Note: I have briefly interrupted my novel writing to compose a brief series of letters. I will be sending each of these letters to the politicians in question. I want to make each of them laugh and I want to be gracious.
Because it’s too easy to be bitter and angry right now, and that combination has never helped.
Dear President Elect Trump,
Those words I just wrote… they are not the best words. I hope you’ll forgive me saying this but I think it’s better that I’m forthright about my feelings. Right now my feelings are as follows:
“Doom looms, dearly beloved, doom looms.”
I’ve followed your career in public life for 30 odd years; you’ve made me laugh, early and often, but I’m not a fan. I’ve typically thought of you as a high-end confidence man, preying on the weak; more recently I’ve seen you as a bully, busying himself with finding scapegoats for what you see as your inevitable failures.
So prove me wrong. Please. I don’t want you to be a bad president; I don’t want you to be impeached by a Republican congress and– even though a lot of words on the Internet disagree with me here– I don’t want you to die in a fire. I love my country; those things would hurt my country.
I want good things for you. I want you to be America’s greatest president. This is something we have in common– if for no other reason because this is where our self interest collides. If you do a good job, lives all over the world get better. American lives get better. I will spend less money on booze.
I’m a nobody and I know you don’t put a lot of stock in nobodies. That said, I’m a dad and I make people laugh, two of the highest callings in life. Two things that we share. Arrogant as it is, let me offer a little bit of inspiration. You can do a lot of good in the next four years and I’d honestly like to help.
First, leave your gut behind.
You’re not being chased by a bear and you don’t have to make fight or flight decisions.
Ask for facts and make decisions based on those facts. The purpose of laws has never been to prevent imaginary things or ‘what if’ scenarios. All things are possible; not many of them are likely, and most things are stupid and annoying. Laws exist to deal with real problems, and the only way to know where your problems are lies in asking questions and looking at boring-ass numbers until you get your answers. That is maybe the only way that governing is like running a business– they both need a solid foundation, they need plans that are based in reality. And if you’re fighting an imaginary fight then you’re ignoring the real one– America has some very real fights in the offing. Please don’t let this happen.
Second, stay inclusive.
We have a big country and it’s deeply divided. Right now, if I could make this country better through the power of kickpunching or yelling on the Internet then I’d do it. It’d feel good. Maybe my main job in life isn’t to feel good, though, and maybe picking fights and whining aren’t good long term strategies for me to pursue. Instead, let me urge you: please reach out to the communities you’ve used as rungs in your ladder to the White House and let them know you’ll listen. If you’re really interested in stopping Islamic Terrorism in the U.S. then reach out to the countless patriotic American Muslims and ask for their help, ask them to look for signs of trouble in their communities. Give them every reason to trust their government, to trust your judgement, and they will respond.
To this end, focus on hate crimes as an early target. I don’t know why violent White Nationalists don’t get labeled as terrorists in the media– terror is their obvious goal– but they don’t. If you start calling the Alt Right “terror babies” then you will gain millions of supporters. I know you’re not afraid to offend people and this is a great place to put that skill to use. You’re welcome.
Third, take responsibility.
Noted conspiracy Mormon Glen Beck has identified you as a historic threat to the United States. He’s also called our first black president a possible anti-Christ, so, you know, grain of salt. He gave a remarkable interview with NPR’s “On the Media” recently and I urge you to seek it out. I think you’ll enjoy listening to him squirm. He comes off as a bad guy, even though he’s saying a lot of things that I want to hear, and it’s because he won’t take responsibility for more than a decade of conspiracy theories, made up facts and borderline hate speech. He blames himself for your rise to power… but all he wants is his interviewer’s praise for agreeing with him about something. “I’m going against my tribe!” he insists, but no part of me respects a half-brave man.
If you end up being the best American president– hell, the best person!– things are still going to go wrong. Lots of things. Huge things. The best things. When that happens, don’t look around for a bus to throw someone under and don’t start building the bus. After the sixth or seventh time, people will sense a pattern and– as distractible as we are– they’ll see the coward in their midst. Not that you are a coward, just that we are what we do. Republicans will eat their own, Mister President Elect, and some of the most powerful people in your party are ready to see you fail. If you start trying to sacrifice your potential enemies– we’re all potential enemies– then they will see you as a threat and unite against you. When people are watching, scapegoats are a trap. Think of the great scapegoaters of the 20th Century and the bunkers they ended up huddled in. Billions of people are watching you, and millions of them aren’t going to blink.
In summary, I know I’m going to continue to disagree with you about a lot of things. Barack Obama is the president I voted for, twice, and there are a ton of things he and I don’t see eye to eye on. Drone strikes, for example, and Spider-Man comics– which I like, but I haven’t really read any since Busiek’s Untold Tales of Spider-Man and of course Bendis’ early Ultimate Spider-Man books. These are deep-seated divisions, y’know? A big reason I’m going to disagree with you, though, is that I don’t know best. I’m a mistake-maker; I make the best mistakes.
I’m a fact-based guy, though, and I believe in results more than rhetoric. Be a president I can be proud of and you’ll win me over. We are what we do, Mister President Elect. You can do great things.
MA, MLS, Philosophe Stupide