An open letter to President Donald Trump
Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on your becoming the 45th President of the United States. You have vanquished all competition for this office and that was no small feat.
Barack Obama, his administration and your presidential opponents are now in the past with their legacy yet to be determined by history while yours is yet to be to be initiated.
No criticism nor personal bashing of your past opponents will enhance your performance as POTUS.
Barack Obama has established his presidential legacy and you should work on establishing yours. You will be measured after your tenure as to what you do rather than what you say.
When Barack Obama took the oath of office, the United States was on the brink of a great depression. On the night of his inauguration fifteen members of your party met in the Caucus room restaurant here in the nation’s capitol and pledged to thwart his every proposal or initiative to insure he was a one-term president. However in spite of these viscous roadblocks and attacks on his political acumen, he managed to accomplish many things. Winning a second term in office spoke well of his governing prowess. The myriad of legislative accomplishments by Barack Obama in the face of constant and viscous opposition is nothing short of a miracle.
Your negative and offensive campaign rhetoric should be put aside and you should move on to govern all US citizens evenhandedly under the law. You are in charge now and the people of the world will be directly affected by your words and actions. The American voters who put you in office represent a fraction of the world’s population who will be looking to you for leadership and will be affected by your presidency.
Some indisputable facts about your campaign and subsequent election.
You ran the most negative, vulgar and divisive election campaign in the history of the nation. As president-elect, you took office with the lowest approval rating of all US presidents. Your inauguration had the lowest attendance of all US inaugurations. The Women’s March on Washington attracted over 300,000 more participants than did your inauguration. Your Inauguration speech was rejected by the general public because it was too divisive. You make public statements that has no basis in fact. You claim 1.5 million attendees at your inauguration but facts suggest it was less than 250,000. You claim your face appeared on the front cover of Time magazine 13 times, more than any president in history. That was not true, it was Richard Nixon. You appeared on the cover 10 times.Your election is being questioned by people around the world witnessed by the protest marches on January 21, 2017. Your vindictive nature is driving you to destroy the legacy of the nation’s Black president, Barack Obama to placate your failure to de-legitimize him as a US citizen and an intellectual scholar. Barack Obama signed legislation for humane reasons such as health care, home buying assistance, protection for undocumented immigrants, climate control, and a host of others which you have pledged to reverse. As to Vladimir Putin, America’s military might, NATO, and our various allies around the world are the only deterrent to Russia’s world wide aggression. Russia’s ultimate goal is to become the single most powerful nation on earth..
When you consider national security and US Armed Forces, you’re not only talking about Americans of European descent, its about all American citizens, this resivoir of human warriors from every corner of the earth. America is home for all of us.
Your campaign rhetoric was like none other in US political history. Your campaign slogan was to make America “Great Again.”
I am an 82-year-old Black man who has never seen America greater than it is today. “Great Again” depends on what “great” period you’re returning to. I’m not sure I would like to see any period in my political or civic life recreated. “Again” implies returning to some past state.
I was born in the decade of the 30’s when my parents who resided in the state of South Carolina were denied an education and prohibited from voting by intimidation, poll taxes, and literacy tests. I never want to see those days “Again.”
In the decades of the 40’s, all public facilities were separate and unequal. We had “White” and “Colored” water fountains. Our paid bus fare did not entitle us to a seat. All printed material used in our classrooms were handed down from local “White” schools. There were no “Colored” elected officials. I never want to see those days “Again.”
The decade of the 50’s saw the beginning of the “Civil Rights” movement. With Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a White man and the Brown vs Board of Education decision. Southern Democrats created the “Southern Manifesto” which encouraged resistance to any and all legislation designed to benefit “Colored” people. Protesters and civil disobedience was met with deadly force by local police departments with attack dogs and high powered fire hoses. Fourteen-year-old Emmit Till was taken from his grandfather’s home in the middle of the night by White men and murdered for calling a White woman “baby’. My uncle McKeithian Smith was savagely beaten by six city policemen of Darlington, SC, simply for standing his ground against rabid racism and unbridled bigotry. I never want to see those days “Again.”
In the decade of the 60’s deadly violence against Civil Rights advocates was the tenor of the day. Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, John Lewis was beaten within an inch of his life on the William Petus Bridge in Selma Alabama, and civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered in Philadelphia Mississippi advocating for voting rights for “Colored” people. Following his election as Governor, George Wallace, the Jeff Sessions of the 60’s, famously proclaimed in his inaugural address: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” I never want to see those days “Again.”
The decades of the 70’s and 80’s witnessed the struggle of the gay rights movement, violence against gays, the explosion of the AIDS epidemic, a failure to ratify a ban on sexual bias, and Reagan vetoed the Civil Rights Restoration Act. I never want to see those days “Again.”
In the decade of the 90’s the first race riots in decades erupt in south-central Los Angeles after a jury acquits four White police officers for the videotaped beating of African American Rodney King. Police brutality became a major issue in America and continued unchecked until recent protests by “Black Lives Matter” called world attention to it. I never want to see those days “Again”.
The decade of 2000 produced the first African American president of the United States. The Obama family has been mis-characterized, the president disrespected by members of congress, thousands of negative caricatures of the family, Barack Obama characterized as a non-US citizen, and the “Birther” movement treated him like a vagabond who needed to show papers to be legit. I never want to see those days “Again.”
The decade of 2010 produced the most unprecedented presidential campaign in the history of the nation. Lies, innuendo, bullying, mis-characterizations, name calling, vulgarity and interference by foreign governments dominated the election process. The eventual winner entered the White House with the lowest approval rating of any president-elect in the history of the country. The president-elect was the first not to release tax returns in 40 years. I never want to see those days “Again.”
In closing, I followed your campaign very closely and much of what I heard I didn’t like. I heard you, characterize Black communities as poverty stricken, crime ridden, illiterate communities. I heard all the “Dog Whistles” about you being the “Law and Order” candidate. Gun control as it pertains to assault rifles, is a major issue in America. You reference gun violence when you talk about Chicago and the Black community but never hear your position on guns as it refers to White kids shooting up schools and theaters with assault rifles killing dozens of young people including 3-year-olds. I saw you campaign in rural “White” America where you promised them jobs and prosperity. You never visited the impoverished Black communities. Your promise to the Black community was law and order which simply meant you would increase police presence with a mandate to use whatever means necessary. Your Vice President reiterated your pledge at the Donor’s Diner on Jan 19 to give law enforcement the support and freedom needed to do their job. Your appointment of Jeff Sessions to Attorney General suggests that claims of police brutality would not be addressed. We’re back to the “Bull” Connor days of 1963. I never want to see those days “Again.”
I, like Barack Obama, and like those residents of the crime infested Black neighborhoods, who have nothing to lose, are citizens of the United States. I served my country honorably during the Korean War, fought to protect the rights of my fellow White citizens while fighting to help them maintain the oppression of my family and friends. After rotating from Korea back to the U S, we were in route on a chartered plane to Fort Jackson South Carolina to be discharged from the Armed Services. Our plane sat down in the state of Tennessee for some minor repairs, and the 80 passengers, all servicemen in uniform adorned with the 8th Army insignia went into a restaurant for breakfast. The eight African-American soldiers were told, “We do not serve niggers in here”. I never want to see those days “Again.”
When was America at it’s greatest and when was it at its lowest? According to your rhetoric on the campaign trail The U.S. fell to its lowest level under the Black president, Barack Obama. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
You got it wrong about America’s Black communities and you deliberately spoke disparagingly about Barack Obama and his administration. I never want to see those days “Again.”
Respect the legislation he put through congress and if there are flaws in the legislation he was forced to sign under executive privilege, fix it but let it continue to work for the people of the United States and the world.
You are now the president for all Americans and the leader of the free world. Listen to your critics, consider their concerns, put your personal pride and ego aside, face reality, learn from the mistakes of the past and make America better for all its citizens.
Walter Smith, publisher
New York Beacon