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A Note From the Heart to Gorbachev

May 22, 1986|MIV SCHAAF

Frustrated, angry, in despair along with the rest of us over the way things are going? But what can one person do?

Well, I've decided what one person can do. Americans always have been known for being blunt and straightforward, that is, when they aren't speaking legalese, bureaucratese, textbookese or socialese. There are still some of us who say what we think.

We struggle, fretting, worrying, fearing the demolition of our lives and civilization--even the deer would be dead. But what can we do?

All the hard work of peace marches, runs, concerts and rallies seems to have limited effect. They are, in the end, pretty ideas.

We ordinary people continually feel uninformed. Surely it is our fault--we're either too dumb to understand it or we're too lazy to inquire, to read enough, to find out the facts. If we speak up out of our ignorance we will be laughed at. Maybe someone will come along. . . .

We know what we feel, but we are helpless; what can we do about it?

I will tell you what I am doing about it. I am putting three 22-cent stamps on an envelope addressed to Mikhail Gorbachev, Moscow, U.S.S.R. Inside I am putting this letter:

Dear Sir:

I would like you to know that a lot of us do not think that every word that comes out of your mouth is a lie; we respect you as a person as we respect our President as a person; we think both of you may be men who honestly believe in different principles. We presume that the ordinary people in both countries wish peace.

Without talking, we cannot begin to accomplish it. A lot of us think that all this business on both sides of who goes where, who goes first, who speaks first, where they sit is a bunch of dangerous nonsense.

The Chernobyl accident is a human tragedy; it does not have national boundaries. The top nuclear official who volunteered with three others and went into a diving suit to open the water valves under the Chernobyl reactor should have had headlines in this country; I cannot help compare this dive first into the trouble with our nuclear regulatory commissioner who said, "If they break (nuclear reactors) the public is not well-served." I am sick of language that coats over what it means with such sugar.

Know that some Americans are ready to take your statements as truth unless facts prove otherwise. We are not communist sympathizers; we do not believe in your system of government, but we are ready to hear when you speak for world peace.

Sincerely,

MIV SCHAAF

I mailed it yesterday.

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