Editor’s Note: This post was previously published in The (Mis-)Adventures of Kittu Pannu.
Dear President-elect Donald J. Trump,
You’ve done the unthinkable. You’ve convinced a little more than half of the country that you’re the right man for the highest office of power in the world. You ran a campaign based on bigotry, xenophobia, victim-blaming, “trumped up” allegations, and loud-mouthing that seemed to instill a realistic honesty about you, though every fact checker in the world would beg to differ. You tapped into a whole population of constituents who felt as though they have been wronged, left behind, and who are looking for something totally different from existing systems they believe have screwed them time and again. These included working-class white families, white males, among others. They were majority members who were sick of catering to the needs of minorities instead of focusing on their needs. They were people left behind after globalization took hold of the US economy and infrastructure. They were people who didn’t know how to adapt and who may or may not have held a grudge against those who were able to understand and manipulate these changes to fit their needs.
It was a smart move on your campaign’s part. And it is in line with how politics in other global powers have recently played out. That’s great for you. But here’s the thing I hope and pray you will not forget as move forward as the president-elect: you not only preside over those people you manipulated into believing you will make their world much better but also those who you have ridiculed, torn down, and ostracized. Yes, I’m talking about the Mexicans, the Muslims, the refugees, “the Blacks,” LGBT people, disabled people, and the many other vulnerable populations you’ve put down to elevate yourself. These people are still citizens of the greatest country in the world. And it is up to you to fight for them just as much as you will hopefully fight for those to whom you made multiple promises. So here’s a list of some things I hope you keep in mind as you get ready to inhabit
DC’s newest Trump Tower the White House. It is by no means exhaustive, but rather a taste of the issues I hope you do champion as President of the United States.
Basic Human Rights.
I’m talking about human rights that apply to all types of minorities: gender, sexual, racial, economic, educational, and religious. Interestingly, many of your supporters fall into multiple categories of this.
For a refresher in what I’m talking about, it may be prudent to refer to the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. All of these have been signed and ratified by the US, meaning they have to be upheld by all citizens, including the President of the United States.
It also may help to refer to the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States, particularly the First Amendment (and the freedom of the press), the Fourth and Fifth Amendments (in terms of law enforcement), and the Eighth Amendment. In addition, dust off your copy of the other Amendments, focusing on the Fourteenth Amendment (and how Section 1 applies to all minorities and Section 2 applies to treasonous acts against the welfare of the US), and the Fifteenth, Twenty-Fourth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments (and voter intimidation/state voting laws). In other words, you’re most probably going to have to change the way you act in public to ensure you uphold these international regulations. And that whole thing about reinstituting water boarding? That won’t fly. Egging Russia to hack into private emails in order to shape political progress? A big no-no in the future. Threatening to sue and bankrupt various publications for writing negative and both proven and unproven untrue things about you because you can? That’s frowned upon. And that whole child prostitute ring you may or may not have been involved with? It’s best to not ever get involved in that again.
Providing Reproductive Access and Healthcare for all.
This means looking at the merits of the Affordable Care Act, trying to set up better regulations on the state insurance marketplaces (that don’t infringe upon states rights and also work for the consumers). This also means upholding existing court case decisions such as Roe v. Wade and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Bear in mind, limiting access to abortions and reproductive access does very little to curb the amount of actual abortions that occur – they just limit the amount of SAFE abortion services that citizens can access.
Championing sexual respect and minority equality (especially gender equality).
Here you definitely have your work cut out for you, as the documented actions in your 70 years of existence have shown us all that you generally do not care about this issue… But here you can change your tune and fight to redefine gender roles and societal norms to become more inclusive of equality. By doing so, you will show all citizens that they can all give into the American “pursuit of happiness” ideal.
Fighting for LGBT Rights.
This means ensuring that these minorities are afforded the same protections under the law as other law-abiding citizens. Distancing yourself from Pence’s hard-nosed stances on anti-LGBT legislation can be step one. Banning things like conversion therapy and adding comprehensive sexuality (and sexual health) education would definitely help.
Remembering that your words actually mean something.
Your wife is currently championing an end to online bullying. How about you help her out by not writing half of the things you would normally post?
At the end of the day, you’re about to shoulder a huge responsibility. As one of the most powerful people in the world, your actions dictate how the global economy works. You are now under a microscope. Your actions will be emulated by impressionable minds everywhere. If you believe that people should behave in a respectful manner, then remember to behave that way in public.
I’m done. Good luck. And, please don’t make this the norm.
Recommended reading: “GETTING TRUMP-ED BY ISLAMOPHOBIA”