December 24, 2004

Dear Mr. Bush,

“You know what I think about sometimes that kinda freaks me out?” Janice asked in the car today as we hurtled across the frozen landscape. “I think about how lucky I am that I’m not pregnant in a country that’s ripped apart by war, or a country where there’s genocide going on, or a land poisoned by AIDS. Sometimes I stay awake thinking about how horrible it would be--how hard, how exhausting and impossible--to have to be pregnant and in hiding, or running from something terrible, or having to live cut off from clean water or enough food, or surrounded by disease.”

I nodded and continued to navigate down the curvy, ice-covered road.

“I think about how hard it is to just stay fed and rested and well here, in this country, where I’ve got access to all the food I need, all the water I can drink, and doctors if something goes wrong. And I feel so horrible that there are people that don’t even know where they’re staying tonight, what they’re eating, where their water is coming from, and how they have to worry every second of every day if their baby is going to live.”

I nodded again and added, “And if they are going to live, what kind of life they’ll have.”

And I thought of you, Mr. Bush, sitting around the White House Christmas tree with Laura and the twins, exchanging simple gifts and sipping mulled cider. And I wondered if tonight, when you’re tucked in your bed listening closely for the sound of the soft clip-clop of hooves on the roof, you instead hear the cries of the thousands of babies caught in situations like the ones Janice lays awake thinking about: babies in peril because of the wars you’ve fought and the ones you haven’t.

And to all a good night,



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