November 29, 2016

Dear President Trump: I Will Not Hate You

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Dear President Trump,

You’ve spent the past months fighting against half of the country to earn the vote of the other half. You said some hurtful things, things you thought you had to say to get votes. You made hateful promises to your voters, the ones who asked you to make ever more bombastic, belligerent vows to earn their trust, their fervor, their votes.

You went to bed on Election Eve representing that half of the country. And you woke up the next morning representing all of us.

So now I’m going to ask you what I ask of every president—to make us better. All of us. Not because I think you can, or because I think you want to, but because it’s the only glimmer of hope I see: that maybe you woke up on November 9 with the somber realization that you now inhabit the most sacred, honorable office in our country, and that you now represent every citizen of the United States, not just the ones who voted for you. And I hope when you opened your eyes to the sunlight that day that you considered the only thing you have left to build on top of your palaces and your monopolies and your kingdom—the one thing you haven’t attained, haven’t completed yet: your legacy.

You represent Muslims now, and Mexican Americans. You’re their president, and though you threatened to remove illegal immigrants and temporarily ban Muslim immigration to gain votes, now you’re tasked with making the country great again for them, too. This is what a president does, and this can be your legacy.

You represent women now. And though you threatened their bodies and their autonomy, you are their president. I hope you make this country a place where they can do their work and break through ceilings and make their own decisions with the respect and support of their fellow countrymen. This is what a president does, and this can be your legacy.

You’re the president of our LGBTQ citizens now. Now that you’re president, their issues and opinions demand your representation. You can make them feel unsafe and unwanted, or you can make them feel welcome and heard. I think you know which a president should choose. I hope that this is your legacy.

I hope that you wake up tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and that you feel proud of what you earned. And I hope that that pride drives you to do good, for the sake of the country and those of us that live in it. And for your own legacy—for how you go down in the textbooks and the eyes of your grandchildren. Don’t waste this.

I will not hate you. I’ll hold you to the same high standards I hold the people I love. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “I would rather die than hate you.”

The only god I pray to is love. My prayers are with you. TC mark

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