This is a copy of 50 Ways-Rockbridge member Chris Gavaler’s letter to the editor that appeared in the Roanoke Times, Monday, January 9, 2017. 

According to NBC and the Wall Street Journal, only 45 percent of Americans are optimistic or hopeful about Donald Trump taking office. That’s a lot lower than the 66 percent who felt that way when Obama took office eight years ago.

Usually a President-elect rides in on a popular wave, but Trump lost the popular vote by 2 percent. Even George W. Bush, who lost by .5 percent and needed the Supreme Court to stop the Florida recount to win the Electoral College, took office with 59 percent of Americans feeling at least hopeful about his presidency. Yet GOP leaders, including our own 6th district Congressman Bob Goodlatte, claim they have a mandate to pass their extremist Tea Party agenda.

Trump’s not even in office, and they have already introduced legislation to slash Social Security and replace Obamacare with a program that will strip health care from millions.
Goodlatte talks like a character from a George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. When I asked about these issues, he wrote back: “With Republicans holding the White House and the majorities in both chambers of Congress, I am hopeful that we will now have an avenue to move bipartisan legislation that has been stalled over the past eight years.”

If that legislation is “bipartisan” why only now is there an avenue to pass it? Goodlatte also told me he wanted us to unite and work together, but using a tactic that is overwhelmingly partisan is the opposite. If he can’t get his own rhetoric “to come together,” how can we trust him to represent us fairly in Congress?

The government in Orwell’s 1984 told the public: “Ignorance is Strength.” A recent Qualtrics shows that’s true since half of those who voted for Trump believe his claim that he won the popular vote by a landslide. No cases of voter fraud are even under investigation, but Goodlatte, who is chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has said nothing to correct his new boss. Instead he’s exploiting voter ignorance with a campaign of doublespeak to shove through legislation that hurts the very people who put him in office.

CHRIS GAVALER

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