Wednesday, November 09, 2016

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Against the odds, the Donald won the elections. He needs to remember that there were 44 presidents before him, many of them great men. Here is what I would like him to consider.

Dear Donald,
Man, I really didn’t want you to win, particularly since this was the first U.S. election where I had voice. You see, I am a naturalized American originally from Germany, like your granddad. I had hoped that my now fellow citizens would vote for the other one. Not because I was so crazy about Hillary. I was just scared witless by what you said during the campaign. In the end, you did win fair and square. Kudos to you. This could be such a great American story. Not exactly from dishwasher to millionaire given that you grew up sucking that proverbial silver spoon. But the outsider taking on the establishment and staring it down.

And why not? I don’t think the people who voted for you are stupid. I actually agree with them in that the establishment sucks. I don’t necessarily agree with them about your predecessor, nor Bush Jr. (or Sr. for that matter), nor the other Clinton. I think politics in the West lost its respective electorates over 30 years ago. We were just all too busy “making it”. In the process, we, the voters, forgot to hold politicians accountable and they grew too comfortable and self-satisfied and corrupt. In a sense, all of us were too much focused on ourselves. That’s one thing you and I agree on.

It’s not even a uniquely American thing. Look at the UK’s Brexit and UKIP, look at France and Le Pen, Germany’s AfD, Turkey’s, Hungary’s and the Philippines’ strong men. Just like in the US, too many people felt left behind and voted for anyone professing to be anti-establishment. Even if feeling left behind is imaginary (and I don’t know that), then everyone who was running the show over the last 30 years failed to communicate properly that things were improving. You are just the latest outsider who reaped the benefits of the fact that growth and improvement did not come for all.

So, here is what I would like you to do: prove me wrong. Make sure America stays great. I actually never thought it had stopped being great but let’s not split hairs. Look after the people who were really left behind. By all means, screw the establishment but keep in mind that plenty of establishment people really care for the country. 

Please tell me you were just kidding about the wall and renegotiating trade and environmental agreements. Germans have a particular dislike for walls because so many of us grew up on the wrong side of it. Also, I know illegals who are working their butts off for the American dream. They pay taxes and are contributing to society. If they could live their full potential, think about how much more they could achieve. What is more, to my knowledge, they haven’t raped a single person. 

Also, if you want to renegotiate trade or environmental agreements, please only to improve them. They are not bad per se you know. Ah, and try to listen to people from across the aisle. You are in control of the White House and both chambers. That gives you a fantastic opportunity to listen to people from all over. Remember what you kept on saying during the campaign: the establishment also sucked in plenty of Republicans. 

So, here is the gist: prove me wrong. Do what you do best by not caring too much about being consistent with things you’ve said before and get things done. Remember, there were 44 presidents before you. Many of them were great men. Make sure that something of the country is left for the next batch. So, no funny ideas about changing the constitution just because you don't like some bits.


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