Dear Donald Trump-
I am a liberal voter, from a liberal city, from a liberal county, from a liberal state. As such, I did not vote for you. Before eventually casting my vote for Hillary Clinton, I took a long and hard look at Jill Stein.
However, I accept the fact that you will be the leader of the United States for at least the next 4 years. Below is a list by which I will be judging your governance. It is by no means a complete list, as neither you nor I can foresee everything that will come up in the next several years. Being a social liberal, it’s a list of things about which I care deeply.
1) Make health care work better.
I would rather see you working within the current framework to improve health coverage for those in need than repealing what exists and replacing it with an entirely different system. Some of your ideas sound plausible; allowing people to get coverage across state lines, publishing/standardizing costs of procedures, having various levels of coverage based upon the perception of need. Any of these would make health care better and improve upon what is already in place, rather than starting again from scratch.
2) Don’t change anything about gay rights.
You and Mike Pence may not agree with the concept of homosexual marriage, but it is a right which has been fought for and won within the framework of the Constitution. You don’t have to like it, but they are entitled to their pursuit of happiness, as much as you are entitled to yours.
3) Defend abortion rights.
Again, you and your party may not be warm to the idea of access to abortions, but for over 40 years now, untold numbers of women, for their own reasons, have depended upon that right. It has been their choice, not that of the government, where, whether, and why they seek an abortion. Don’t imperil that right under pressure from your own party.
4) Give Hispanics who are here illegally a chance to become citizens.
Many are here because they want to be here, earning a living for their families, providing a better life than they would have otherwise faced back in their countries of origin. Even if they were told they had to go to the back of the line for citizenship applications, I’m sure millions would jump at the chance. It’s a lot better than no path or mass deportation, and it makes you look magnanimous. If they choose not to follow that path, and are then stopped or arrested after a given time frame, then they would face harsh penalties. You never know, you may even increase the Republican percentage of the Hispanic vote if you do so.
5) Make a whole-hearted attempt to fix police violence against unarmed Americans.
I understand that police have to constantly be thinking about worst-case scenarios, but that doesn’t mean that every situation should be treated as such. I have an Autistic son. Not that I think it would ever happen, but if he were ever in a position where he was asked to drop what he was carrying (whatever it may be) and put his hands up, I don’t think he’d understand what was being asked. I’d hate for the police to interpret that as non-compliance or a sign of aggression. Likewise, the color of a person’s skin should not be any factor in how the police assess the person. This is one where I don’t know how to fix it, but it’s a problem that needs to be addressed, regardless of who is in charge.
6) Don’t over burden the taxes of the middle- and lower- income Americans.
I am the sole income earner for a 5 member household. As such, paychecks are tight, food budget is restrictive, and every year we look forward to being able to do things with our tax return. If tax law were to change radically, whether by changing the amount of child credits or taking away mortgage interest deduction, or increasing the rate by which the poor and middle-class are required to contribute, it would be a burden not just on me, but on millions of Americans. One that can be wholly avoided. I propose that, in order to increase income and decrease the deficit, the easiest thing to do is add another marginal tax rate that only effects the wealthiest American, yourself included. Make a higher tax rate for anything over $1 million or $5 million, something that would change rates for almost nobody, but would bring in more money for the federal government.
7) Don’t pretend climate change doesn’t exist.
The fact that every year, the planet is setting records as “the warmest on records” should serve as a warning that the planet is warming. It shouldn’t be dismissed as thermometers getting more accurate, or more temperatures being taken in hotter places thereby increasing the average reading. The Paris Climate Agreement was a landmark of the world coming together to attempt to preserve the environment, and whether conservatives believe the science or not, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Making cars more fuel efficient may be hard work for the car companies, but ignoring the need to do so only speeds up the day when there will no longer be enough gasoline to meet demand. Give car companies incentives for surpassing fuel efficiency standards. Keep tax credits for Americans who wish to make their home more efficient or “green”. Encourage the development of renewable energy, hopefully so that it can compete with the fossil fuel industry, thereby making energy options better for everybody. If nothing else, think of it from a businesses monetary concerns as opposed to strictly scientific.
8) Have compassion for Syrian Refugees wanting in on the American Dream.
I’m not saying “let them all in”, but don’t go the opposite direction either. The overwhelming percentage of people fleeing that region are doing so because they have seen and/or experienced horrific things. By giving the refugees a chance to prove themselves, they as a group will not let America down. Islam is not the problem in and of itself, yet the people who poison the word are a factor. This country ensures people are granted freedom of religion, even if their choice of religion doesn’t match that of the person in charge.
I suspect many Americans in the coming years will judge you by the policies they deem essential to the functioning of the United States. Mine are just a sample of those that people find necessary, don’t let politics get in the way of good governance.
Seattle Music Nerd