By Sandeep Kumar
A part of me wants to start this letter with my anger, but I know that I’m more than that. Instead, I want to focus on forgiveness. I want to first ask you for your forgiveness because I, and many of us, overlooked you for too long.
I didn’t pay much attention to the election; mostly I wanted it to be over. Afterward, I wished the election hadn’t happened at all. I admit I voted for Hillary Clinton, but my vote was mostly to keep Donald Trump from power, a man I still believe to be a conman.
The art of the con is to dangle a possibility so enticing that belief blinds a person from seeing the theft occurring. I’ve been conned myself before- it happens, but the price I paid was much less than we Americans are about to pay.
I understand that the economy isn’t the same in all parts of the country. The industries that many have relied on, the jobs that were always there for past generations aren’t there anymore. This isn’t because immigrants are stealing them, nor is Obama’s policy on coal to blame. Technology and economics are pushing jobs once held by people to machines. As long as a company can provide a cheaper product, they will. As long as a customer can buy something cheaper, they will. It’s not favoritism, it’s not necessarily fair, but it is the way the economy has been set up. On some level, it’s the game we all have agreed to play.
I live on the West Coast. I lead a comfortable life; I’m well off, although it’d be a stretch for anyone to call me “elite.” Still, I’m partly to blame for your desire to believe in the possibilities Mr. Trump had put in front of you. We did ignore your plight for too long. We should have listened and given a realistic way to provide jobs for your communities, that are part of an economy of the 21st century economy, rather than one from 60-100 years ago. The coal industry is not coming back, not as long as natural gas and alternative energies are cheaper. Would you honestly expect people to pay more for something because doing so benefits you? I would be foolish to expect the same in my life. But this doesn’t mean we forget about you. You made yourself heard. We need to prioritize your communities, or we all fall together. And so, for these things in particular, I ask for your forgiveness, which you are free to give or not.
I am hoping we can work together better moving forward. I will stand up to the abuses that Trump and his cronies are inflicting upon our country. I love my country, and the people who make it up. I won’t stand by as someone tears it down and debases large segments of its populace. I care too much, and for this I will never apologize. I am a father, a husband, and professionally, I’m a therapist. I try to help people heal themselves, and accept their own authority and responsibilities that it entails. More than my profession, I am a citizen.
My parents came from India, and I’m the first person in family to be born a US citizen. I’ve never called any other country home. I am also Hindu. One of the central tenants of Hinduism is that we don’t push our beliefs onto others, and we accept that we don’t have all the answers, especially when dealing with that which is unknown to all humans. We are also encouraged to learn about other beliefs, with an open mind, so as to add to the greater umbrella of Hinduism. This led me to learn more about Christianity. I’m no expert, but I know enough about it to respect that forgiveness is a major component.
I’ve heard many Christians defend Mr. Trump as a way to justify their voting for him. Let me ask you this: have you ever heard him ask for forgiveness? Ever? I had my differences with former President George W. Bush, but I recognized moments of humility, and heard him ask forgiveness from his deity through his human struggles.
A con man doesn’t ask for forgiveness. He takes what you let him. Unless you are in his family or a select member of someone he wants to do business without cheating, you are on the short end of the sick on this, with the rest of us.
The men and women that sacrificed so much for democracy deserve the respect of stewarding their legacy. We didn’t sacrifice for someone like Trump who has never sacrificed anything or asked forgiveness to my recollection.
Please don’t settle, he’s counting on you to be your worst rather than to strive for the best in you. I know you have it. I’ve lived in purple, blue and red districts and seen our country’s essence. We don’t give up, we don’t settle for less. Never have, never should.
The lessons of working together are woven deep into our country’s history and founding.If you look at the back of a US $1 bill, you see an Eagle with a several arrows in its claw. This is a reference to a Native American story, convincing the colonies to unite into a Federation. While one arrow is easily broken, arrows banded together are much harder to break. The hope for greater unity is as important today as it was 200 years ago.
I came to you in the spirit of the forgiveness, but will not ask you of the same. I will however, ask you to consider the effort involved in citizenship. Democracy doesn’t come easy, and it can easily be lost. So when you hear about Democrats, Liberals, and other “boogeymen” demanding to see Mr. Trump’s tax returns, or to investigate his administration’s ties to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, consider that it is from a love of country and the protection of the ideals and values that have kept our country great. I encourage you to ask tough questions to our Leaders. I’m hoping you will participate in making the country great, rather than relinquishing your authority and power to a smooth-talking salesman. Citizenship is the country’s greatest gift to us all. It’s not something our President gives to us – it is our birthright. We can’t do this alone. We need everyone. There is a seat at the table when you are ready to join us, and you will be welcomed.
About the writer
Sandeep Kumar has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, practicing psychotherapy in Oregon. Heavily influenced by Jungian psychology, and a fan of meaningful science fiction, he is writing several multicultural science fiction novels.
If you would like to respond to Sandeep’s piece, please send it to I.firstname.lastname@example.org, and make sure to put Sandeep’s name in the subject line.