Dear Donald Trump,
On November 9, 2016, I woke up to discover that you had been elected the new president.
I sighed, I panicked, I raged, I cried, I fought against the knot in my stomach, I swallowed the golf ball in my throat, and I sat down to explain this whole miserable mess to my two beautiful children. Yes, I was disappointed, and yes, I was mad, but my party has been on the losing side of history before. I have lived through other elections where I was left unhappy by the outcome. I did not cheer when they elected Reagan, I did not greet the Bush I and Bush II presidencies with jubilation, and like many, I too was angered when the election was stolen from Gore. Even during those unfortunate political moments, I released the anger and let it go. This time it is different. This one hurts more. I don’t need to speculate as to why because I know the reason: you.
In a distorted way, you should be commended. It is remarkable that you managed to do what some of us considered unthinkable. When you first came on the scene, we laughed you off, we dismissed your ability to reach people, and we said it could never happen. We told ourselves that America was smart. We told ourselves that we were better. Some of us even convinced ourselves that after 8 years of a black president we were post-racial, our county had evolved. We told ourselves that in the end, we would be able to see through the veil of your infantilism. Yet in doing so, what we really did was take our hands off the steering wheel. We did not listen closely, we did not take your hateful message seriously, and because of that, we have failed as a nation.
I truly am in awe that despite your cartoonish appearance and your inability to articulate a clear policy position, and even in the face of your vile hateful rhetoric, your history of discriminatory practices against people of color, your mocking of the disabled, and your speaking of women in the most degenerative and deplorable ways, the American people chose you. Everyone wants to know why.
Some place the blame on those who failed to vote, those who chose to make a political statement by voting third-party, those who enabled by privilege acted from a place of shortsightedness and selfishness in wanting to stick it to Hillary or to the larger establishment. The reasons could be endless. Maybe they chose you because they hate or fear people like me, or women in general or the LGBTQ community, or any form of “otherness.” It is conceivable that your supporters are mad that their world is no longer homogenous, that change is coming and their ideologies are dissipating. Whatever the reason might be, the fact is that the American people were able to look past your openly hate-filled agenda and shrug it off. I did not have that luxury. For me, real things were at stake. I voted for the other candidate because I knew that should you become elected, my well-being and the well-being of those I love would fall into jeopardy.
I have heard from some that I should get over it. I should concede because you are now the president. I have been told that you should be respected because you are now our leader. Well, guess what? I am not a sheep, and you are not my shepherd; I will not be herded. I do not respect you and you will never have my respect. Not now, not ever. I do not forgive you for the things you said during this election season and I do not believe your empty promises of unity now.
I know that this letter probably will fall on deaf ears. You do not care about me but nevertheless, I am writing you to put you on notice. I want you to know, and I want all of the Americans that saw fit to elect you to the office to know one thing, I SEE YOU. You showed me who you are. You have revealed what you hold dear. People like me are not your concern. We are not your priority. I had an inclination about you before, but now I know it even more clearly than I have ever known it.
You have said you would like to build a wall and throw the riff raff out. No matter how much you and your followers would like to rid the world of otherness, I am going nowhere and I know there are many others who feel the same. Like you, I am a citizen of this country. My parents worked and toiled up until the day they died so they could make my life better than theirs. My father, like millions before him, came here with nothing, and from nothing, he managed to build something. This is my America, this is my country, I have an equal share, and like it or not, I am staying.
So if you don’t like it, my advice to you is to take cover. The “others” are mobilizing. We are watchful and ever vigilant. We SEE YOU and the depths of your ugly soul!! You won this time because we veered off the road. We were on cruise control, we fell asleep at the wheel, landed on the shoulder, and stayed a moment too long. But understand this: we will regain control, we will recover the wheel, and when we do, we will never let it go again.
2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Donald Trump”
This is very well stated, Ada. I have realized this week how “other” everyone I have surrounded myself is, white straight males are the minority in my life. I work with a trans woman, a black lesbian, a Polish woman, a gay man, and two middle Eastern men. All feel they do not have a place in this new America and I feel for them. I am scared as a woman. I agree, we see Trump, we are watching him, and we will be the face America in all its forms.
Thank you so much Jodi. They are not alone. Their are others who feel the exact same way. They have you and they have me and we will not allow tyranny to rule our country. This is our land!