An open letter to President-elect Donald Trump,
I have always focused in this blog on school libraries and education, not on politics. Right now, though, I feel that I must articulate at least some of my thoughts following last week’s election.
I have never made my political views a secret, and everyone who knows me knows that I was devastated by the presidential election results last week. It wasn’t just that my candidate didn’t win; I was also extremely troubled to see how deeply polarized our country is. Clearly, the Democratic Party has lost touch with how many Americans feel angry and left behind. And, I was shocked how many of those voters who I am confident are good, caring people who love their families and their communities, were able to overlook your racist, misogynistic, bullying rhetoric and actions both before and during the campaign.
Okay, so I have vented, and now I am ready to try to move on to the real purpose of my letter. Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton have urged all of us who voted for Clinton to accept the results and to give you a chance to succeed in your new role as President-elect, and soon our President. As I try to do that, I have some requests that I believe are vital to success in your role:
1. Mr. Trump, it is imperative that you immediately, publicly denounce the support of hate organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and denounce all of the hate statements and acts we are seeing cropping up across the nation. You need to make a definitive public statement about each one that has been reported, reminding Americans that intolerance is not acceptable in our nation.
2. Immediately reverse your plan to appoint Stephen Bannon as chief strategist. His white supremacist, racist views and affiliations have no place in an administration that you promised, in your acceptance speech, to be for all Americans.
3. I have a lot more things I’d like to ask for, like strong support of education, environmental issues, and women’s right to choose, but I would be foolhardy to expect you to suddenly reverse your political views. Please, though, remember that you were elected in good part by people who have felt left behind. Do not abandon these same people by taking away the health care benefits that many of them have acquired thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And do not put immigrants raised in this country in fear of deportation or separation from their families.
4. Finally, you commented on how gracious President Obama has been in offering support during the transition period. It would be a statesman-like reciprocal act of courtesy on your part to both publicly and privately remind members of the Senate that it is their constitutional responsibility to act on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee before the end of this session.
Please remember that our children – who we as educators and parents teach every day to be kind and accepting of others – are watching. The rest of the world is also watching. Begin your administration by denouncing hate, and gathering people about you who do also.