Dear Mr. President,
For almost 50 years, you have had a luxury few others have enjoyed: You’ve run your businesses and your life without being accountable to anyone.
That’s not a criticism of you. In fact, I think millions of Americans would immediately say “yes” if they were offered what you’ve had: business opportunities all over the world; friendships in countries near and far; access to the rich and famous; a want for nothing material; and, most importantly, being the parent of five intelligent, attractive and healthy children.
Sure, no person would have made all the decisions you made. That doesn’t mean he or she is right or wrong; rather, those words acknowledge that each person would have been influenced by different agendas or goals.
You made what your family has described as a selfless choice about two years ago: In their words (and yours), you sought to bring the same principles that have guided your business life to bear in the political arena. You sought the highest office in the land in an effort to fix what you saw as a bloated, corrupt and inefficient system.
Contrary to what most experts thought would happen, you won the Republican nomination for president and then the general election.
I was one of the people in Washington on the day you were inaugurated. Sure, I went as a skeptic; I admit, I was not impressed by many of your words and actions during the campaign, but I affirmed that you deserved the chance to earn my respect as you assumed the office of President of the United States.
Please allow me to tell you what I see as the values the person in that office should hold. He (and someday it will be “she”) should be:
You have proven to be none of these over the first month of your term, sir. More concerning to me is that because you have been accountable to no one for so many years, I see no way that you will grasp the importance of these traits and then begin to demonstrate them.
Yes, I know that you have the rabid support of Republicans; their endorsement will embolden you to continue acting as you’ve been.
That would be shame.
Our country would be embarrassed.
Our allies would remain concerned.
Our enemies could benefit.
Your legacy could be permanently tarnished.
At one point this summer, I was asked to pick any president with whom I’d want to have dinner. I picked President Carter.
I explained it this way: “Can you think of any president, living or dead, who has shown himself to be the humanitarian Mr. Carter has been?” I mentioned many of those same attributes I listed above; I believe President Carter embodies all of them.
Sir, I’d also like to have dinner with you, as strange as that might seem after what I’ve written here. I’m not rich nor famous; not business-oriented nor aspiring to make a deal; not star-struck nor naive. But I do love my country — faults included — and I humbly offer you my experience as a husband, father, and educator for an evening of sharing ideas about what America could be.
I continue to wish you well because I continue to wish America well.