Dear Mr. Trump,
This is not a letter of acquiescence. This is not a white flag of surrender. This is my national anthem.
I am a citizen of the United States of America. My parents were born here as were their parents before them. I am descended from both slaves and native Americans, as well as one or more parts of the United Kingdom.
Because I am African American, I rely on the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution to guarantee my citizenship. Because I am female, I rely on the 19th amendment for the right to vote. Brown v. Board of Education is a decision that allowed children like me access to a quality education. The Voting Rights Act of 1964 reiterates my rights as an Black woman to vote, without impediment, anywhere in the country. Finally, Loving v. Virginia abolished the miscegenation laws that would have made my nearly 25 year marriage illegal in 17 states.
I am afforded the same rights and privileges as my white, straight, cis-gendered male spouse, but only after 4 Constitutional amendments, two Supreme Court decisions, and an Executive Order. Our founders (both male and female) didn’t envision a world where all humankind would be free to exercise the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Because of their limited vision, the document you and many others believe should be interpreted “as the founding fathers intended” has needed 27 amendments: not including the few others that have been proposed but not passed, like the Equal Rights Amendment. If we only look at the Constitution as it was originally written and adopted in the 18th century, there are millions of people, including myself, who will be left with no rights at all.
That cannot stand.
Your campaign was conducted with the intention of scaring straight white working class men into thinking something had been taken from them. Your call to “Make America Great Again” sounded like salvation to those men and their brow-beaten and brainwashed female companions. What exactly does this restoration to greatness mean?
What rights have these men really lost?
The civil progress made for minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQ folks, and children was not an assault on white maleness. It was a balancing of the scales — the righting of centuries-old wrongs. No one took your privileges away; you were just made to realize that they were never meant to be exclusively yours.
And that’s the problem.
Our liberation is not your oppression. This is not a zero sum game. We can all live together and be free to be entirely who we are without stepping on each others’ toes. Folks just have to stop thinking of their preferences and opinions as rights.
No, you don’t have the right not to have Blacks, Jews, or gays live in your neighborhood. That’s not a right. They, however, have the right to live wherever they can afford to live. Your disgust doesn’t entitle you to take away their rights to make yourself comfortable.
See the distinction?
The “Father Knows Best” white man of the 1950s is not a standard for decent American living. It’s our country’s attempt to whitewash history. White men are not kings to be exalted. They are people, no more or less than all the rest of us. The clock should not be turned back to suit them.
Which brings me to the point of this letter: I am now a member of the loyal opposition. Since I am a US citizen, you are my President. I did not vote for you. I have actively written and spoken out against you, as is my Constitutional right. I want to believe you want what is best for all Americans, but I have serious doubts. So I will fight.
I will work to continue the progress this country has made in the last 250 years. I will write and speak out whenever necessary, and I will do all I can to be sure my children continue to have the rights that were fought for by brave men and women who went so far as to lay down their lives for what they believed. The poor, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised have benefitted greatly from the reforms of the last 50 years in particular. We cannot go back. We must not go back.
We will not go back.
We who believe in freedom cannot rest. We will fight on, Mr. Trump, not because we hate you — rather because we love this country.
My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Let freedom ring.
A Very Nasty Woman