A letter to President Donald Trump
This is a letter from one guy from Queens to another.
I grew up in Jackson Heights which, as you may recall, was two subway stops from Jamaica on the E and F express and probably still is. I had cousins who lived in Jamaica Estates. We thought they were rich.
I don’t live in Queens anymore and haven’t for a long time, but instead way down in Louisiana, south of New Orleans, near a place called Houma.
South of me, on these bayous that stretch to the Gulf of Mexico, a lot of people make their living fishing for shrimp.
The next time you are at Trump Tower, or Mar-a-lago, or the White House, you may want to check and see where the shrimp they serve in those places came from. If the shrimp are imported from Vietnam, China, or anywhere else in Asia or even from South America, nobody is going to blame you. You likely didn’t know.
But now I am going to tell you some things, so that you do know.
These people, my neighbors who shrimp for a living, they are the salt of the earth. Great people. Fabulous people. They never asked for handouts and they are not about to start now. In April they will do their boat blessing parades, and this is an amazing thing to see, where they travel with a priest on the bow of the lead boat, and he blesses each boat he passes and the boats fall in behind each other … It is fabulous. It is a great thing. But it is not as great as the shrimp.
You have to taste the shrimp because it is indeed great. You have never tasted shrimp like this, that the Gulf of Mexico is in every bite, because these shrimp were swimming around free, not penned into some poop-filled pond like they do in China, giving each other diseases and the workers, they are exploited. Oh boy, are they exploited. But we buy their shrimp in this country because it’s cheaper than hot dogs. And Mr. President, a lot of these aquaculture operations, like in Vietnam, our government, our money helped them with technology.
Yeah, you read that right. We helped out a bunch of people in a foreign country so they could compete with our hard-working people right here. Could you believe it? If you don’t, then check with the Department of Commerce.
Talk about the tail wagging the dog, Mr. President! Check this out. In this country, in the great United States of America, only 16 percent of the shrimp that is sold and eaten is from here. That’s right. We have shrimpers starving because the competition, this imported shrimp, is so much cheaper. Of course it’s cheaper! The shrimpers have been trying to get the attention of your commerce people, and they did speak with a trade representative. But nothing has happened. Mr. President, there are tariffs on some shrimp, but the countries that produce them send them through some other country. Then there is no tariff. Illegal! It is illegal! But they do it. And Americans suffer because they do it. But nobody is saying anything because a bunch of guys in suits, the brokers, the moneychangers in this temple of seafood, they are getting their cut. You better believe it.
I know you’re really busy, Mr. President. But I know you care about working Americans, and nobody works harder than these folks. So please just send word down through your channels that you want to know more about these people and what they’re going through. Just tell your people “I want to know about shrimp in Louisiana.” If you could help these shrimpers by socking it to China and the other countries, it would be great. Call me. E-mail me. I’ll hook you up. Great shrimp. I’ll buy. I’ll bring it to you myself. Keep our fishermen working. It’s part of making America great again. Isn’t it? ·