanmar deserve the full support of the rest of the world.

What can the rest of us do to show our disapproval of the military’s actions and our solidarity with the people of Myanmar?

Speak! Write to your representative, your senator, your president, and ask that our nation do something tangible to halt the brutal force with which the military is sure to treat Myanmar’s outraged citizens.


Raise your voice.

Do not be silent.

The courage of Myanmar’s people is the answer to tyranny anywhere.

Elsa and Xi Jinping (8) Racism in America

Dear Xi,

Hope this finds you well.

Democracies are, indeed, problematic, and the process will often appear to be wasteful and even chaotic. But give a closer look and something else will be found.

Societies, like individuals, are in a constant search for higher integration.

In the individual, the pressure is to integrate the emotional and the intellectual, for the greater the integration the better the overall functioning and hence, personal satisfaction.

So, too, with nations.

In America, while making significant advances in science, technology and industry, we have not kept pace in our collective emotional development. Thus, the profound dysfunction of racism.

At the core of racism is the premature closure of the inquiry into what it is to be human.

When one looks at someone superficially different than one is and, failing to remain open to what that person may offer, devalues them instead, then one turns oneself into a hindrance to one’s personal development and the larger group we belong to becomes the poorer for it.

Racism is an ugly blemish for each of us individually and for the nation as a whole.

It has held back the development of the discriminated against and of those doing the discriminating.

America is guilty as charged as being a racist country and yet, we are a democracy.

We are both racist and democratic. There is no contradiction there.

We are profoundly imperfect and still a democracy.

People can protest in favor or against racism and the government will not censor what they have to say.

But is this useful?

I hold that it is because it keeps the problem on the table. It does not push it down and out of sight. If we can see the problem, then we are more likely to know its true extent and thus talk about it.

The racist in America can go on believing that White is better than anyone else, but it is to their detriment. In holding on to such belief they harm themselves for they are deprived of the richness that expanding their understanding of others brings to their own existence.

They lessen themselves by their own hand.

You may ask, if not prohibiting such beliefs is favorable, how come racism is still present in America?

Good question.

Racism is still present in our land because there has not been the leadership to emphatically and consistently say to all Americans, ‘it is wrong to be racist and we must make it a priority to overcome it.’ Then go about the process vigorously, without fear they will be voted out of office.

Racism is still present in our land because there have not been the same opportunities for the development of Blacks that Whites have enjoyed. Lacking those opportunities, the rest of the nation has not seen all that Blacks can do.

Racism still lives in America because many Whites have not confronted their fears that Blacks may show abilities they do not have.

And so Americans are poorer because of racism. We are weaker because of it.

The good news is that things have been changing.

Let me turn now to the question of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province. They are Muslim and have their own language and your leadership has settled on a policy to reeducate them against their will, forcing them into special camps.

China is wrong to pursue such policy.

It is one thing to tell the Uyghurs, ‘we need you to learn Mandarin because it will allow you better opportunities for advancement in our nation and we wish for you to be part of us’. It is quite another to force them to abandon beliefs they have grown up with and long cherished.

You may be thinking that in another generation or two, Uyghurs will forget about their origins and embrace only Chinese values. They will not. And they will not because it has been forced.

Blacks in America will never forget that they were enslaved, bought and sold, abused, lynched and treated like chattel. They will take advantage of what opportunities are opened, but they will never forget having had their growth stunted, generation upon generation.

Uyghurs won’t either.

So learn from us. Don’t make the same mistake we’ve made. Change course and woo the Uyghurs into your society, not force them.

The way you have chosen to treat Uyghurs derives from the power your government has amassed and from the lack of resistance of your people. You have chosen such actions because Chinese have lacked the free speech that could have brought you to your senses.

By depriving yourself of the dissenting opinions of other Chinese, you miss out on the creative solutions they may have offered.

You do not own the truth. Neither you nor your politburo nor the Chinese Communist Party. Solutions need to be agreed to by the majority of the people of a nation because they have to live with them. Allowing them to have a say in the nation’s choices is essential for the emotional and intellectual integration necessary for the healthy civic growth of a country.

Should you persist in your present course of forcibly reeducating Uyghurs, China will live to regret it. Power unchecked by dissent or free speech leads to abuse that is never forgotten and instead festers like an infected wound.

Will America ever conquer racism? I believe it will. In fact, we have no real choice. Should we not conquer racism we will be unable to compete effectively with you.

Americans understand the challenge you represent and we will rise to it.


Elsa oscarvaldes@widehumr

Xi Jinping Replies to Elsa (7) Our Model vs Yours

Dear Elsa,

There are many advantages to democracy and I am glad you in America are satisfied with it.

We in China like what we have and see no reason to change it.

In years past many of our citizens left to study abroad and some did not return. But now, seeing the clear progress our nation has made under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, more and more are starting to come back. They are not under any pressure to return. They do so because they want to be part of one of the greatest experiments in social, political and economic organization the world has ever seen.

Nowhere, ever, has a project of this scale been tried out and because of it, Chinese feel very proud.

In a very short period, historically speaking, we have transformed our vast nation. We have become a power in science and industry, and soon will become the leading economy of the world.

There is no stopping us.

How can you argue with this kind of success?

If the great majority of people were not happy they would not be working hard. Sure, there are some dissatisfied too. There will always be those.

Is there corruption? Yes. But if you are caught you are punished severely, not just given a slap in the hand like in America.

One of the most important steps forward for the Communist Party was the recognition that money is a wonderful incentive. In the earliest periods of social organization under the rule of the Communist Party, money was criticized. But that has changed radically.

Now anyone with good ideas can make good money in China, so long as they play by the rules we set. We do have capital controls, for instance, so we let you take some of the money out of the country but not all, for we need it to run the nation.

Anyone can build a great company in our land, but they will have to allow for supervision by members of the government. This makes for discipline and helps avoid excesses.

People with money in our country cannot simply decide one day that they want to run for president. That will not happen in China.

But it can happen in America. And Elsa, that is not good.

To be part of the governing body in our land you have to have been educated as a party member and have spent a lifetime serving the people. You cannot, like Mr Trump, decide one day that you want to be president, just because you were bored building hotels.

In your country money buys the elections. If you do not have money then you cannot pay for advertising and the people will laugh at you. It doesn’t matter how competent a person you may be, people will say, ‘show me the money!’. Do Americans not have firm convictions of their own that they have to go by what advertisers tell them?

And it is that same money that opens doors for people to make deals so they can turn around and have even more money.

So what happens to the average person? They get left out. They are not heard. Sure, the politicians go around shaking hands and asking questions and kissing babies, but in the end it is the people with money who influence the big decisions. The rest is a good show.

There is another more problematic side to democracy. People have trouble getting along.

In your congress, for instance, one half thinks the other half does not know what they are talking about.

And after more than two centuries as a nation you have yet to solve the racial problem. What does that tell you about democracy? All those years and you could not come to the table and acknowledge that Blacks are just like Whites. (We can discuss the Uighur problem another time).

Elsa, China is the future. Our political system is the future. And we Chinese designed it.

America is in decline. How else can you understand the lack of a coordinated effort in handling the coronavirus, the assault on the capitol, the continued bitterness between brothers and sisters.

Politics is a sport in America and much energy is wasted because of it. Not in China. And because of it we will surpass you.

It is sad to see your fast decline. You still have a few decades left but, unless there is a miracle, I do not see your citizens ever uniting. They do not want to. Texans believe that your God looks on them more favorably than on Californians, and vice versa.

Elsa, the world is now looking to us as we shine a bright light on the path to follow.

If you have not visited our great land, please do so and witness history in the making.


Xi Jinping


People’s Republic of China

Founded Oct 1, 1949 oscarvaldes@widehumr

The Best of Russia is Now in Prison

Alexei Navalny, the courageous political dissenter, was just sentenced to a 3 ½ prison term for not complying with the terms of his probation, which he could not because he was in a German hospital recovering from an attempt to kill him with the poison Novichok, a nerve agent available only to government agencies.

Russian authorities deny any involvement.

Governments across the world have called for his release.

What has Alexei Navalny been asking for?

The freedom for the Russian people to elect who they want.

That is all. And for that he is being punished.

All he has said and fought for, while putting himself in great danger, is that Russians should have a right to choose who is to govern them.

Vladimir Putin, who has been in power since 1999, says No.

No, because he believes he knows what is best for Russians. No, because he likes being president very much – he is now in his 4th term – and he would miss the office if he has to step down. No, because he is convinced he has all the answers for his people and why bother with elections, it is such a waste of time and energy. 

Alexei Navalny has dared to disagree. He says Russians are afraid of Putin and insists there is no way forward for the country but to overcome their fears and challenge him.

Of course, Mr Putin could, at any time, take a different position and say that he is willing to face Mr Navalny in an election, and let all Russians decide. He might even win. Russians may prefer to see him be president for life. But that is not what we’re seeing. What we’re seeing is that he would rather not take the chance.

Is he afraid he might lose?

That Alexei Navalny has faced his fears and started a protest movement shows that he is a special person. People like him are a gift to their people and to the world. A gift because they have dared where others have not. So they ought to be supported because their courage will make for a better life for the rest of us.

While he is in prison, someone else needs to step front and take over the leadership of the movement he’s started.

Russians should not stay quiet. Alexei Navalny lives in every Russian.

And every Russian has to find a way to free the Alexei Navalny that lives in them.

We, in the Free World, must do what we can to stand in solidarity with our Russian brothers and sisters.

We, in the Free World, must do what we can to keep Alexei Navalny alive. oscarvaldes@widehumr

Letter writers of the Free World. Speak up!