It's time for me, for all of us to speak up. I am starting at the top. I believe that our current president has contributed to the atmosphere of violence and polarization that exists today in our country. This week of twitter tirades is just one example, but it pushed me over the edge. I ask each of you to write your own letter, contact your elected representatives or work in your own way in your own community.
I wrote this letter to the President and I have followed up with a letter to each of my senators and representatives. At least it is a place to start.
President Donald J. Trump
Over the last week I have been increasingly disappointed in the messages you have sent from your twitter account. I know after watching you over the first months of your presidency that you don't seem to desire or react well to feedback, but I hope you can receive this in the constructive, positive way in which it is intended. While I understand that constant criticism must be difficult to receive, it is a part of the job of the President to listen to all sides whether they support you or not. It is not the role of the press or the citizenry not to criticize. In fact, it is their responsibility.
I have heard all the criticism of your twitter messages, for example, that they are beneath the dignity of the office, immature and a distraction from the challenges that the country is facing, and while I agree, that is not my primary concern. I was especially disappointed to see how you shared the WWF video with the inserted CNN logo and implied that beating up those with whom you disagree is an effective way to deal with a dissenting opinion.
I'm not interested in debating whether CNN or Morning Joe is fake news. I am a literate, well-read citizen who can make that determination for myself. What is important to me is the message you are sending to Americans, both adults and most importantly children: through your tweets you are advocating violence and name-calling as effective ways to solve problems. I can't find the words to say how much your example cuts to the core of what I know is wrong. Name calling from the President of the United States? A video showing the President pummeling someone with whom he disagrees? It's both disgusting and dangerous. Our country as you know is already polarized and violence, both physical and verbal is pervasive in our daily lives. How can you in good conscience put out these messages to millions of people who look to you for leadership?
Many Americans jump to violence as a solution to their problems and now you, the leader of this great country, are setting that same example and providing justification for those who choose to do the same. You state that you want the violence in our cities to cease; yet you show a video showing the citizens of the United States that you choose to solve your problems with violence. Is this the America you want to create? Is this the way you want Americans to behave? I hear you invoke God in your speeches. Is this what your religion teaches you? Were you taught to insult, to strike back, and to use violence to hurt others? Or, is religion only a ruse to develop a following? I see a person's religious beliefs in their actions, not their words. Your actions speak volumes.
I was heartened by the First Lady's commitment to the cause of anti-bullying and I fully support her work. It is a passion of mine as well. It is hard to understand how she can do this good work in the shadow of your behavior.
I ask you to consider that multiple viewpoints are what make America great. Listening is a skill that will bring you the information and perspectives that can create solutions to the problems we face. Utilizing the language of argument, spirited debate, artful compromise and respect for those who disagree are the hallmarks of a great leader. As you have learned, leading is a difficult task, but effective leaders can make a world of difference in the lives of many people. It is time to turn your focus to others rather than yourself. We face many challenges in America and we can't afford to waste time with the nonsense I am seeing from you. Listen, debate, compromise and most importantly, lead. Set an example for us all.
Jacquelyn D Gering
Kansas City, Missouri