Letter from Montana

by Jesse Bier

VoteTo: Chairmen, Democratic and Republican National Committees

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to inform you that I am not running for President of the United States in the next election.

Very truly yours,

Jesse Bier

P. S. I am available, but I am not running, especially now when I tire out easily in my senior years. In any case, it is my belief that any active candidate for President should be automatically disqualified. No one running under the conditions that prevail ought to be allowed to be President. Anybody willing to jump into a race months and sometimes years ahead, subjecting himself or herself to endless chicken-and-peas dinners, repetitious so-called talks, boring interviews, and endless coffee klatches, and living continuously in airports and motel rooms, with the added privilege of some personal debt, ought to have his head examined. No sane, normal individual would be so driven by rabid ambition as to accept such terms. He certainly ought not to be rewarded with the charge of any government, not even of Pasadena.

No, sir. We have to find an ordinary American, level-headed enough to serve but self-controlled enough not to want to go through all that just so he can salute people when he comes out of Helicopter One or simply, sincerely preside over his fellow citizens for a term.

I am that man. I am ordinary enough. Come and get me, if you want me. I am not running per se—or per Sy, meaning Sy Combs, my rural letter carrier, to whom I mentioned this matter and who gave me the idea of plain availability. So, here I am. If you want a more or less grudging as well as sane candidate, then you’re looking at him. Because most people—I don’t say all, I never say all, I’m no extremist—feel like me: in the middle of most things, incorporating parts of opposite views on almost all issues, sharing both the liberal and conservative sides on practically everything nowadays.

Here is an example I can personally give. My name is Jesse Bier. That’s it. That’s all. Just two names. A first one and a last one. No middle name. My parents never thought I’d be President or they might have given me at least a single letter to dress it up: like Ulysses S. Grant or Harry S. Truman. No, not even the simple, solitary, historical letter S: just two short simple names. All right? Now, listen.

Yesterday I got a letter from a government agency addressed toe Jesse NMI Bier. My mother and father both must be spinning in their graves to see how their consciously simplified nomenclature for me, unpretentious and uncluttered, has been subverted and/or overwhelmed by officialdom (spelled –dom but pronounced you know how). From a person without any middle initial, I have become somebody with three—standing for “no middle initial,” in bureaucratese. My parents might well have named me Jesse Nicholas Murray Ichabod Bier. There’s big, impersonal, transforming government for you—and it ought to be restrained.

But wait a minute, Republicans. Hold on. The big business junk mail does exactly the same thing—and what’s worse, it sends more. It’s just as mindless and manipulative and impersonal and standardizing as the other is; also deceitful (“You have been selected…” or “You may have won…” or “Important document—do not throw away…”).

See what I mean? Just a minor thing, but indicative. First, I have a Republican reaction, then a Democratic one—on the same issue. That’s the point. That’s the political point. There are millions out there like me—on issues like welfare, the economy, immigration, crime, disarmament, terrorism, foreign relations, intimate relations too, climate control, drugs, and what-all. We’re in the middle or on both ends of practically everything. That sounds either strange or highly athletic, but there it is.

Here are double or simultaneous or paradoxical but practical positions on a number of current issues, combining liberal and conservative views. For instance: radically reduce foreign aid, on the traditional basis that charity begins at home; if, after we have taken care of our own third-world domestic population, we have surplus, friends, then we may help others, but only then. Let us, corresponding to dramatically less foreign intervention, reduce our military budget, with one notable exception—the erection and guarding of an effective southern border fence. A nation not in control of its borders hardly deserves the definition of nationhood. It’s not beyond the technological capability of the United States to build and defend a fence fool-proof against not only illegal southern immigrants but possible disguised terrorists. On the whole question of immigration, I would seek complete escalation, to avoid attaining a population presently twice as much as it was in my youth, reaching a half-billion any decade now and eventually the billion people status of China and India. This new policy, allowing only a handful of talented entrants, would be unprejudiced: no Australians, no Israelis or any other nationality would be favored. Not another person, adults or children, will be permitted into our country, which is already becoming unliveable, our over-population accounting in great part for the [page seven, midway] many people feel, and our increased social violence. This ultra-liberal position for world and national population control, where immigration is a subset policy, blends with the conservative refusal to grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants. Instead of rewarding them for their long, patient criminality, granting them a virtual medal for prolonged law-breaking—and inertly continual illegal entry. I would also discontinue Spanish as a second language and would do so from a liberal perspective: why are we in effect demeaning Latin Americans as incapable of learning English when our history shows so many other foreign-speaking groups—German, Polish, Italian, Greek, Russian, Scandinavian, Asian, etc.—managed at least by their second generation to master English? Spanish speakers are not dumber than their predecessors and do not deserve to covert condescension implicit in installing Spanish as alternative speech. Similarly, no other foreign languages—such as Vietnamese, etc.—should be permitted by our over-indulgent liberalism in voting, phone messages and the like either. English must be conserved and strengthened as our exclusive, identifying and unifying American tongue.

In the vital matter of higher education, I would liberally re-institute a loan-free WWII G.I. Bill providing a free and comprehensive university experience for the deserving—and a future adept labor force for our country. Conservatively, I would require national pay-back service for a year or two—chiefly involving community service and/or infrastructure renewal work; alternatively, graduates may choose a 1% tax for life on their annual incomes, settling for earning 99% of their salary for the rest of their productive lives in exchange for their full and sustaining education.

Other compromised or reconciled positions: legalize marijuana (and other hard drugs?) but increase strict punishment and jail terms on drugged as well as drunk driving and other crimes; turn away from polluted coal—surely, but not too precipitously for the sake of coal states like my own—while perfectly tidal laser fusion, wind and other energy alternatives with on-going Federal aid; get the government out of farm subsidies, except for crop rotation payments, to conserve our soil; discontinue and reject third-offense life prison sentences, mostly borne by our young Black Americans, and in general send sentence wayward youths in particular to rehabilitation facilities instead of prison, while prosecuting and jailing malfeasant CEOs, like the high culprits who lead us into economic collapse; constitutionally de-personalize corporations, especially taking money out of federal elections and funding national candidates with equal campaign allowances, the 50 states do what they wish in their elections; allow foreign prescriptive drugs into our country, subject to the same regulation as our domestics, from Canada and Switzerland especially, in the name of popular affordable access and free competition; and, and, and a host of other paradoxied, double-positioned but practical decisions, once we are freed of strict and paralyzing ideology, left and right. Is this outlook an inspired centrist one or just spectacularly practical and just? Never mind definitions. Always mind action, fair and functional. Voters nowadays are more nimble-minded than given credit for and, basically, they want somebody like them—like me—not fanatical or constructed, but broad-minded and action-motivated, for the general good.

Am I your man, or not? Or there’s my wife, she’s a better bet yet, though just as old. Or, best of all, get somebody coming just behind us, someone able and mature, and not especially wanting the job or running for it, with or without a middle name or initial—a steady, mature, maybe even wise, good person, probably hiding in plain sight. Open your eyes. You’ll see. But start now, soon enough.

Yours, sooner rather than later—or too late,

Jesse Bier

Category: SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing