Our president-elect is a man most of the voters in this country did not want to be president. Most of the major world leaders did not want him to be president, either.
Despite his boasts, he is a poor businessman who has filed for multiple bankruptcies. This is a man who in one year filed an almost billion dollar loss on his taxes. He has reneged paying contractors and vendors. Furthermore, his business relationships will raise questions about the decisions he will make as president around conflicts of interest because he never made these relationships clear and transparent.
His campaign appealed to the worst aspects of ourselves as a nation: racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and anti-Muslim. He peddled fear. He threatened the press. He undermined our legal system when he raised questions about Judge Curiel’s impartiality and both attacked and extolled the work of the FBI.
Our president-elect is a thin-skinned narcissist. He has no experience in any level of government in any capacity, except as a citizen of this country. Our president-elect holds the most powerful position in the world despite having no experience or credentials to indicate he can execute the office of President of the United States.
And yet, he is our president-elect. If you can’t read the message by now, you should resign. The electorate is angry. Despite eight years of economic growth following the worse recession since the Great Depression, prosperity is spread unevenly at best. Our nation has changed culturally over the last few decades, which has left people feeling unsure of this nation’s identity. Globally, though we have the mightiest military in the history of the world, we have seen the dramatic limits to that power, which raises questions about our preeminence and power. The electorate’s anger has made it blind to reality.
Donald Trump makes your job harder. He is not a conventional politician or leader. His campaign has shown him to be unpredictable and vindictive. He does not respect civil rights and does not appear to have a firm grasp of the Constitution.
You are the firewall which stands between our ideals and values as a nation and a president who has shown autocratic tendencies. Your task has expanded beyond your normal duties creating the budget, passing legislation, as well as the responsibility to advise and consent. You have the additional task to ensure the president’s responsible use of power and authority and to hold him fiercely accountable when he exceeds it.
To the Democrats: You have to stand up for the millions of people in this nation who are angry and who have felt forgotten. Stop taking people of color and immigrants and people on the underside of our economy for granted because the GOP has been so callous. Over the past few decades you have forgotten the people who work hard every day to take care of their families and have played by the rules while watching their dreams vanish.
While I don’t advocate that you bring government to a grinding halt, which was the GOP’s tactic for the last eight years, I do urge you to stand firmly for the common good. Boldly remind the people that justice and peace rooted in love are for everyone. Keep in mind Dr. King’s words from his Letter from Birmingham City Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Be a thorn in the side of the GOP to remind them unceasingly that along whatever path they choose to lead this country that everyone must be included.
To the GOP: The Trump presidency weighs heaviest upon you. You spent almost two-thirds of the last quarter century delegitimizing the president, first by impeaching Clinton for receiving oral sex (with the rich irony of the House leadership at the time having adulterous affairs of their own) and then refusing to work with the current president. In so doing, you diminished the office so that we have no qualms about electing a man so obviously incapable of handling its complexities.
You had a chance through the primaries to disavow him and to end his run. When he became your candidate you tap danced furiously to separate yourself from him while not casting him aside. You could have worked hard to endorse Secretary Clinton as a better candidate for the good of the nation and clearly warned that your candidate is unfit and unworthy of this office, but you didn’t.
You now have a president whom you don’t like. You have a candidate who tapped into many of the fears you promulgated despite signs to the contrary. Your head of the party read your base correctly and fed it the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic messages you have been promoting since Nixon’s southern strategy.
You have fed the electorate’s discontent by transparently moving wealth from the underclass to the upper class, while cutting the economic supports the underclass needs to have a modicum of human dignity. You have abdicated your responsibility to serve as civil servants by shutting down the government like a petulant child who doesn’t get his way. You consistently relaxed regulations to allow large corporations to prosper at the expense of their employees. You decided to keep government small so that people without access to wealth or power have no protection and no recourse when they face the negative Darwinian characteristics of capitalism.
You have a rare trifecta, control over all three branches of government. You have a choice. You can continue the policies which have become your pattern, increasing military spending, cutting social spending, and promoting corporate power. You can continue to fight immigration reform. You can continue to deny climate science and turn away from sensible environmental regulations. You can continue to be blind to gun violence in this country by doing nothing. All of these serve your needs and not the needs of those who are so angry that we have a president-elect that even you concede is unfit for office.
Or, you can be a party that will finally put this nation ahead of party loyalty and ideological doctrine so that all the people will be served. You can be the party that will end the dysfunction and seek compromise in order to promote the common good.
This nation’s future is up to you.