Dear Mr. Trump:
It looks like I'll be seeing you a lot over the next 4 years. I know you’ve been getting ripped lately, and, so I’m going to try to avoid that if I can and instead offer you my honest thoughts. Plus, is anything hackier than another white liberal, anti-Trump blog post? The world doesn’t need more of that shit.
I hope we’ll be friends, Mr. Trump, but if I’m completely honest, you scare me a bit. You becoming president reminds me of that episode of The Office, where Dwight thinks Jan has appointed him manager, and he becomes even more authoritarian, telling Angela that she can be in charge of “the women.”
You aren't Dwight, but I’ve seen your brand of recklessness before. I used to caddy at a country club where a lot of the golfers acted like you. They wore the same pleated khakis and talked about women in the same way. Some of them had big leather golf bags that were oblong and difficult to carry. The straps on the leather bags had sharp edges that dug into my skin. A company called Ping made a lighter bag with a more sympathetic strap, but I guess golfers don’t mind unnecessary weight when they aren’t carrying it.
A lot of people I know say that you’re mean. I’m a school counselor, so I know “mean” is never that simple--it always has a story. You probably wouldn't be mean to me if we met. You’d probably treat me the same way the golfers with the big leather bags did. They were rarely mean. They’d just pat me on the back and ask me the questions a rich, old golfer is supposed to ask his 13-year-old caddy: How are you doing in school? What do you want to be when you grow up?
I didn’t fault them for not caring to make a meaningful connection with me--that wasn’t their job. There was more personal/financial gain in charming the potential clients in our foursome. What I saw in the men at the country club was that they worked for their own bottom line for so long that it became their default setting. They did what a self-serving, old white guy who owns a business and is a member at a country club does. Why wouldn’t they? It was all they knew.
I suppose this is where my fear of you begins.
The day after you were elected, I talked to classrooms full of young people with tears and panic in their eyes. My students were scared that their families would be forced to leave our country when you became president. It broke my heart. I never thought I’d see such pain after a presidential election. And, this morning, my predominantly Black and Hispanic school held an assembly, and when our principal mentioned your name, 700 students booed.
I’m scared that winning at capitalism is all you know and that you are unconcerned about the cost of that mindset. I’m scared for the people and communities you will affect while you work to help our country “win” again. If the people who look like you start “winning” again, who loses? I’m scared to know your definition of “winning.” Is repealing universal health care winning? Is using minority groups to scapegoat the world’s problems winning? What about denying climate change or fear mongering? I guess it won you an election. Will your presidency be more of the same?
Mr. Trump, I know you probably don’t wake up in the morning thinking of ways to be mean to people. I know your meanness has a story, and you are only doing what you know. I’m forgiving of a limited perspective when it isn’t ego-driven and self-serving, when it doesn't limit our ability to empathize, when we notice and care about who is carrying our big leather golf bag. There are certainly folks with a background like yours who give generously and treat people well.
The richness of my life is due to the diversity of people I have the privilege of living and working with every day. I no longer carry around golf bags for rich guys capable of carrying their own bags. I'm now more concerned with doing what I can to lift some of the weight borne on the shoulders of our young people.
You say you want to be a president for everyone, and I hope you will be. But, I have my doubts...