Dear Mr Trump
Last week in my blog I called you a bloviating buffoon. You can look up the words if you don’t know what they mean. I am a name caller. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. When I was in grade school I called the classmates I didn’t like “poopy heads.” As an adult I have a far more colorful, if not always appropriate, lexicon at my disposal. And if the truth be told, that lexicon is most frequently used in relationship to you. I will spare you the details. I acknowledge, however, that name calling is a juvenile way to address differences and does nothing to further understanding between people who disagree.
In my Lenten discipline this year I have spent some time rooting around in seldom explored recesses of my inner being. Along the way I discovered that I was missing one of the central tenets of my faith, to love all people. Even the ones I don’t like. So, at this late date in Lent I am making an effort to love you. To do this I must get connected to God’s love in me. Left on my own, I’m not sure how it would go. Gratefully, we are all conduits for God’s love in the world. If I am unable to feel love toward you, it is because something is amiss in my relationship with God.
Mr. Trump, you are a beloved child of God. You are a unique and unrepeatable human being, made in the image of God. So I am going to delve inside myself and see if I can connect deeply enough with God to feel God-like love toward you. I cannot continue to call you names and express love toward you at the same time. So, I am signing off on the name calling.
In the Christian faith, however, behavior does not get a free pass. Without losing sight of you as a beloved child, I will continue to resist most everything you stand for.
We learned under President Reagan that trickle-down economics does not work. Corporations that receive tax breaks do not pass them on to consumers or to workers. They line their share holders’ pockets. Tax breaks for the rich, when so many struggle to make ends meet, is nothing short of evil. In the New Testament Jesus’ most frequent clashes were with the wealthy. History repeats itself again and again. We are seeing such a repeat in your performance as president.
Trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and making health insurance beyond the reach of the working poor helps assure a permanent underclass of workers in our country. We are the only developed nation where the number one cause of bankruptcy is health care.
The minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation and the rising cost of living. This is morally wrong, but it makes money for the company. Those who work full time should be paid a living wage.
Many of your policies are disastrous for our planet. Dumping mining waste into waterways, burning more coal and constructing more coal plants are ecologically unsustainable. You may not personally believe in climate change, but that doesn’t mean the science is wrong. Your uninformed opinion puts the entire planet at risk. By surrounding yourself with people who are as uninformed as you are, you insulate yourself from truths that do not suit your purposes.
Your belittling of women, minorities, the differently abled and those of differing religions is morally reprehensible. I believe that your behavior has pulled the plug on social decency and allowed the worst of human behavior to come to the fore in increased misogyny, hypocrisy, racism and bigotry. People tend to follow the leader.
I am appalled at the number of children who have been separated by their parents at the Mexico/US border. Many of them may never be reunited with their parents. As a country of immigrants, the anti-immigrant sentiment you embody empowers people to continue to hate and mistrust people who are different. The United States is not “full” as you claim. We have a broken immigration system that you, your administration and the political gridlock of our elected representatives are doing nothing to fix. Instead, you are spending billions of dollars to build a ridiculous wall when that money would be better spent providing immigration attorneys at the border to help people.
I sincerely doubt that you will ever see this letter and I further doubt that if you did, it would make any difference. Rather, I have some inner repairing to do so I have clarity about what it means to be a person of faith in this time. I believe speaking truth to power is one of the most profound needs of our time. I am taking my place as one who tries to do just that while resisting the temptation to name call.
With Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, I believe that the “essential work of justice is figuring out what belongs to whom, and giving it back.” This does not bode well for the United States. The day of reckoning that you and our broken political system are putting into motion will not be pretty.