February 20, 2017
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
It’s President’s Day, congratulations, one month in office - you made it. We made it!
Likely you’ll never read this letter. After all, the work of the president is too demanding to read every correspondence. Millions vying for your attention because your words, decisions, and behavior affect national and international policy. Yes the job of the president is so important I wonder if you will even still be in office by the time this letter reaches the White House? (Wishful thinking. Because in a just world, you would not be sitting where you sit.)
I mean, it’s not like you committed treason by colluding with the Russian government during the 2016 election or anything. Of course, one way you could alleviate some of this concern would be to release your tax returns. But I suppose this is all just more “fake news” trying to rain some pesky accountability down onto the old MAGA parade. The critics are such losers! They just don’t get it.
At least your supporters, those who still defend you (shamelessly wearing their sad MAGA hats) they get it. They know the truth and it starts with a capital T! Yes, they believe in you! This is likely why you decided to spend part of this weekend in front of a crowd of supporters instead of in DC? Then it was off to another pricey (at least for American taxpayers) weekend at Mar-a-Lago to be surrounded by paid staff, paying club members, and a nepotistic team of doting sycophants. In your mind, those who support you at your rallies and inhabit your world of Mar-a-Lago are “the real” Americans and everyone else is “the enemy.” This is delusional and dangerous thinking that can only shirk the responsibilities of the presidency for so long.
Your supporters don’t read the “failing” New York Times and tuned-off CNN long ago. Likely, they still read the same websites, blogs, and twitter feeds that supported you throughout your (apparently ongoing…) campaign. These sites continue to publish the same mind-blowing conspiracies and propaganda that frame you as a misunderstood and embattled hero standing up for the downtrodden against some “shadow government.” Well soak it up while you can. Bask in the adoration while it last, because make no mistake, most of these supporters will turn on you, or never even believed in you in the first place. They only voted for you, or supported you because they (like you) don’t seem to really give a fuck about anything but their own little pissed-off world.
Yes, “your people” don’t yet see what a majority of us saw long ago - you’re a fraud and unfit for the job. So why do I spend time writing a letter you won’t read in these your numbered days?Good question.
In fact, is there even a hard-mail room left in the White House to receive this retro act of civic engagement? The whole organization seems in such disarray it would be surprising to see a team of interns organized to even do this. In December, the New York Times Magazine published a piece on the Obama White House’s hard-mail room. Obama read ten selected letters a day. Of course, he was also an avid reader in general. Do you read letters? President Reagan answered dozens over the weekends. So, perhaps you’ll read this one? If not, this letter can at least serve as a trusted medium for gathering thoughts on where I stand. And to ask what comes next in this uncertain time for our country?
Unsurprisingly, I did not vote for you. I saw you as an inexperienced, dangerously unhinged, celebrity with sociopathic tendencies. Accordingly, ever since you won the election, when I am not mortified by your actions on television, I have a difficult time focusing on the day and sleeping at night. When I do sleep, I have bad dreams (Bannon is sometimes there!) Not that these dreams always have you in them, but I cannot help shake this permeating feeling of darkness. As if there’s a troll under the bridge, or some menacing force lurking beyond the shadows. I cannot see it, but I know it is there. In the morning, there is brief solace when my senses are still between sleep and awake, when it feels like maybe this was all just a nightmare. But then the reality of our shared collective-trauma hits - Trump is president.
And if someone, like myself, who benefits from the privileges that I do experiences these feelings of anxiety and fear, how are other people feeling? How are empathetic people to live in this new “normal” when the new “normal” is fear and chaos? The office of the president sets a tone and the one you set is uncivil.
I am angry and frustrated by your willful disregard for humanity and reason. Moreover, this has not been a “peaceful transition of power,” but instead what Naomi Klein labelled as a “corporate takeover.” Unsurprisingly, you lied to your voters when saying you would not work with the same insiders and investors you criticized throughout your campaign. Yes, I could list the many frustrating, frightening, and, embarrassing aspects of your administration, but I cannot continue living in this unhealthy way. I need to practice self-care and interact more with the positive aspects of this vibrant and educated community around me. President Trump, your corrosive and toxic influence will not beat me and will not destroy us.
I continue to remind myself that you’re only one man who can only do so much. (Admittedly, only one man with the nuclear codes, but still only one man…) You will not make me “go low.” I will listen, I will speak with my neighbors, friends, and family. We will ask questions, while holding a high bar of personal accountability, respect, and integrity as we set forth to enact positive change in this world.
As a political animal, I usually look forward to watching the State of the Union Address. To be fair, I didn’t really start watching until the W Bush years. I also clearly recall President Obama’s words setting a civilized, inspiring, and pragmatic tone. I wonder if the tone you will set on February 28th will be as appalling as the one you spew at your news conferences or pep rallies? If so, people like myself, won’t be able to sit through it. We will turn off the television and will just need to look somewhere else for leadership? This is not a bad thing. We must remain above your corrosive influence and breathe. Hopefully, more people will find their voice and use it to speak out against injustice and speak up for our shared human, environmental, and civil rights.
As I know you will never read this letter, I am also fairly certain you will not do anything to earn my respect moving forward, but this is okay. You have awoken something very powerful - an educated and engaged electorate who will hopefully appreciate and understand the value of the press and our civic institutions. So, thank you.
In your book, “The Art of the Deal,” you write, “I play to people’s fantasies.” You call it “truthful hyperbole … an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.” Your administration seems to be working under the understanding that the electorate doesn’t care if you have told and continue to tell demonstrable and perhaps treasonable lies. (Lies that you cannot continue to just blame on the media.) True, you will always have some who will support you, or will continue to say they do as if they were pissing in the wind. I call these the “fuck it voters”. But alas, I am again reminded of something President Obama said in his final address to the nation, “A selective sorting of facts is self defeating.”
Exactly, because soon, reality and facts will catch up with you.