An Open Letter to President Trump

Dear President Trump,

I do not envy the tasks before you. You’ve inherited a country that’s divided on almost every issue, constituents who are spoiling for a fight, and a media machine that seems determined to thwart every move you make.

Regardless of how anyone feels about you or your plans, that is undeniably a tough row to hoe.

Much of the blame for the state the country is in can be placed at the feet of the media. You can’t vilify both candidates for over a year and then expect everyone to feel safe when one of them eventually wins. That said, the fault likely lies with us, too, for believing much of it.

I’m not going to tell you how to do your job. You won a highly contentious election, so you obviously have some idea of what you’re doing. All I’m asking you to do is simple: Unite us as a people.

Sounds simple, but it isn’t, because what I’m asking you to do is give us something to believe in. To be an example of a good man, to represent our country well, and to serve the people of the United States. It’s going to be extremely difficult, and a ton of work, but, to be honest? I’m rooting for you. Really I am.

I didn’t vote for you, but you are now my president and, as such, I genuinely wish you the best of luck. Bipartisanship has done little but ensure that half the country is miserable for four-to-eight years. Average citizens have lost faith and trust in the people we elected to serve us, and our politicians can’t seem to agree on anything because there’s now too much pride at stake to ever concede on anything.

I believe the official term for it is “special interests,” but what it boils down to is that people are more concerned about their personal priorities than they are about considerations of the greater good.

So what I’m asking you to do, begging, really, is to be a peacemaker. Many of the people you are now responsible for are terrified. Reassure them. They don’t understand your choices. Please explain them, patiently.

A country where no one can agree on anything is like a game of tug-o-war. Everyone is working as hard as they can to make sure no one goes anywhere. Find a way to convince people it’s safe to work with you by being the kind of president we can rally behind, and I have hope you might just be able to turn things around.

And for my part? I promise not to get in your way. I’ll give you a fair shot, because really, what sense is there in hoping you fail?

Congratulations, Mr. President, and welcome to the White House.

Sincerely,

Erika Mitchell, just an average, ordinary citizen

Ron Swanson For President

I was raised by two parents who both firmly believed it was rude to talk about politics. My mother believed (ans still does) that what we hear from politicians is predominantly lies, and my father believed the discussion of politics just led to strife, which he avoided at all costs whenever possible.

It’s not surprising, then, that I have a wide mistrust of politicians in general. As far as I can see, politics turns people into fractious, contentious enemies who are more concerned with being right than in doing what’s right.

What I’m confused about, however, is why anyone would vote for either of the two candidates who are running on the Democrat or Republican ticket. They lie, obfuscate, and manipulate, and as far as I can tell from the debates they have no concrete solutions for the mess America is in.

What I would like to hear is: “America has a deficit of X, I am going to decrease spending by Y in order to pay off this deficit in Z years.”

What I do hear is: “We have a deficit of X, because it’s Y’s fault, I’m going to cut taxes for Z, and I’m going to increase funding for Q, and I’m going to pay for V for everyone, and please don’t think about the fact that none of this makes sense because I don’t want you to realize there’s no way to pay for all this while cutting taxes.”

But that’s the problem: We aren’t paying attention. Everyone has their own pet projects that they want to make sure receive plenty of government funding, so no one wants the government to make any cuts in funding. But no one wants to pay more taxes, because we’re already taxed to death anyway. But we have a HUGE deficit and can’t possibly keep spending like we are, because our currency is already imperiled and in danger of collapse.

So there you are. You have two politicians telling people what they want to hear (I’ll pay for YOUR special cause!) and no one’s wondering how any of it is possible.

If America were a friend of mine, in terrific debt with a spendy lifestyle, I would tell my friend to cut any non-essential spending and live sparsely and pay off that debt as aggressively as possible. A debt-free, stable existence is infinitely preferable to a non-sustainable habit of spending more than you make.

I suppose what I’m essentially saying is: Ron Swanson for President. That guy’s got it all figured out.