Dear Mr. Trump: From the Depths of My Soul

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Washington Monument

Dear Mr. Trump,

You’ll likely never get around to this letter. Not that you don’t care — you might actually care a lot. But there’s so much out there for you to read, and you’re a busy man now. You’re the president-elect. And you have more important things to do than read a letter from a crushed Hillary Clinton supporter.

Still. I needed to write to you. I needed get some things off my mind. I needed to express my support for you, but I also needed to tell you about some things which are troubling me. So if this ever reaches you — can you spare a few minutes?

First, I offer my sincere congratulations. You have been elected to a high and noble office, held by some of the finest men in the history of the world. Your campaign was unconventional, yet you won as you listened to your supporters, engaging directly with them and speaking to their hearts. Many politicians in our democracy have forgotten how to do that, and your example was an important reminder of how it should be done.

I also want you to know that, though I supported Hillary Clinton as I have never supported a political candidate, I will give you every bit of respect that a President of the United States deserves. If you pass just laws, I will obey them. When you enter a room for a ceremony, I will stand. When you are insulted by enemies, foreign or domestic, I will defend you the best I can. Because that is what Americans do — we stick up for our people. You’re one of my people, as much as you and I may disagree sometimes.

And there are plenty of things we can agree on. We both agree that the American economy has favored the rich for too long, and that the middle class and the poor deserve a bigger share of the pie. We agree that trade deals have been rotten deals for some of our hardest-working citizens, and that our trade policy needs to be reformed to help those people. We agree that the immigration system in the United States needs a lot of work, though we may not see eye to eye on the solutions, and I think we can make some compromises in that area. We agree that the tax system is too complicated, that the national infrastructure needs work, and that parents deserve more support in bearing and raising children. On these and many other issues, I commit to support you and your government in finding the best solution for this country.

But there are some things, Mr. Trump, which affected me deeply during the campaign. I know you’re a straight talker, and you appreciate straight talk, so I’m going to lay it out plain here. There are things that I can never support in a president of the United States.

I will speak out against any use of government power to silence the press or the freedom of expression.

I will condemn any rhetoric which suggests that one group of Americans is better or more deserving than another — “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

I will stand up for the sacred right of every American to worship as they like, or not to worship at all, unless that worship unquestionably infringes on the rights of others.

I will fight any effort to set different standards of rights for one group of American citizens versus another, except such differentiation as that group may specifically request (for example, permission for Muslims to wear the hijab).

I will speak out against any act of war or violence which is not positively sanctioned by the American people through Congress and justified by imminent threat to human life or liberty.

I will condemn any words or actions which suggest that women are inferior to men or should be subject to men in any way.

I will fight any effort by our government to hide the truth or spread false information among its citizens, for “the truth shall make you free.”

I will cry out for the sacred rights of non-US citizens, in or out of the country, to be treated with dignity and grace as human beings.

Mr. Trump, I believe that you agree with me on all these points. I hope that is true. If it is, perhaps we only differ in our application of these principles, for I did feel that you violated some of these during your campaign. And if I feel that you violate them as president, “clothed in immense power” as you will be, I am bound by sacred honor to oppose such action.

So I plead with you — think of the sensibilities and wounds of this nation. Think of the millions who still suffer in poverty and discrimination. Think of the millions who may have been hurt by your words and actions. And heal. In that effort, I will be firmly at your side.

Sincerely,

Abe Collier

“I do not understand one thing in this world. Not one.” — Marilynne Robinson, ‘Gilead’

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