Last Thursday I watched in disbelief as 217 Republican congressman boarded buses to attend a victory celebration in the White House Rose Garden for the health care bill they just passed. As they patted themselves on the back, gave each other high fives,” spiked the ball,” and yuk-yukked with the president, millions of Americans were left fearing they would lose their health care, those with pre-existing conditions might not be able to afford insurance, older Americans would pay a higher “age tax,” and the most vulnerable could lose or not be able to get Medicaid.

Later that day, and well into the next day congressmen were interviewed and many admitted that they had not read the bill. When pressed for answers after reading from prepared talking points, they couldn’t coherently explain the bill they had just passed. A bill that not only threatens the integrity of even employer-based healthcare plans in every state, but tragically, their repeal-and-replace effort is causing so much uncertainty that, even if this bill dies in the Senate, it may unravel the existing health care system leaving Americans on life support. If you thought Obamacare was bad, Trumpcare is arbitrary and complex and in simple terms creates another bureaucratic mess. Washington is totally out of touch!

I have a plan. Mr. Trump. I would like for you, instead of spending a weekend at your palatial Mar-a-Lago, to come to Franklin County. And could you pay for buses to bring those 217 Republican congressmen? I also think it would be fantastic if you could bring the Democrats too. I’ll check to see if our airport can handle Air Force One. I’ll make sure you and your entourage have transportation. Croom’s has a beautiful white limo and we have plenty of pickup trucks and SUVs. We can rent rooms at one of our five motels and one hotel, and you can eat at some of our great restaurants. El Jalisco has a great American breakfast, you can slurp delicious oysters at Lynn’s, eat the world’s biggest fish sandwich at the Grill, and delicious fried shrimp served in a plastic basket at Boss Oyster where you can eat outside and breathe in the scent of a working waterfront. Tamara’s will serve you the best chocolate cake ever but it won’t be served on fine china with a gold fork.

I would proudly show you around my county and let you meet some great people. I would like you to visit our struggling hospital which will most likely close under your new health care reform. You can meet some of our fantastic volunteers who weekly put together boxes of food for people in our community at Franklin Promise, the Baptist Church in Eastpoint or the Methodist Church in Carrabelle. We are so proud of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve and the work it does to protect our environment and educate people. You know, the one that will close if you pass your new budget. You can meet David, the editor of our newspaper, who does not allow fake news. Visit our schools. We are one of the poorest counties in Florida so our students are eligible for free breakfast and lunches. You know, the one your health secretary is going to cut because “feeding hungry children has no measurable success.” I think all of you would really like to get on oyster boats where you can learn the art of tonging oysters in wind, rain and cold.

Best of all we could have one of our fantastic fish fries with the best cheese grits for all of you. It will be a far better party than any in the Rose Garden. Maybe Taylor’s will let us use their parking lot. You won’t find people giving high fives and “spiking the ball.” We’re just humble, hardworking Americans who take care of each other. Did you know that our church ladies still bring food to the sick, and lay hands on them and pray, and clean their houses and take them to the doctor? Yes, you are going to meet some mighty fine folk in Franklin County.

I think it would be a great idea, Mr. Trump, to bring Washington to Franklin County. Better yet, take some Franklin County back to Washington.

Mary Lou Short