June 8, 2018

Dear Mr. VP,

I feel mostly immune to celebrity deaths. They are sad, but I don’t usually feel a gut wrench.

Today, though, when I logged into Facebook to check the chatter in my mom’s group, I just saw the comment “Anthony Bourdain” with a broken heart emoji and damnit, I knew.

Anthony Bourdain pops into my head more than one might expect. He’s the reason I don’t eat hollandaise sauce in restaurants. I think about him often in conversations about “immigrants stealing jobs” – Bourdain has a lot to say about how the restaurant industry exists only because of the backbreaking labor of immigrants, working jobs many white Americans would refuse. I’ve read every one of his books, watched so many of his shows. I appreciate how open he is about so many things, particularly his struggles with addiction. Unsurprisingly he was no fan of Trump, and not just because of his unfortunate taste in well done steak with ketchup.

Today Trump offered his condolences to Bourdain’s family and friends. This is not enough – it doesn’t even begin to be enough. Suicide rates have risen in 49 stated since 1999. Half of states have seen rates jump over 30%.

What has your administration done to respond?

Called to slash Medicaid funding, of course; the major source of public funding for mental health care.

So if we’re really going to honor Bourdain’s legacy, let’s be sure mental health care is available to anyone and everyone who needs it. And while we’re at it, let’s never eat another well done steak ever again.


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