Dear Mr. Trump,
Congratulations on your victory. The American people have spoken, and while I did not support you, I do believe in our democracy so I will respect the outcome of this election. My frustration is passing, my denial is lifting and as difficult as it feels at this moment, I’ve decided that all I can do is have hope for the future, and write to say what I believe.
I will not say that the election was rigged because the candidate I supported lost. I will not call you names and I will not throw insults at you in an attempt to tear you down. I will not do that, because not only would that be childish, it would be un-American. And despite the fact that you did all of those things time and time again throughout your campaign and still managed to win, I refuse to believe that makes them right.
When I turned off the election coverage last night I went to bed sick to my stomach. The results were not final, but it was clear what was coming. I tossed and turned in bed wanting desperately to reach for my phone to check for updates but I resisted. I resisted in part because I wanted to hold on to a glimmer of hope, and in part because I knew if I looked and discovered the truth, I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep.
Even though I already knew what I would see when I woke up, I wasn’t prepared for the emotions triggered by the results. As I lay in bed, reading article after article in an attempt to understand how and why this happened, I began to cry. Not just for myself, but for all Americans, for all children and for all of the world.
You see Mr. Trump, not only does the President lead our country, he serves as a symbol—a symbol of hope, courage, freedom and inspiration. The world is watching you, Mr. Trump, and that is why I cry. I feel ashamed that I will have to explain to my young niece and nephews that just because our President calls people “losers,” it doesn’t mean they can do the same. Ashamed that when I travel to other countries I’ll have to explain that just because I am an American, it doesn’t mean that I’m ignorant or that I believe in discriminating against immigrants based on their religion. Ashamed that one day I’ll have to explain to my own children that just because our President judges a woman’s worth based on her appearance, that doesn’t make it right.
I want to live in an America that values acceptance, equality and kindness. As of this morning, I fear that we have regressed back into prejudice, divisiveness and hate. This is why I plead with you, Mr. Trump: be mindful of your words and your actions. Please understand that you are no longer responsible for just yourself and your company—you are now responsible for an entire nation and we’re counting on you. Words are powerful, and every word you speak, type or Tweet will represent America and will be heard by the entire world. I hope with every ounce of my being that you take that to heart. Political campaigns tend to bring out the worst in a person, and I can only trust that the dangerous rhetoric you’ve used over the past two years can now shift into messages that are worthy of this most precious and powerful position you’ve been elected to—the highest position in the land and arguably the world.
Your outrageous comments and the candid manner in which you “tell it like it is” may have won over some voters, but if any other traditional candidate made just one of the hundreds of incredibly offensive remarks you made, their bid would have ended long ago. It’s often said that celebrities are above the law, and your campaign proved that to be true.
Make no mistake, Mr. Trump, many Americans voted for you not because they like you or even agree with you, but because they want change and they’re willing to take it at any cost. They feel that D.C. is broken, and I tend to agree. However, your victory should not and does not validate your behavior on the campaign trail. It does not give you license to continue to put others down or call them a “dummy,” “clown” or “liar” if they disagree with you. A true leader recognizes that he doesn’t know it all and that he isn’t always right. A true leader understands that conflict brings forth the opportunity for growth. A true leader listens to others and considers their opinions because he understands that is how we progress.
I was shocked to hear you say in your victory speech that you want to meet with the people who didn’t support you so that you can understand their points of view—that is probably the most encouraging thing I’ve heard you say in your entire campaign, and I truly hope it foreshadows a more tolerant and accepting tone for your Presidency.
I’m well aware that in the excruciatingly small chance you actually read this letter, I will be dismissed as a “wacky nobody” or a “sore loser,” and if that’s what you want to think then so be it. But I am still an American and you will still be my President, so I implore you to take this plea into consideration as you lead me and the millions of others of Americans who believe that we are a nation that treats each other with respect; one where all men, women and children are created equal.
Please be a President whose words and actions will make us proud.
Los Angeles, CA