Dear Mr. Trump,
In a few short weeks you will become President of the United States, a fact which utterly galls me. It isn't just that you fomented the "birther" charge against President Obama and seem to lie all the time, but simply, that I am better than you. In fact, I think that most of us are, with but a few exceptions...
For months you have said -- and wore a hat made in China to prove it -- that you were going to "make America great again". That's fine for a campaign slogan: because "greatness" is not a political hat trick. It isn't just a matter of economics. It isn't a matter of defeating an enemy. Nor is it a matter of vapid verbal jousting. Greatness is in how a single person, a group of people, or a nation acts: especially when confronting problems and challenges. Do we chuck civility, justice, and kindness out of our window for the sake of a "victory" -- however shallow or temporary?
Do you have the possibility of greatness within you? I might as well ask, do I? From all that I have read and seen, I think that you are much closer to scumbag than to being a great human being: you have become quite successful in making-losing-making-losing-and making, again, money: but really, so what? You have filled your Cabinet with billionaires, military figures, and a few tokens to women and African-Americans: so what? I am afraid of the policies that you and a Republican controlled Congress will enact: I am afraid of legitimizing descrimination and gender inequality. I am afraid of racial and religious oppression. I am afraid of your militarized supporters taking to the streets when I protest your policies of exclusion, increasing profits for the billionaire class, destruction and exploitation of the environment, and war making. I do not trust you, nor do I trust the terrorism of the KKK and other militias.
Do you have the possibility of greatness within you? I know that I do. Perhaps, though, you will discover a thread of compassion for others within you and weave it into policies that will build upon the efforts of President Obama (yes, you are standing in his shadow!) Yeah, I think that he should have prosecuted everyone who profited off the policies and practices that led to the Great Recession (which probably includes you)... and yeah, I think that he should have made economic justice for everyone in this country a priority -- not just the prevention of economic collapse. But you could choose to build upon his efforts: not by lowering the taxes of the 1% but by convincing them to become public servants, divesting themselves of, say, 90% of their wealth, and creating a progressive tax system that re-distributes the unnecessary and destructive greed of the 1% into a full employment economy in which a living wage and social justice is the norm.
Do you have the possibility of greatness within you? I know that a future of peace requires an elimination of war profiteering. Why should a business profit off making bullets or bombs? Why should a business profit off polluting this planet? Why should a business profit off the sexual exploitation of women or children? Why should blacks still be victims of white racism and policies and practices that keep so many confined to lives of poverty and exclusion? Why should any woman, anywhere, fear for her safety: and why should anyone profit from a woman's economic oppression? Why should the "average American" not anticipate a life of expanding educational opportunities, just wages, affordable health care, and a life of meaning, value, and purpose? Greatness is precisely in the gap between the "is now" and the "what could be". Greatness is truth. Greatness is fairness, Greatness is equality. Greatness is conservation -- looking at least seven generations forward. Greatness is reconciliation of opposites. Greatness is the will to live every moment as if everyone else matters just as much as you: and then in acting in such a way that proves it!
Soon enough, you will be sworn in and I will be out in the streets protesting, but I am open to being surprised by you! Maybe your Cabinet of billionaires is a strategy. Maybe "justice for all" will become evident. Maybe the bombs will cease to fall: except out of production. Maybe we'll learn to relax about our differences and learn to love our Jewish-Muslim-Immigrant-Gay-Transgender-neighbor-who-is-a-Farmer. I'll dream a truck-load of maybe's until you prove you are the scumbag I fear you are: then I'll be protesting: we'll just see who and what is great.
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.