Dear Mr. Trump,
I write first of all to congratulate you. You have done what many of us (myself included) thought simply wasn’t possible. I did not vote for you, and probably never would, but I have to give credit where it’s due. However you may have done it, your team pulled it off, and at the very least you deserve a little bit of gloating right now.
That being said, I believe that, as President-Elect, you now have a responsibility that I hope you take more seriously than you seem to have implied thus far. Part of that responsibility is leading ALL of this nation, not only your die-hard supporters or business partners, and that means I need you to be my leader, too. As you will soon be that leader, I wanted to take the opportunity to bring some of my concerns to your attention. My hope is that, if you truly wish to revolutionize this country to make it better, you will hear these concerns. As a local radio host said this morning (paraphrased), “I never thought Trump would make it this far. He’s done what I at least thought was impossible. I’m hoping he proves me wrong once again by being the best president we’ve ever had.” I don’t share his optimism, but I do, believe it or not, share at least his hope.
So, Mr. Trump, I wish to express to you my priorities, as a voting member of the republic, and as a citizen of both the United States and of Planet Earth.
- I believe that the Electoral College doesn’t work. None of us should have been forced to sit nailbiting over a few key states. Those of us voting against the normal current in “safe states” always end up feeling like our votes are being thrown away, regardless of who we vote for (at least at the national level). I would love to see this (or really any) presidential administration work to amend our constitution in order to somehow revise the system for presidential elections. Putting some specific regulations for state-level elections wouldn’t hurt either.
- I believe that the two-party primary system no longer works for anyone (and likely never did). Neither of Oklahoma’s chosen candidates in the primary made it to the main election. I was so proud last night to see how many of my fellow Oklahomans voted for Gary Johnson (6% of the total popular vote)! ***I myself did not vote for him because I don’t value his principles. Of the available boxes on my state’s ballot, Mrs. Clinton’s positions held most closely to my own priorities and values.*** But these three candidates should never have been our only options. Oklahoma disallows write-in votes. I know many people in the state who stay home on election day because they feel either their voices don’t matter (see item #1) or that they cannot in good conscience vote for the candidates who wind up on the ballot. Turnout for this election was unprecedented, but it could still be better. You are a business man who supposedly believes in free market capitalism. Prove it. Let’s open the election to multiple points of view (maybe even revise the constitution to implement some sort of ranked voting schema) by allowing multiple parties (or even multiple independents) on every state and national ballot.
- I believe in social justice for all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual identity, gender identity or expression, nation of origin, etc. Your campaign demonstrated that you don’t value those things to the extent I do (or perhaps even at all), but I hope you do know that those things would be important to me, regardless of my personal experience of various modes of oppression. (Side note: Please don’t take my marriage away. I’m rather fond of my wife.)
- I believe in rational decision making. As I argued in a previous post, at the end of the day it doesn’t bother me that your beliefs differ from mine. I only want to know that you are making your decisions in a rational manner and that I understand the facts that contributed to that decision. Do not talk down to me. Do not talk down to your supporters. Frankly, learn how not to talk down to anyone. Do not assume that those you might otherwise deem “losers” are incapable of understanding or acting like adults.
- I believe in compromise. Politics, at its heart, is the art of the compromise. In the business world, deal making means making sure that you come out of the deal better than the other guy. In politics, deal making should mean making sure that everyone comes out better from the deal. Learn to compromise. Unfortunately, some of the loudest voices on both ends of the political spectrum have been acting as if compromise is somehow contrary to value integrity. I disagree. Compromise is the only way this country is ever going to move forward. I believe you can lead by example in this area, by pressuring the current members of Congress to give Merrick Garland a hearing. They do not have to confirm him, if they choose not to do so, but, constitutionally and morally speaking, they owe him at least a hearing.
- I believe that the United States is only one organ in a global organism. I believe we need to learn to work together (see item #5) with other nations to address issues that effect more than just our nation: income inequality, poverty, climate change. You wouldn’t allow a foot to rot off because it isn’t the head. Diseases in one part of the world will eventually trickle into our own if we don’t work to cure it. And frankly, in some ways, the United States is part of that disease. Let’s work to cure our own ills while also looking toward how our ills effect the rest of the world around us.
I have many other specific concerns that I would love to bring to your attention, but really, addressing those six things in a meaningful way would go a long way toward addressing those as well. Our system is broken, and frankly, your election has come about as a result of that brokenness. If you truly wish to be the best president this country has ever seen, you cannot pretend that you have a mandate of the people. You don’t. What you CAN do is prove that you SHOULD, by fixing the system that elected you in the first place.
I doubt you will, but I have hope, and sometimes hope is all we can ask for.