Yemen, votes, and a veto

Dear President Trump,

Veto #2 is behind you and again it seems unlikely that there’s any chance this side of hell that either the House or the Senate (let alone both) can muster enough votes to override you so our involvement in the Saudi-backed war in Yemen will continue. Indefinitely.

Using the words “veto” and “vote” in the same sentence allowed me to see that they are rather bizarrely comprised of the same letters. The origins of “vote” are Latin and it means “to vow” and then in Middle English it came to mean “a vow” or “a wish.” “Veto” also comes from Latin and means “I forbid” – notice it’s not “to forbid” but rather “I forbid,” signaling that an individual can override the wishes or the vows of the many. It looks like it’s a coincidence that the two words are made up of the same letters, but in a way it’s fitting that there is such economy in that they are two sides of the same coin, however unfairly weighted the coin may be.

A WP piece about your veto notes that some people in the administration are puzzled by your decision to remain involved in the Yemeni war given that you otherwise want to pull American troops and resources back. However, some unnamed “senior official” in your administration said that no one should be surprised by your veto and this seems much more genuine than the puzzlement claim. It makes total sense that you would issue this veto, just as it made total sense that you would not go along with Congress in condemning Mohammad bin Salman for his role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Jared is in tight with MSB, you have a strong affinity for brutal autocrats like him, and you probably have a Trump Tower deal in the works in Riydah. Plus, it optimizes Vladimir’s opportunity to look the heroic diplomat in brokering peace and standing up to the meddlesome U.S. There’s quite a lot of conjecture here about your underlying motives, but there’s no way we should be taking you at your word knowing all we do about what drives your decision-making, how you operate, who your wanna-be besties are, and who has you by the short hairs.

Truly, every single thing you say and do is a disaster for thousands upon thousands of us. It’s as though instead of vowing to leave the world a better place, you and those who are directing and propping you up, took a vile blood oath to sow misery and discord so you can leave the world a far worse place. You’re even selling t-shirts and tanks satirizing President Obama’s official Presidential portrait to make another crooked buck to keep this whole shit-ball going as long as you can.

Shame. On. You. And shame on us if we let you get away with it.

May we be safe from presidents who think real strength is brutal.
May we be willing to treat our votes as solemnly as our vows.
May we ensure that our voting rights are healthy and strong.
May you change course and end our involvement in the devastation of Yemen.

Tracy Simpson

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