An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell

U. S. Capitol

U. S. Capitol. Photo by Callen Harty.


I’m sorry, but I can’t start my letter with “Dear” because you are not, and I don’t respect you enough to address you by the title of Senator (and believe me, I deliberated that longer than most bills get deliberated in the Senate these days). There are other words I could use but I respect reptiles enough not to do so.

Now that we have that out of the way: I am writing to call you out for what I recently read in the newspaper. The report was that you intend to block any attempt to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump, Russia, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, or, I’m guessing, anything else that might make your party look bad. Of course you can’t block the worst elements of your party from speaking or being themselves so they’ll look bad despite your best efforts. But hey, as the Majority Leader you have to try, right? Then again, you are one of the worst elements of your party, so there’s that.

But back to the issue at hand: The newspaper report was not really all that surprising. You’re going to block something, they said. Ooh, shock, I thought. You block more than a starting lineman on a professional football team. You spent the better part of eight years blocking anything (everything) that President Obama tried to do. You remember him, don’t you? Our first African-American President? African-American? You obstructed everything he attempted. Coincidence? I think not. You most recently spent nearly a year blocking hearings on a qualified Supreme Court nominee, longer than any nominee in history had to languish. And then, as soon as your side got into power you changed the rules to rush through the Trump nominee. Blocking things is what you do best. Somehow you are still blocking the devil from taking you home.

In politics blocking is a negative approach rather than a proactive, positive one. It stops things instead of moving them forward. It prevents rather than creates. It also gives you that smug old white guy look of someone who loves power for the sake of power.

Please get over your smugness.

Please know that you will fail.

Please know the truth will prevail.

In the last dozen years or so our government has passed bill after bill chipping away at our rights. Each time you and your flag-waving Jesus-praising small government-loving hypocrites defended things like spying on American citizens with arguments telling us that if we have done nothing wrong then we should have no fears about such things. While I don’t have anything to hide I disagree with the logic of your argument. Still, it is your argument. So I would counter that if Donald Trump has done nothing wrong, if he has nothing to hide, then neither he nor his party should have anything to fear from an independent investigation. If he is truly innocent then an independent investigation will clear him of any wrongdoing and allow you and your fellow Republicans the freedom to lash out at Democrats for pursuing the Russian story as heartily as the Republicans pursued Benghazi or Bill Clinton’s misdeeds.

One would think that as Kentucky’s longest-serving Senator and a long-time Washington insider (or denizen of the swamp, as some might say) you might remember the Watergate era. The more that the Nixon administration tried to hide the facts the deeper was the hole that they dug. But that’s okay. Ignore history the way you ignore the Constitution. Do your best to block any investigations from happening. Sooner or later, you will fail. Sooner or later, the truth will prevail. And sooner or later the devil will come to visit and carry you home.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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