Dear Mr. Trump,
No doubt you are pretty busy, attempting to fill the vacancies in your future cabinet. but I wanted to respond to your promise, in the Thanksgiving video last week, to ‘unite’ the country and to be a ‘President for all the people.’
As you no doubt know, there have been non-stop protests about your winning the presidency since you got elected – 350 around the country in the just 24 hours after your election – and plans by millions of people to demonstrate in protest of your inauguration.
These are not ‘professional protesters’ or ragtag ‘small groups,’ as your various tweets have called them, or even an inflation by the liberal media.
After Watergate, some 60,000 people protested at Nixon’s re-election inauguration; in 2000, when George W. Bush outmaneuvered the hanging chads of the Florida election and was declared winner, despite Al Gore’s winning a half a million more votes, only 20,000 people showed up to protest at the swearing in.
On the day you get sworn in, the protests are threatening to be unprecedented in scale and number. Already 80,000 women are planning a Woman’s March, and Al Sharpton is going to lead a protest from the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial. Hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions, may be joining them on the day.
Be of no doubt: You won the Electoral College, but you haven’t won over the hearts and minds of the American people. More people – by some 2.3 million – voted against you than voted for you.
Lots of people didn’t vote for you not because they didn’t agree with some of what you had to say. I, for one, agreed that we need to get the Rustbelt back to work, that the entire country’s infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, that Obamacare was a good first stab at universal health care in the States but needs to be refined. I’d dearly love to see the entire swamp drained of corrupt lobbyists, politicians and Wall Street cronies. A great deal of the liberal left would get behind all of that that.
Most people who are now protesting voted against you simply because you weren’t acting like a role model in any sense they could get behind.
It’s clear it’s going to take you a while to adjust from being a controversy-stirring, media-goading reality TV star to the most powerful man in the world.
But if you truly do wish to win over the entire country, the bottom line is that you are going to have to show yourself to be a better person than has been evident thus far. Here are a few suggestions that might help:
Give one of your team the permanent task of managing your Twitter account. Your Twitter rants make most of us cringe, so much are they beneath the office you now hold. They have to stop, or be filled with positive, uplifting, inclusive comments.
Stop taking on petty fights. You won, for Pete’s sake. If Jill Stein wants a recount, be gracious about it. Don’t threaten to sue her or rant on about Hillary being behind it.
Grow a thicker skin and resist yielding to the impulse to respond to everything someone writes about you. Everything you do for the next four years will be scrutinized and criticized in the press. You wanted this job. The press’s job is to hold your foot to the fire. Get used to it.
Show, don’t tell, on the big divisions in the country. Simply saying ‘Stop it ,’ as you suggested on 60 Minutes, isn’t going to quell the racial hatred that got fanned during your campaign and is carrying on. Make emphatic your intolerance of misogyny, sexual harassment, and racial acts of violence, and legislate against it.
Please stop lying. The press can easily check the truth of everything you say. You will never win over the country by lying that you actually did win the popular vote, if the ‘illegal’ votes aren’t factored in. This is clearly a porky pie. We all know this.
Get informed before you comment. Think before you speak, since everything now will be taken as gospel, even your off-the-cuff remarks.
Learn the Constitution. The most important amendment to the Constitution is not the Second Amendment, but the first, the right to free speech. That same amendment that gave you the freedom to label your opponents ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ and ‘Crooked Hillary’ now gives your opponents the right to burn the American flag. Stop calling for flag burners to be put in jail and the press to be muzzled. By doing so, you’ll calling for an end to democracy.
Enlist the country in one large, overarching goal that can only be achieved by the collective efforts of everyone involved. It’s called a ‘superordinate goal.’ Social psychologist Don Beck, originator of Spiral Dynamics, used South Africa’s entry into the World Cup rugby play-offs in 1995, depicted in the film Invictus, as a means of creating nation-building euphoria, in order to unify a country emerging from apartheid.
This was a bold idea, given that the Springboks, the South African rugby team, were the very symbol of apartheid. Rugby was considered a white man’s sport. Virtually all players were Afrikaners, the white pro-apartheid minority; rugby coaches even shouted out plays in Afrikaans. English-speaking or black players seldom made the team, and consequently, the black population in South Africa actively boycotted the sport.
In 1995, Beck presented Kitch Christie, the Springboks coach, with a paper entitled Six Games to Glory. Besides strategies for winning the game, Beck’s paper included ways that the Springboks could stand as a focal point of pride for the fledgling country and connect the township blacks with the Afrikaners.
He suggested that the Springboks adopt a collaborative or common identity — the green and gold colors of the team shirts, and a sports crowd song, with a Zulu drum to lead the team and arouse the crowd. Beck arranged for the team to visit Nelson Mandela’s tiny prison cell at Robben Island, in order to emphasize their larger role in their country’s destiny. Above all, his exercises were to help develop a sense that each member of the team faced a life-defining moment requiring that they pull together as one.
As the games progressed, Beck’s superordinate goal began to infect the country; young blacks from the township tore down anti-rugby signs and hung photos of their Springbok heroes. During the World Cup, which the Springboks went on to win, Mandela was persuaded to appear in a Springbok green and gold shirt — the colors that had always symbolized his oppressors — as a tangible sign of unity and forgiveness.
Find something like that – involving, say, rebuilding America.
Adopt those eight points and watch how #bemypresident may begin to catch on.