Saturday, January 21, 2017

An Open Letter to My President

January 21, 2017
 
The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As a proud citizen of the United States, I want to extend my congratulations to you on the occasion of your inauguration.  The events of this weekend, starting with the words of your speech, all the way through the many demonstrations across the country in response to your ascent to the highest, most respected office in our great country, have moved me to write to you, my president.

My president.  Many, like me, have struggled with that notion.  Many Americans have decided that they cannot refer to you as such.  They, like me, did not support you, nor did they vote for you.  They, like me, have been alternately baffled, amused, and frightened by the things you have said and done in the past months.  Though many of my friends and loved ones who did support you suggest that we take you seriously rather than literally, others, like me, are deeply concerned that there are hateful elements in our country who hear the words you speak and see the actions you take as a license to hate.

Nevertheless, you are my president.  I didn’t agree when people said “not my president” about President Bush (I did not vote for him) or President Obama (I did vote for him).  They, like you, were my presidents, regardless of whether or not I voted for them, as are you.  It seems that if I do not claim you as my president, then I am not in a solid position to remind you that you represent me and all Americans, not just your base.  You now have the awesome job, burden, and responsibility of representing not only those who voted for you, but all of us.

Because I hold such great respect for the Office of the Presidency, and because you are, indeed, accountable to this and every citizen, I will applaud you when I feel you have done the right thing, and I will question you when you have not.  I will speak the truth, even when my voice shakes.  In the liturgy of my church, I will sincerely pray for you to be wise and fair when your name is uplifted, and will pray that those who follow you will be led by love, compassion, inclusion, and justice.

Because you are my president, this sincere and respectful gay, environmentally-concerned citizen wants to know why the LGBT and Climate Change pages on the White House website were suddenly absent immediately following your inauguration. 

Because you are my president, I want to know the plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act since members of my family are depending on the health insurance therein provided for them. 

As a citizen of the United States and the State of Texas, I want to know from you, my president, if the construction of the wall you propose along the southern border will involve the taking of land from United States citizens who have seen the government usurp hundreds of acres of Rio Grande Valley farmland upon which their livelihoods depend in previous, similar efforts.

Yes, Mr. Trump, you are my president, and Mr. Pence is my vice president.  In making that claim, I proudly claim also my constitutional right to ask these questions of you and your administration, and to expect a response.

With sincerity, passion, and patriotism,

D. Scott Elliff, Ed.D.

Corpus Christi, Texas