An Open Letter to Mr. Trump

Mr. Trump,

I consider myself politically independent. In the past, I have voted for Independent candidates, Republican candidates, and Democratic candidates. I have always voted based on what I valued most at the time and what I thought would be best for my country. I have always chosen the candidate that seemed most likely to respect and attend to what matters to me. I assume that many people vote this way and I have a deep appreciation for being able to live in a democracy that allows each citizen to define what is important to them and vote accordingly. I do not expect everyone in my country to embrace the same issues.

I have realized over the years that my voting is heavily influenced by the content of candidates’ character. As an artist and a writer I make it my business to study people carefully. I find that I discover a lot of valuable information about people when I think about their history and what motivates them. Because of you I have been challenged in ways that I never have before in terms of understanding what motivates other people. This election season, Mr. Trump, your words and actions have also caused me to realize a lot about the content of my own character.

Since you, as someone without any public service experience, declared your desire to be the leader of the free world I have realized that I swear – a lot. If I had a dollar for every time I said “WTF” in response to the things you have said over the last eighteen months I could have paid off the national debt and had enough left over to buy myself an island to move to in case the United States becomes the target of World War III. I would allow people of all ethnic, religious and sexual backgrounds to inhabit my island. Since I purchased the island, I would probably make some rules that I would expect the inhabitants to follow. Swearing would be allowed on my island but words and actions that threaten the well-being of other people and cause them to say “WTF” would not be tolerated. So that would mean that name-calling, racism, mocking the disabled, and language condoning sexually assaulting women would not be allowed on my island. Anyone engaging in such activity would be asked to leave my island. If someone running for political office engaged in such conduct, they would be automatically eliminated from the political race.

Mr. Trump, the way you have conducted your political campaign to run the United States has shown me just how important the safety of my fellow citizens is to me. I didn’t fully realize that until you threatened the well-being of so many people that make up the fabric of my country. I have always just taken for granted that whoever ran my country would consider the best interest of every citizen – regardless of their skin color, physical ability, religious beliefs, or sex. Thank you for enlightening me and causing me to realize how very important it is to me to empower people to run my country whose number one priority is attending to the well-being of everyone.

I understand that you have been elected President of the United States because you used words to connect with people who have been frustrated by employment issues, high health-care costs, and have felt that their moral beliefs have been trampled. I have definitely struggled with employment issues, high health care costs, and have felt my own beliefs have been trampled. But when you started attacking my fellow countrymen and started poking holes in the multi-faceted fabric that has always made up America, you showed me that I cared about other people so much that I could not possibly vote for you. I realized that what I valued more than anything was the opportunity for everyone to live in America without feeling threatened.

I don’t fault people in my country for making their top priorities this election season financial gain, hanging onto their guns, or creating a Supreme Court that makes abortion illegal. I don’t fault them for believing you are the man who will focus on what they value because you switched from being a Democrat to being a Republican. This is America; everyone has the right to determine what they believe and what they value most. I just don’t think I will ever understand why those issues are so important to them that they are able to ignore the hurtful words that have come out of your mouth and the threats you have consequently made to so many citizens.

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for showing me that I care more about how living women are treated in this country than unborn ones. You have shown me that I have so much self-respect that I could not possibly vote for a man who brags about grabbing women’s genitalia and dismisses it as locker-room banter. Mr. Trump, you have helped me realize how naïve I am. I actually believed that most American women would be repulsed by the idea of voting for a man who believed he had the right to freely talk about groping women. I foolishly thought that would be a deal breaker; that not making a role model of such a person would supersede any other top priorities that women had. But this is America and they have a right to dismiss the fact that you have talked about women as if they are simply sex objects whose appearance you have the right to assess out loud.

I was also shown how naïve I am when I thought that more people would understand that your desire to cleanse our country and any attempts to follow through will weaken our standing in the world and consequently threaten the future safety of every single American. I thought that would prevent most people from voting for you. I was wrong. Because enough people in my country are indifferent to what the foundation of America has historically stood for – safe harbor and land of liberty for all –  and are more concerned about their own desires, you have been elected leader of the free world. Congratulations.

I plan to treat you and the people who voted for you with respect. I believe many people voted for you because you represented anti-establishment. I have always been anti-establishment by nature, but I believe that human decency and treating our fellow human beings respectfully is something that is so established at the core of our existence that it isn’t optional. Because your rhetoric has helped me better understand my character and realize what I value most, I plan to spend the next four years doing anything I can to restore America’s foundation and help make it feel safe for every minority you have attacked with your words. Now that you have been elected to be part of the establishment, I have no idea what you will actually attempt to do the next four years, but please don’t take away my right to say “WTF” if you hurt other people.

Sincerely,

Julie Ryan

2016-11-10

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© 2016 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Julie Ryan.

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