Dear President Trump
Get ready Mr. President, Congress, and all elected officials. We have been reminded that you work for us, and we are going to hold you accountable. Fear and worry are useless emotions whose remedies are connection and action.
Dear President Trump,
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am one of those “nasty women” who participated in the Women’s March on Washington the day after your inauguration. I’d like to explain why I felt the need to protest as there seems to be some confusion around my reasoning.
I’m going to admit something that I am ashamed of. I was afraid. I feared what I had seen happening in America over the course of the last 15 years. After 9/11, I knew that our country would never be the same. In the immediate days after the attack, there was a sense of unity among Americans. We had a common purpose to unite in support of those who had been devastated. The very best of America was on display – selfless acts of heroism, generosity, kindness, and love. Unfortunately, that unity has all but disappeared. We are a deeply divided nation. You capitalized on that division by feeding the darker side of our human nature. Racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny – more simply stated, fear of the “other.” You openly displayed all of these and more through your words, mockery, tweets, and actions during the presidential campaign. From your opening statements as a candidate right up until the election, you never let us forget who, and what, you really are.
As a lifelong student of current events, both in our world, but, especially, of American politics, there have been election nights when I have been disappointed that the candidate I voted for did not win. However, I have never felt despair because I realized that our country would still go on as it has for the past 240 years. Sometimes “your” side wins and sometimes they lose. That’s life. After realizing that you would, indeed, become our 45th president, I had a visceral, sickening reaction. I thought of all of the people in this country you had threatened during the campaign, who now have very uncertain futures -the 11 million undocumented immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, African Americans, refugees, the LGBT community, and, yes, women.
As an American-born female, I realize how incredibly lucky I am. I have rights, opportunities, and protections that the vast majority of women in our world do not enjoy. I also realize that these rights are fragile. To me, the phrases “Make America Great Again” and “America First” do not inspire hope and patriotism among all Americans. For those who have had to, and are continuing to fight for civil rights, these phrases stir feelings of confusion and fear. They hear a leader who seems more intent upon using a bully pulpit to erode protections to our Constitution through the use of outright lies, manipulation and name-calling than uniting us through an inspired vision, with uplifting ideas and messages. You seem to aspire to awaken the worst impulses of, rather than the better angels of our nature.
You have praised the actions of brutally oppressive authoritarian leaders such as Kim Jong Un and Bassar al-Assad. Most troubling is your affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He seems to be playing you like a fiddle. Either that, or he has compromising information about you – perhaps personal, or business, or maybe both – that have you defending him and the actions of Russian hackers meddling in our presidential election process, while simultaneously questioning the motives of US intelligence officials. Make no mistake, Putin’s aim is to expand the Russian empire, and he is counting on your help, Mr. President.
We have no idea what your foreign business entanglements are because you refuse to release your tax returns. You proclaim that you have removed yourself from all of your business interests, but have shown no proof that you have actually done so. With your sons still running The Trump Organization, do you actually expect us to believe that you are not aware of deals that are being made (to now curry favor with the leader of the free world) that you could potentially make billions of dollars from? Are we supposed to think that you are being selfless by refusing the $400K salary you would earn as President in exchange for all of this? You are now arguably the most powerful man on earth. The power of influence by virtue of the office you hold is enormous, to say the least. Give me a break.
You have shown by the manner in which you conduct business that you have little regard for the average worker. It is standard practice for you to deny payment to sub-contractors, many of whom have gone bankrupt as a result, just because you can. You have made “pie in the sky” promises to Americans who are desperate for a way to improve their lives. Trump University is a lesson to those who believe in your promises to bring wealth and jobs in exchange for their trust in you. Your own sales executives for Trump U. admitted under oath that it was a “total scheme,” “a facade,” and a “lie.” The problem with lying and giving false hope to Americans seeking better lives, though, is that it will take a lot more than a $25 million settlement to make it up to them when they realize you never had any intention of helping them.
The job of US President is arguably the most challenging one in the world and requires a sense of steadiness and wisdom. Since taking office, it seems that you cannot let go of the fact that you could have possibly lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, or that the size of the crowd at your inauguration was not as big as other ceremonies, and certainly nowhere nearly as large as the crowd at the march. You continue to spout “alternative facts” about massive voter fraud and are becoming an embarrassment. It is time to move on. There is a great deal for you to learn about global dynamics. You are the President, for God’s sake. Turn off the television. This is no reality show. What is going to happen when the leader of a foreign country with nuclear weapons insults the size of your hands?
So, saying all of that (and there’s a lot more I left out), I marched because, as a United States citizen, I know the power of showing up. Because I could be there, I had to be. I realize that, for those who have truly been disenfranchised throughout American history, it might seem that I am attempting to claim that my opposition is akin to theirs. I realize it is not. There are many others -especially those whose skin color is not the same as mine – for whom the experience of true oppression and inequality has been, and is, a struggle even to this day. I wasn’t in Washington to whine or pout. I was there to fight fear. The people that I encountered during the march were respectful, polite, kind, and unafraid. I witnessed nothing but respect and praise for law enforcement who were there to keep order. The fact that, in a crowd of over a half-million people, there was not one arrest, speaks volumes. I do believe that, unwittingly, you have unleashed a powerful force in this country. You are only beginning to see, not merely millions of fierce and determined women, but also a renewed understanding of the power of the citizen in the United States. We are awake, and we must continue to show up. Get ready Mr. President, Congress, and all elected officials. We have been reminded that you work for us, and we are going to hold you accountable. Fear and worry are useless emotions whose remedies are connection and action.
Katie H. Powers
Readers: If you are interested in learning more about practical ways to influence lawmakers and public policy to resist the Trump agenda, please visit: https://www.indivisibleguide.com