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Arizona, USA
March 10
Cynthia Dagnal-Myron is an award-winning former reporter for both the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star whose articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Salon, Working Mother, Orion and many others. During her Sun Times years, she traveled with and interviewed the top rockers, film stars and other celebrities of the 70’s and 80’s. And dated Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once. Her latest book, "The Keka Collection," is available at and Barnes and Noble--Kindle and Nook versions available. Her latest short story, Deadline, is a Kindle book availabled here:

NOVEMBER 8, 2012 6:41PM

An Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly

Rate: 6 Flag



I think I’m a member of the 50% of Americans who, according to your election night philosophy-on-the fly rant, “…want stuff.”

Here’s a history lesson for you. Let’s see if it helps you figure this thing out.

The first slave on my Dad’s side of the family was not African American.  He was a white indentured servant who arrived on a ship from that left Liverpool in 1698.

He did very well for himself, indeed, after working off his debt. We’re proud of that.

Later, someone in his family sired a few children who looked like my daughter. Or…she’s half Hopi Indian, so they were probably a little bit lighter of skin than our girl.

But they did very well, too.

The only slaves we know of on my mother’s side of the family bought their freedom, acquired, somehow, some land in Mississippi, and never asked for any kind of assistance, ever, from then on.

They would not be servants. They did not wash clothes for white people. They ate, and sold, what they grew. And they didn’t exactly “prosper,” but they did more than just survive.

No one on either side of my immediate family would’ve dreamt of asking for anything they didn’t earn. Ever. Everyone in our family felt that being American meant giving back, not “taking.”

My father was a proud veteran of WWII. When I visited the little town in Normandy where he’d fed the local children with whatever he could scrape up from leftovers from Army chow…they kissed and hugged me and called out his name with tears in their eyes.

That proud patriot and his wife worked two jobs when necessary, to make sure that I went to the best schools in Chicago and could attend the college of my choice. I took piano and ballet lessons. I graduated with honors. I traveled to Europe. I even got to see the little town in Buckinghamshire that bears our family name.

I hugged the sign you see as you arrive there. “Home” at last…

I became a reporter for the Chicago Sun Times—won an award for journalism, later, in Arizona.

I married a Hopi Indian artist, raised our beautiful daughter to be proud of both cultures, and she, too, graduated from college as a member of an honors “sorority.”

And it was in Arizona that I became the first “Independent” our family had ever had. They had always been Democrats. I thought it was time that I tried to look at both sides—or all the many sides of every issue.

I was fully prepared, if the Republicans gave me reason, to vote for a Republican this year.

But a couple of things made me nervous. VERY nervous.

When both of my proud parents got old, the health care system gave us hell. I mean…hell. There is no other way to put it. I won’t divulge details, but I welcomed any help Obamacare might give to others facing the same ordeal.

My parents died before Obamacare. But if they hadn’t, there are parts of that system that would’ve saved us a great deal of anguish after my father was diagnosed with both Alzheimer’s and colon cancer.

My mother also required a great deal of care as she entered her decline. The things we had to do to just find care for her, toward the end, broke my heart. I was glad she was no longer conscious enough to witness this.

She died believing in God and country, staunchly.

I had a few moments of serious doubt in the latter, if not the former.

I watched all of the debates. As much news on both sides of the issues as possible—even European news, when I could.

I paid attention to races outside of my own state. There were a few Republicans I might have voted for, but…they didn’t live in Arizona. And the ones in Arizona scared me sideways, so...I couldn’t vote for them.

In the end, I voted mostly for Democrats, Independents and even a couple of Green Party candidates.

This is why, since you’re apparently having so much trouble figuring this out:

  1. NO one can tell me what I can or cannot do with my “reproductive system.” At this point, old as I am, the point is moot, but my daughter’s young, and I refuse to allow anyone to legislate hers.
  2. As I said, the current health care system is broken. And nearly broke me as I tried to deal with it.
  3. When someone calls me and the people I love lazy, and intimate that people of color or of “non-white” cultures, or who are simply poorer than they are somehow less patriotic, resourceful, ethical, honest or…fill in the rest of that as you will, I get very, very angry. Because of the history I just offered.
  4. Countries that remain quite white, from France to Holland to…well…many places you can name yourselves, offer more “stuff” than America ever dreamt of. Everybody pays higher taxes, everybody gets the “stuff” that buys. I don’t hear anyone on the right side of this thing calling them lazy people who just want “stuff.” Yet.

I’m retired now. I retired early like my Dad, because I earned it, like my Dad. I don’t take SSI yet. Will soon. Have no qualms about it.

I voted for Obama. I am not lazy. I don’t want “stuff.”

I want my daughter to live in a country that doesn’t make her feel “less than” because she comes from two cultures of color, and doesn’t make her wonder how she’s going to take care of me and herself as we get older.

I earned that, too. Standing on the firm foundation laid by generations of ancestors who paid dearly to remain proud and free, before me.

Does that answer those questions?

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Keka, I loved how you addressed every issue with clarity and an open mind to change.
I personally care less for "stuff" than I do that I be allowed to choose for myself how I am to be cared for toward the end of my life. The indignities offered me already by our health care system (that nearly killed me back in '02--'03 and again later) have taught me we are a long way from holding the line against poor health in this country.
I had always worked before my health's decline. I sought to further myself, entered college, got on well scholastically....that is, until my health failed me.
In my family, there is very little cohesion, and even less caring due to an abuse issue stretching back decades before I was ever even thought of. This did affect my chances of a swift recovery. And, had we had a comprehensive health care program int this country at the onset of my every health problem, I would not be as unwell as I did become.
My family history is full of people who always would work, no matter what, the same as yours. Nobody lived on Welfare, nor asked for handouts. All paid into the system so that we all could benefit. Right now, I am living on a trickle from that collective pool which I paid into with every paycheck for most of my adult life. Part of that money was spent on the machineries of war, a thing I did to get to vote either for or against.
My position in society is not assured, as people like Bill O'Reilly think me "lazy", or that I simply want a free ride. "Stuff."
No "stuff" is going to help me to breathe better or have my health returned to me. No "lazy" attitude is going to help me to get by. I still have to take care fo my current "stuff," whether or not I have a down period wherein I feel unwell enough to be nearly bedridden.
Some of these white men are lazy thinkers. They are not processing the facts. They hurry past the truth. They exclude true human values such as faith between people in their rush to make a profit.
They don't like women and people of color to be right.
Peace to you, friend.
Yours is a great story - told so well. O'Reilly's message is full of
unpleasant "Tells" - I hope we all get that "Traditional" is a Code word for "White". R
My wording should have read, "a thing I did not get to vote either for or against."
To tell the truth it was women, young single women in particular, of every race and ethnicity who elected Obama to a second term... you go ladies, you go!!
Fine response Keka. I wonder if a few of the less deranged ones will get it.
I think it would take O'Reilly to be busted completely, thrown out of his job, and made to find out what life as a supermarket clerk is like for him to understand. If that's even possible.
I missed these comments, and I'm so sorry! I've started using Our Salon, because so many weird things happen on OS. The stats for this piece are through the roof over there, and I couldn't be happier. I really had to say this, and I'm so grateful that you all stopped by to offer comments. Poor Woman...I feel you! I feel you all. I listened to O'Reilly just SAY it, out loud, that we were no longer a nation run by "the white establishment," and gaped.

And then I remembered that I live in Arizona, where people voted as if that weren't true. Sigh...