Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dear President Trump...

Dear President Trump,

I'm not going to lie. You scare me.  I think you're a bully.  Some of the things you have said over the past year and before are deplorable, to use one of your favorite words.  I hope that over the next four years, you change my mind.

First and foremost, I am a woman. I believe that I am capable of the same things men are and deserve the same respect a man would get.  It scares me that you have a history of disrespecting women. You have rape allegations in the double digits.  Just this year alone, you have called women bimbos and ugly in public.  I'm afraid to hear what you call them behind their backs.  We got a glimpse into that when the Billy Bush video went viral.  Some people have argued that you said those things just to get ratings or attention, but I don't believe it.  You've been saying those types of things for a long time and it shows a pattern of belief.  I hope that, as you serve as our president, you realize that women are more than just their bodies. We are intelligent, hard working, respectable human beings.  We are able to make decisions about our bodies, our education, and our employment.  Please remember that as you serve in the Oval Office. You will be working alongside many women in the United States and abroad as you serve as our president and should show them the respect they deserve.

Second, I am a teacher.  I have worked in schools in some of the poorest areas in our country. In Jacksonville, Florida, I worked in the lowest performing high school in the state. Ninety four percent of them were African-American. In Boston, the majority of my students lived in Dorchester, which is known for it's poverty. The majority of my students were on food stamps and received government assistance.  I lived in those neighborhoods, alongside those people and never got "shot walking to the store," like you said happened. Instead, I met hardworking, intelligent people who are trying their best to succeed.  I encourage you to visit communities like these and meet the people living there. Pour money into the schools in these communities, as well as the more well-off communities.  In doing so, you will set these communities and our country up for success.

I am also an LGBTQ ally. I have two uncles that I care about deeply who are lucky enough to have found each other.  Because they live in Washington, DC, they are legally married.  The fact that if they lived 5 miles south, in Virginia, they couldn't get married and have access to so many benefits baffles me. I care about them and the rest of the LGBTQ community and believe they deserve the same rights as my husband and I do.  I feel like it's unfair to deny them of benefits based on their gender, just like it's unfair to deny someone benefits based on the color of their skin.

I am also a military spouse. My husband is a naval officer.  In a few short months, he will return to a submarine where he will face underways and deployments that will affect him, his fellow soldiers and our family.  Please remember them as you are making decisions about our military.  They are not just numbers in a strategic plan, but spouses, parents, and sons and daughters.  The decisions you make about them will affect the military personnel, as well as their communities.  I couldn't be more proud of the men and women in uniform and respect the sacrifices that they make every day.

I also am currently living abroad.  I spent the last year living in Turkey and recently moved to Germany. When in Turkey, I taught English to adults.  One of the worst days of my life was when I had to go to class and explain why you didn't want to let them into the United States.  Just like my students in Jacksonville, these people were hardworking, loving, open-minded people.  They are not terrorists and Islam is not a religion that promotes hate. In fact, studies show that between 82-97% of victims of terrorist attacks are Muslim.  These are the people that need our help and our acceptance the most.  I hope that, before you close our borders to all Muslims or all Mexicans, you remember that they are not all drug lords or terrorists.

Last, I am expecting a baby boy in April.  He will be a white, middle-class male with many privileges that many Americans don't have.  That being said, I want him to understand how lucky he is to live in a country that is already so great and to have so many privileges that his fellow Americans and other world citizens lack.  I want to teach him to talk to people and get to know them before judging their character. I want him to know that it is important to help those who are less fortunate, even if it means making sacrifices of yourself. I want him to live in a world where misogony, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry are not tolerated.   I want to bring him into a world that is filled with love and respect.

Before I go, I just want to share a story with you.  One of my teacher friends and I were talking shortly after you said you wanted to build a wall to keep Mexicans out.  She teaches kindergarten.  She called me distraught because one of her students was playing with blocks one day and built a wall of blocks around himself.  He told a Hispanic boy that he couldn't come inside the wall because the boy was from Mexico. The Hispanic boy came crying to my friend and when my friend approached the wall builder and asked where he got the idea for the wall, the student responded "Donald Trump is building a wall."

Our children are watching you President Trump.  The world is watching you.

All of that being said, I respect the office of the presidency and will try to support the decisions you make over the next four years.  Congratulations on your win.

Sarah Hogan

PS Here is the letter I wrote to President Obama when he was reelected for a second term.

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