PeOTUS, maybe we think you’re a racist because…

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Gabriel StrickerBlockedUnblockFollowFollowing
Information democratizer. Free expression advocate. The views here are expressed independent of my capacities at @googlefiber, and @CIRonline & @PPact boards.
2 hrs ago

PeOTUS, maybe we think you’re a racist because…

President-elect Donald J. Trump
Trump Tower
725 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10022

November 24, 2016

To President-elect Trump,

It has been several days since VPeOTUS Pence attended the Broadway musical, Hamilton, an award-winning celebration of America’s diversity and of the critical role immigrants played in the creation of our nation. You said you heard it was “highly overrated.” That wasn’t my experience, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, after the show, the cast implored Pence to “uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” The cast said this:

“We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.”

You characterized these words as an act of harassment. You said their comment was “very rude.” You demanded an apology. In the days since, the cast has not apologized, but instead clarified, “conversation is not harassment.”

In the spirit of additional “conversation,” let me underscore one significant reason why we “the diverse America” are alarmed and anxious. We “the diverse America” strongly believe you’re a racist at heart.

I expect many on the left will view this as a profoundly unremarkable statement, while many on the right will view it as blasphemy. As for you, in response to these words, I imagine you would defend yourself as you have many times in the past: “in fact, I am the least-racist person that you’ve ever encountered.” You seem downright shocked that many Americans believe you are a racist and a bigot. Why is it that we’re not giving you the benefit of the doubt?

Maybe we think you’re a racist because of how you kicked off your campaign by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and then months later attacked federal judge Gonzalo Curiel due to his Mexican heritage — attacks which Speaker Ryan described as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” For that, you have never apologized.

Maybe we think you’re a racist because when you were asked whether you would disavow David Duke and other white supremacist groups that were supporting your campaign, this was your response: “I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”

In the ensuing days, in the face of criticism, you provided this rather pathetic explanation: “I was sitting in a house in Florida, with a bad earpiece. I could hardly hear what he’s saying. I hear various groups. I don’t mind disavowing anyone.”

Then at last you finally, begrudgingly, disavowed the endorsement. But you have never apologized.

Fear not though — at least Grand Wizard Duke didn’t need an apology: he described your win as a great victory for “our people,” adding that it was, “one of the most exciting nights of my life.”

And there are countless other examples of your bigotry and divisiveness — whether it’s the Justice Department suing your company (twice!) for not renting to black people, or birtherism, or or or…. And nary an apology for any of these acts to be found.

So, is it at all surprising that in the days following the election, we saw a surge in racist incidents reportedly carried out by your supporters — in all, more than 400 hate crimes across the country, a total far greater than in the aftermath of September 11, 2001? When you were asked to respond to allegations that your supporters have been harassing minorities, you said simply, “If it helps, I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it’.”

You said “Stop it” on Sunday. And then on Monday… wait, where were we?

Oh, so maybe we think you’re a racist because the very next day after saying “Stop it,” you decided that the individual who is best suited to be the Chief Strategist in your administration is Steve Bannon, the man who headed Breitbart News, under whose leadership Breitbart openly embraced the white-supremacist Alt-Right, publishing gems like this:

If you wanted an appointment that would make white nationalists rejoice, mission doggone accomplished!

Maybe we think you’re a racist because in order to heal the country’s racial divide you’ve so lamented, you decided that the person best suited to be the nation’s highest law enforcement official is none other than Senator Jeff Sessions, the man who was once nominated for a federal judgeship in the 1980’s by President Ronald Reagan, but was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of his racially charged comments, including referring to an African-American federal prosecutor as “boy” and saying that the Ku Klux Klan was just fine “until I found out they smoked pot,” a comment Senator Sessions later dismissed as a joke.

Congressional transcript documenting Sessions’ KKK comedy material

Mr. President-elect, I wonder if you justify Sessions and Bannon to yourself by believing that you can’t be held accountable for all the deeds of your associates. Well, as my grandmother would say, “If you sleep with dogs, you wind up with fleas.” The good news is that there’s a easy pesticide for you: simply apologize, and abandon Bannon. Dump Sessions. But if you choose to unapologetically stick with them, don’t be surprised when people conclude that you are simply a flea among fleas — a racist among racists.

Like many Americans, I find nothing amusing about the words or actions of you or your closest advisors. I am nauseated and disturbed and disgusted by them.

If you have gotten this far in this note, I imagine you may be dismissively thinking to yourself that I am merely one of those “professional protesters” as you have derisively labeled many patriots who have taken to the streets over the past two weeks to express their outrage over you and your bigotry.

For the record, I have received no compensation of any kind for publishing this note, and the views expressed here are independent of any of my professional or board capacities. Instead, I write to you as an American who, like many others, grew up in a rural part of our nation. My first job was chopping wood and clearing brush. I am the product of public schools — K-12 through my state’s public university. Much of my family immigrated into the country around the same time yours did. My grandfather was a decorated veteran in World War II, and I am grateful to all those who have served our country, though I — like you — never have. I am happily married. Unlike you, I have never been divorced. Unlike you, I faithfully pay my taxes every year. I have two children, and like many Americans (though perhaps unlike you?) I am blessed to count as friends and family people of various ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, disabilities and so on.

Today, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving together. I am profoundly thankful to live in a country that has constitutionally protected my right to say what I have here to our incoming POTUS without fear of imprisonment or retribution. Will you continue upholding those rights? About the First Amendment, you once said, “Nobody believes it stronger than me.” Or did you mean that in a I-am-the-least-racist-person-that-you’ve-ever-encountered kind of way?

Just in case, I will be continuing my charitable contributions to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as I have for many years now, and I strongly encourage other concerned citizens to support them as well. For decades, these two organizations have stood up against racism and have vigorously defended our most basic freedoms.

I have long understood that as a nation we’ve needed these organizations to protect us against racists like David Duke and George Wallace, or institutions of intolerance like the KKK or the Family Research Council, or many other groups too numerous to mention. I never imagined that in my lifetime we might need organizations like the SPLC or ACLU to protect Americans against our own Commander in Chief, and yet here we are….

On election night, you spoke of being a president “for all Americans” and implored us “to come together as one united people.” I sincerely hope and pray that you will deliver on that pledge for all Americans — for “the diverse America.”

But in the meantime, I will continue to assume you are the bigot you’re proving yourself to be through your racist words and actions. And I will continue to resist the bigotry you apparently stand for and with,

Gabriel Stricker
California, United States of America

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    Gabriel Stricker

    Information democratizer. Free expression advocate. The views here are expressed independent of my capacities at @googlefiber, and @CIRonline & @PPact boards.

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