I published this several months ago after being struck by the emotion and power and love that our country felt for Muhammad Ali. Ironically, this was before Trump’s suggested “ban on Muslims” so now I feel this is even more relevant.
Today, even if Trump won the election, most of us our terrified for the future of our country. No one WON in this election, least of all the country. Today for many of us, the question we ask ourselves is “what do we tell our children.”
Note – unlike Trump loyalists, democrats aren’t crying foul. We aren’t insisting the election is rigged. We aren’t spewing hate at each other. We are heartbroken, frightened, shocked, and scared. But we will not give up. Because Trump’s America, at least as he described it during his election, is not our America and now as president, he MUST aspire to represent all of us.
So, I have a question for Mr. Trump, and I leave it Mr. Trump, because he has not earned my trust or my respect yet. He isn’t my president yet. Though I acknowledge that in several months, he will be.
I ask him -What kind of leader will he be…
Dear Mr. Trump:
Today, as I watched Good Morning America, there were two back-to-back segments. One was on politics and one was on the Ali memorial in Louisville. One spoke about your team fighting your recorded deposition being made public from the Trump University debacle, and the other showed people lining the streets of Louisville to welcome one of their favorite sons home – larger than life even as he made his final journey, but still the poor, skinny boy who began boxing because someone stole his bike and he couldn’t fight back.
In the video clip, I watched people of different races line the street chanting “Ali.” I saw people of different backgrounds and all faiths honoring a man who gave up his freedom and career through his prime to stand for what he believed in and serve as the voice for a population in America that had no voice in 60s and is loosing their voice again 50 years later.
I saw Ali’s friends, through tears speak of his ego and arrogance and grace and strength. Candidly, to be the greatest of all time, you have to be egotistical and arrogant, but you must also know when to use it to your advantage and allow it to give you the courage to be more.
And I saw his wife of 30 years, end the day through tears saying “Muhammad wants young people of every background to see his life as proof that adversity can make you stronger. It cannot rob you of the power to dream and to reach your dreams.”
So, Mr. Trump, can you please define your leadership to me? Not your power, not your wealth, not your business management and success. Explain your leadership to me.
Which Donald Trump is the authentic one? The one spewing hate about Mexicans and Muslims and women and any person that dares to say something negative about you, or the one whom years ago was very rational and real in saying that Republicans lost elections because they didn’t know how to galvanize the minority vote.
Which Donald Trump is the honest one? The one bemoaning trade with China, illegal immigrants and “THE WALL,” or the man whom had products made in China for years and hired illegal immigrants to help build his golf resorts.
My questions apply to Hillary Clinton too. How would she define her leadership? But though she is far from perfect, she has proven herself over and over again to be measured, intelligent and capable of working on a global platform. Her ethics may be questionable, her history may be contentious, but she and her husband have made a lasting, positive impact on our country, and she has served as a voice over and over again, regardless of people’s anger, for those that needed someone to speak for them.
On the other side, you have proven nothing. You have used your voice to tear apart the country, reopen wounds that have festered for decades, and preached hate from a pulpit that is supposed to represent ALL of the people of the country, not just half of them.
Sadly, I don’t believe that you believe in half of what you say, or at least not as strongly as you show in public. If you did, you would never have become the success that you are in the corporate world. But, I think that too defines the leader that you are. A reincarnation of “Tricky Dick,” saying anything to get what he wanted but failing the country in the process.
Mr. Trump, you are a leader. You have charisma, power, strength, and the intelligence to fill a void for a population that wants to be heard. But sadly, you have chosen to take the path of other leaders that have made the world worse, not better. I hear you speak, and I see some of the most awful leaders or our time and times past. I don’t see a man that can “make America great” again. Partly, because America has always been great because of ALL of the people in it.
So, Mr. Trump, explain to me the leader that you want to be. Explain to me why I should vote for you. Because today, you make me fear for my country. You make me fear for my family. You make me fear for all those things that I believe in: equality, respect for others, and a future where America continues to be better because our people are diverse and different.
Mr. Trump – in all your arrogance, please know. You are nothing like Muhammad Ali. You are nothing like the Kennedys or Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez. You are nothing like Reagan or Churchhill or Lincoln or … Or any leader who has helped their country and their people navigate through divisive times.
No leader is perfect. We are all human. But you don’t bring people together. You tear them apart.
So, please Mr. Trump. Look inside of yourself. Look in your children’s eyes. Look in your family’s eyes.
Because you may win the presidency. And if you do, I hope that you can find it in yourself to stand for more than you do today. Because the country will be divided to a breaking point, and you will be one of the catalysts that helped make that happen. What kind of leader will you be then?