Dear Mr. Trump,
Congratulations on becoming the next President of the United States. Though I did not vote for you, I can appreciate the tireless effort you put into running your campaign. The travel, the rallies, the speeches, the appearances, the interviews, the strategizing. I can only imagine it was all both exhausting and invigorating.
But now the real work begins.
Though I could never support you as a candidate, I am here to tell you that I will support you as a president. And I want to be clear what I mean by the word “support.” Support is not agreement, and it certainly isn’t adoration. The support of which I speak is a genuine desire for you to succeed. You are now piloting a plane with 319 million Americans aboard, and not a single one of us wants to see it crash.
You’re a savvy guy. You know that the work it took to win the campaign is different from the work it will take to govern a nation. As a master of marketing, you proved every pundit wrong and rallied a base of supporters to push you over the finish line into the Oval Office. And, during your victory speech, you demonstrated a capacity for gratitude and desire for unity that is critical if we ever wish bind up the deep wounds of division. They will definitely take time to heal.
Though I have never met you, I gather that success is very important to you. And to be successful as president, you must govern the whole country. Every last citizen. I know you can never make everyone happy. But as a practical idealist, I do believe it is possible for you to earn the trust of some of your detractors and still remain true to your campaign promises.
#1: Build a cabinet that looks like America. Show us that you are a man of your word. Your first act as President can be a quick win for you, proving to us that you truly meant it when you said that you respect all genders, races, religions and orientations. Honestly, I think it’s an easy one for you, too. After all, you are the man who bucked convention when you put a 33-year-old Barbara Res in charge of building a skyscraper when no one would trust a woman with such a big job. You relinquished control of your campaign to Kellyanne Conway. So, when it comes to building your cabinet, do the same. There are diverse geniuses out there. Find them and appoint them.
#2: “Make America safe again.” This was the theme of Day 1 of the Republican National Convention. Indeed, there are extremist groups who would love nothing more than to see our country in shambles. And I am anxious to hear your plans for eliminating these hateful groups who have twisted religious ideology into something unrecognizable to those who are true followers of the Islamic faith. We must be protected from these outside threats. However, in creating programs and policies to shield us, we must be aware of the unintended consequences of our actions to assure we don’t create new enemies or embolden those who already exist.
What’s more, we must not forget that there are internal threats to safety as well. There are many people who live within our borders who fear that your policies are a danger to them. These are law-abiding citizens who experience threats of physical harm based on their color or national origin. Some pay taxes and contribute to the good of our society, yet fear their families will be ripped apart because their parents were born south of the border. Others are loving, caring, peaceable people who face intimidation, insults and hate because they happen to read the same holy book as a terrorist in a faraway land, though they interpret the words very differently. Still more are twice as likely to face the use or threat of force during a traffic stop, and three times as likely to have their car searched, simply because their skin is a different color. And finally, let’s not forget those who are subjected to harassment based on who they love and who they wish to marry.
Prove them wrong.
Show them that your law and order can protect them, too.
#3: Repeal ObamaCare AND replace it with something better. This is another of your campaign promises of the first 100 days. But remember, for something to be better, it can’t lose all of the good from its predecessor. I am one of those (a self-employed entrepreneur for the past 14 years) who could not get health insurance on the open market prior to the Affordable Care Act. Make sure that I, and millions of my fellow Americans, don’t lose access to health insurance because of pre-existing conditions or the loss of a job. This is the starting point we must improve upon.
And after that’s done…
#4: Put America back to work. Your biggest voting block is disaffected people who feel like America has forgotten them. There is tremendous dignity in work, and when they lost their jobs, they lost themselves. So, when you decide to fix America’s bridges, roads, and airports, do it using labor at home. You’ve been given a tremendous gift with your party now in control of both the House and the Senate. Use this opportunity to accomplish what Obama couldn’t, and pass a jobs bill so amazing that it makes the New Deal look like a community college career fair.
Speaking of college…
#5: Show us you “love the poorly educated.” This is something you said on the campaign trail that really stuck with me. Our country has some amazing schools, and it also has some horribly under-funded ones. Show your love by working with educators to assure that living in a poor neighborhood or county doesn’t automatically mean you receive an inferior education. And work with funding experts to find a way to make college more affordable for those who want to attend.
And speaking of the intellectuals…
#6: Demonstrate that you “have a good brain.” This is something you said about yourself. And during your term as President, you will no doubt be faced with a crisis. It will be a surprise. Something that no one saw coming. Something complex. Terrifying. Yet subtle and nuanced.
And when you are faced with this, show us your good brain. Consult people with diverse perspectives. Employ a devil’s advocate. Explore the alternatives.
Then reflect some more.
Because a shot from the hip is rarely on target, and trusting your gut is far too flippant.
#7: Tell it like it is. Your supporters love you for this. In fact, it is probably your greatest strength. America is tired of politicians sugar-coating the facts and disguising the truth. The good news is, you never really needed this job, and you are no longer running for office. So use this to your advantage.
When party leaders get too bureaucratic and political, and fail to do what’s in the best interest of all of our citizens because it might not get them re-elected, then call them out on it.
When big donors ask for favors in return for contributions, tell them to take a hike. You don’t need the money anyway.
When news is bad, don’t lie to us.
When you don’t know something, ask.
And finally, if you make a mistake, tell it like it is.
A simple apology builds credibility and trust. Which you will need in abundance if you wish to be seen as a “winner” in this role.
There are certainly more keys to success in the office you now occupy. Too many to list here. Your job is both difficult and thankless. Even so, if you can accomplish these things, Mr. Trump, I believe history will be kind to you. Know that we’re depending on you. All of us. A patchwork quilt of diversity. And, while not all of us voted for you, we all need you to be the man you say you are.
A concerned citizen
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