Dear Mr. President-elect Trump,
Hi. It’s America. Got your letter. We especially liked the Ziggy postage stamp you used. He is both a beloved and under-appreciated character in our cartoon history. We would like to think your letter was sent in good faith, but judging by the rigid, bombastic content, we're guessing we should assume otherwise.
We'd like to start by congratulating you. You did, indeed, win the 2016 Presidential Election. That much is true. But after reading your letter some thoughts came to mind, and if you'll indulge us for just a few more words, we think we can help alleviate some of the divisiveness you're so keen on exercising.
First, and this is a simple one, tone down the racist, bigoted, misogynistic rhetoric. We'll explain it in a way second grade teachers all across the country are explaining to their students: think about what you're saying, and if you're fine with somebody saying that about you, then it's probably OK. Example: you said, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." Someone could just easily say, "When Donald Trump comes to your town, he's not bringing his best. He's bringing drugs. He's bringing crime. He's bringing rape." Both are unfair characterizations, we're sure, but no less contentious. We will not survive your presidency if your sole belief is the promotion of old, rich, white men and to hell with the rest.
This country was founded on the ideals of hope, freedom, and truth, three ideals you clearly struggle with. So, for the next four years, please remember your job as president is not only to be tolerant, but embracing; embracing of all sexes, races, religions, creeds, and sexual orientations. Freedoms should not be afforded only to gun owners and Wall Street fat cats. We are the land of the free for many reasons beyond those, and the moment you discontinue our traditions, the moment we quit being a country.
Second: enough with the fear mongering. In spite of your preposterous claims, your job as president isn't to tell people what to be afraid of and who's to blame for those fears. It's a fundamentally flawed concept to accuse poor people of creating a stagnant or failing economy, or reprimanding an entire race for isolated incidents. Terrible things happen all the time—in our country and others—and chastising a whole populous for a few extremists will only advance our country's latent racism and instill that fear you're so intent on broadcasting. Our country's well-being is far more important than your unsettling scare tactics.
Thirdly, and for more than half of Americans this is probably most important, it is and always will be a woman's right to choose. Inflicting your own "moral" compass on another woman's body is neither the president's decision nor any other Tom, Dick, and Harry who feels otherwise. It has been decades since women have been afforded and granted the right to choose, and you should not only refuse to be a president that strips away freedoms based on one's gender, you should condemn it. And, while you argue abortion should be a state's issue, rather than a federal issue, the 1973 Supreme Court opinion decided otherwise. It is not your obligation or even your privilege to insist you know what is right for all women. And it would be to misunderstand these women to presume as much.
Lastly, after the election, thousands took to the streets to protest the result. Please know not all of these people were whining or protesting the democratic process or even the electoral college, most of these people were protesting your plans and policies. These Americans strongly believe your agenda is so deeply flawed and marred by deceit they have taken to their cities to speak out against it. Not only are these people protected by the constitutional rights you claim to respect, they are the activists our country needs and craves. If we do not have a voice, then our only other recourse is to be paralyzed by our anxieties.
We do, however, take solace in one thing: throughout our nation's history we have always risen up, reborn into something greater, something more meaningful than ever once it was. And, we promise you, we will rise from this. We will fight until we have nothing left and we will succeed, this is our undying promise. Revolutions manifest in all sorts of ways, and so, Mr. Trump, thank you for being this generation's catalyst.
We need to get back to what this country was built upon. We need to quit ridiculing intelligence, and, rather, promote it. It is imperative not only to instill an appreciation for education, but a hunger for one. Teachers should be the highest paid employees in our country and schools should be seen more as kingdoms than prisons. We need to focus on advancing technology, getting back to building rather than destroying; infrastructure should be celebrated, not glossed over like some inconvenient truth. We need to quit belittling morality. And so, during the first 100 days of your presidency, we implore you to focus only on one thing: decency toward all. We can't fix our problems, Mr. Trump, without first admitting we have them. Before you tear down this country, understand what makes us tick, understand our passions, understand our hopes and beliefs. In short: understand us.
It's time to end oppression and endorse unity. It's time to end hate and advocate love. America is not just your country, Mr. President-elect, it's all of ours. And once you start believing that, then maybe we'll have something to talk about.
I'm sure we'll discuss very soon.
(This letter originally appeared on Pecorino & Eggs on November 14, 2016)