I am appalled and deeply ashamed of the racist remarks of the U.S. president last week, remarks that are consistent with decades of racist behavior. His comments do not reflect what the United States stands for, what we believe and what we work towards. We do have a dark side from our slavery past, and our treatment of Native Americans, that we are struggling to heal and there are a minority of people who still believe the falsehoods of racism and white supremacy. These are the people that Trump speaks to as his core supporters. Trump does not speak for the 70% who applauds diversity and respects the talents that emigrants bring to our country. He does not speak for the majority who understand that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents came to these shores to escape threats to life and well-being and to find a better life for their off-spring.
I want you to hear how the majority of U.S. citizens are responding, but more importantly I want to speak to the people who visit my posts, in 2017 from over a hundred countries including nine countries in Africa, most of South and Central America, all of Europe, half of Central Asia, and most of Asia. I want to ask your forgiveness for the hurt and confusion Trump and the people he picked to work in government with him have caused. I am ashamed of his lack of knowledge of history and world politics, his crass* self-absorption, and his lack of intellectual curiosity, humility and compassion.
Yes, I am ashamed because he is the voice of the United States on the world stage, but I am also confident and hopeful. I believe in the values and ideals put forth in our Constitution and I don’t believe that my country will be swayed from them. I believe in our independent judiciary that works hard to interpret and implement the rules of justice, free from political bias. I support our free press that doggedly searches for the truth, works hard to verify facts, and reports the good works of our government along with the corruption and destructive actions of politicians and citizens. And I believe the citizens of our country are taking a hard look at what they value and what they want for our future. We, as citizens who have been charged with making democracy work as we have moved from a government developed and led by small group of white, male land-owners to a sprawling citizenry that is multi-colored, multi-gendered, and multicultural. We are still learning, and what we have learned through the past year is that we need all of our voices, and we can make all of our voices heard, and we need to respectfully listen to all voices. We are learning what isn’t working and are vowing to make changes – for the better. I see it happening and it gives me hope for the future. Mostly we have gotten it right, but sometimes we stumble and fall over our flaws.
I hope you accept my humble apology and recognize that one of the things that we got right is the ability to correct our path. This sorry state of affairs isn’t going to last because already in local elections we see corrections, just as we have in the past. I hurt deep within for the pain and suffering created by the harsh words and policies of the current administration and I will continue to support lawmakers who work towards fixing what is broken and are willing to recognize and support any policies that could work for the common good.
Please keep your eyes and ears focused on the good we have to offer and rest assured that there are good and intelligent citizens and emigrant working here, from your country and other countries around the world, who are speaking up and helping us find solutions that respect all people and build on the best our world has to offer. I listen to a wide variety of people of color, women and men, people with diverse heritages, people who have experience in the cultures of Africa, South America, Middle East and Asia who are invited to express their views in a variety of digital and print news sources. They are informing me and millions of others, broadening our understanding of how we can make our form of government work for all who come to our country to participate in our economy and democracy. We are all in this together and together I believe we will figure it out. Probably not perfectly, but better at each step of the way.
*Thesaurus: insensitive, tactless, stupid, obtuse, inane, ridiculous, gross, blundering, asinine, thoughtless, vulgar, obnoxious.