Monday, November 21, 2016

An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

When you took office eight years ago you inherited a country facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. This crisis was not of your creation but the responsibility for saving our country fell largely on your shoulders. You deserve all the credit in the world for rescuing our country. Now, as you prepare to leave office, you find yourself leading a country on the precipice, a country facing a threat larger than any it has faced since the Civil War. This crisis is not of your creation but the responsibility for saving our country again falls on your shoulders.

Over the past two weeks you have spoken calming words to our nation’s citizens. You’ve counseled us to have patience and give the President-Elect a chance. You’ve reached out to the President-Elect to offer him advice and counsel. You’ve traveled the world to reassure our allies.

I am convinced that this is the wrong approach to take. I am convinced that Donald Trump, at his core, is a sociopath, a narcissist, and a bully. He is not someone who can be trusted or reasoned with. He cannot be swayed by appeals to his better angels because he has no better angels. Maya Angelou famously said, “When someone shows you who they are believe them, the first time.” Donald Trump continues to show us exactly who he is each and every day.

My recommendation, Mr. President, is that you take a much more aggressive and adversarial approach to the President-Elect. I was very heartened that you recently issued a five year ban on oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. I am hopeful that this is only the beginning of actions you will take over the remainder of your term.

Here are some other actions you might take in your final sixty days as President:

  1. Grant a pardon to all undocumented children and youth living in the United States and issue them irrevocable papers placing them on the path to citizenship.
  2. Grant citizenship to as many immigrants as possible over the next 60 days.
  3. Appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court and immediately sue the Senate for failing to perform its constitutional duty. This probably won’t work, but it is better than doing nothing.
  4. Release the last two decades of Donald Trump’s tax returns to the media. The public has a right to know the extent of his investments in and indebtedness to foreign nations.
  5. Use the powers of Presidential pardon to depopulate our nation’s prisons, especially by freeing non-violent drug offenders and others impacted by the injustice of mass incarceration.
  6. Use executive orders to dismantle pieces of the federal government that a Trump administration could use to inflict harm on American citizens. This might mean, for example, destroying domestic surveillance capabilities.

However, far beyond any of these suggestions, there is the larger question of whether Donald Trump can be allowed to assume the presidency sixty days from now. Can a man who owes hundreds of millions of dollars of debt to adversarial foreign nations legitimately take an oath of office to defend our Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic? Can a man who is already using his political position to cut deals to enrich his business empire, a man who totally resists separating his political activity and his business activity, take an oath to serve the American people? Can a man whose core campaign promises were blatantly unconstitutional swear to uphold the Constitution? If Trump is allowed to take office it will set into motion the largest Constitutional crisis in our nation’s history.

President Obama, you have sixty days remaining in office. For the next sixty days you are the most powerful man in the world. I call on you to use your power wisely and judiciously over the next sixty days. It is unfortunate and unfair, but it is my belief that history will remember you most for how you approach these final two months as President of the United States of America.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts. I'll cherish these freedoms as long as they still exist.