Dear Mr. Trump,
First of all, congrats on an astounding win last night. You’ve just been hired for a new job, and man it’s a BIG one.
I can’t imagine what it was like to wake up in your shoes today. You probably haven’t slept at all, actually. No way I would’ve been able to, if I were you. But I can tell you what my morning was like, just in case you are wondering.
I woke up this morning with no knowledge of who won the election. I grew tired of the news networks constantly feeding me news flashes and major updates and too close to calls. All of the dramatic, over-produced banter was enough to drive this girl straight to bed. So I got a decent sleep, and woke up with that feeling in my stomach. You know, that flip-floppy, butterfly fluttering, upside down tingle in your gut that tells you that something big is about to happen. It reminded me of Christmas morning as a child, when you wake up anxiously awaiting to see what big surprises are in store for you. Except it wasn’t exactly a gift I was waiting for, it was a result…one of the most anticipated in American history. And it may very as well have been something I would have wanted to leave right there under the tree anyway.
Like many others who woke up to the news, or watched it unfold before their eyes, I was shocked. I was scared. It wasn’t the news that I had expected. It wasn’t the news I’d been told to expect, anyway. You certainly may not have expected it, either. So naturally, I needed a minute to process.
I glared at the tiny, glowing screen before me, reconfirming the information, and of course took to social media, beginning my descent down the rabbit-hole of endless opinions and self-expression. People were scared. People were rejoicing. People were angry. People were elated. People were crying, out of utter joy and out of absolute terror. People were most definitely not united.
Luckily, just then, my 4-year-old daughter came into my room, smiling and squealing, and jumped into bed with me. I welcomed her happiness, wrapped it around me like a warm blanket for my soul. Rather than continue down the path of fear and uncertainty, she brought me back to my grateful reality. I put down the phone, snuggled and giggled with her for a while, and a couple minutes later welcomed my son good morning with a loving hug as well. Clearly our children were just as happy as ever, their refreshing innocence both admirable and heartbreaking at the same time.
I went on with my morning, getting the kids ready for school, talking briefly with my husband, who was equally in shock. Of course, he is ridiculously excited that the control is back in the hands of the Republicans. As president of a family owned business, he knows that this hopefully means security and prosperity for our future. But he has his doubts and worries too. He’s not sure what to think of you, either. None of us are. But then again, change is never easy for anyone.
I took the kids to school, chatted with a friend or two in carpool, then headed to the grocery store. I could not ignore the fact that I was out of laundry detergent any longer. I was still in a daze, a fog of imminent change and uncertainty. I looked around to see if anyone else was feeling the same. I found myself wishing everyone was wearing magic t-shirts to announce how we were feeling. Maybe it would ease the tension a bit. Maybe it would free the uneasiness I felt.
But when I arrive at the check out lane, apparently I didnt need a t-shirt. My eyes said it all. The lady checking out my groceries is a tall, black woman, with sparkling, emerald-green eye shadow. She looks right at me, with her warm, loving gaze, and it comforts me. It’s like an invisible hug, those eyes. She smiles at me, and I let out a huge sigh of relief. Finally, a connection. She too, is uneasy, but she radiates with hope.
“Long night?” she asks.
Yeah. I muster.
“You know,” she starts, “It’s all going to be okay. We know who’s really in control. To God be the Glory. We gotta trust Him.”
We smile and nod at each other, and I feel tears welling up in my eyes, tears of relief, tears of hope, tears of sheer exhaustion from the emotional turmoil that has been this election season. I want to cry that it’s produced so much hate, so much division, so much distrust and anxiety. I want to cry, but I hold back.
I also have the overwhelming urge to hug this lady, but I don’t, because I decide that’s just a little too much. I would probably have to find a different Publix if I did. I’d be known as the crazy lady who goes around hugging and crying on people. Don’t let her down your aisle.
Anyway, Mr. Trump, I know you have a lot of work to do, so I’ll wrap this up.
I may or may not have voted for you. It’s really no one’s business, really. I love that we have a democratic process that allows us the right to vote for our leaders, but I have to admit I had a hard time supporting anyone during this election. I don’t know you personally, but I know what I was supposed to think of you. I know what the media spewed at me, I read all the headlines, got lost in the ridiculous news articles. I have to admit, I really wasn’t a fan of you, personally speaking. I was quick to judge, quick to give my negative opinions of you, quick to voice my concern of your character. I just plain didn’t like you as a person. But I realize now, that ultimately, I had become everything that I didn’t like about you in the first place. Because of what I was being fed, and from my own harsh judgments, and because of the liar that is fear, I became the worst kind of hypocrite. I never gave you a chance.
In my house we have a very important family rule; we respect whoever is elected president. We don’t tell our children who we voted for, we try not to voice our opinions too much in front of them, we simply preach love of country and respect for its leaders. We explain to them that you may disagree with the decision of a leader, but you must always show love and respect.
So I guess it’s time I start practicing what I preach.
After the dust had settled from the morning, after I’d put the groceries away and finally started the laundry, I picked my phone back up continued gawking at the unprecedented news. I watched your acceptance speech, and it calmed my nerves. Your love for this country is genuine. You didn’t have to take this job. You obviously don’t need the money. You could’ve easily retired, put your feet up, and floated off around the world on a million-dollar yacht or whatever. But you have a genuine love and a mission for this country. Now that I must accept that you are Commander in Chief, I must join you in this mission. I must put aside the negative opinions, the former judgments I had for you, someone who I thought I knew. Because now, to me, you are someone I that I must learn to love and respect. Because that is a gold standard to me.
All I ask of you, Mr. Trump, is that you extend that same love and respect towards me and my family. And of course, not just me, but all the millions of other Americans around this country. Because although your title demands respect, likewise, respect must be earned. There are many, many people in this country that are feeling lost, alone and scared this morning. They are the marginalized and the forgotten. They don’t know if their lives will ever be the same. They feel their voice may be lost forever. You must be their voice now. They also want your love and respect, even if they don’t know how to ask for it. It’s your job now to make them feel safe and secure. In order to make this country great again, you have to realize that the people of this country are already great. That we all want the best for ourselves and our families. That our ability to live together and celebrate our differences are what make this country great. We don’t want to live in a country full of fear and division. And it’s your job now to unite us. It’s in your job description.
Listen, you’ve got a tough road ahead of you. You have to show us all that your love for our country is indeed from a genuine, pure place. That you want the best for us all. That you can silence the naysayers and prove them wrong. We are putting our faith in you, Mr. Trump. Faith that you can be a uniter and a fighter of injustice. That you will recognize right from wrong. That you will give us hope and reassurance, and that this change you speak of will lead us all in the right direction, together. That you will make us proud, and make our children proud.
That’s a rather tall order.
Taller than any building you’ve ever built. More than any money you’ve ever made. Riskier than any business deal you’ve ever brokered.
These are our lives, Mr. Trump.
The people have spoken, so I will give you a chance. You had as fair a shot as anyone else. I think you have the potential to do a great job. I will no longer fear you, for I am better than that. I will rise above. I have faith in you. I have to. We all have to.
Just like the man who helped me take my groceries to the car this morning, when he said, “Who knows, he might be the greatest president this country’s ever seen.”
No pressure, but dude, you better not mess this up.
A Hopeful American