'Dear Trump: I'm speaking to you from the future ... you've killed many people'
Women’s Podcast presents letters to the new president from women, including Stefanie Preissner, Una Mullally and Sarah Carey
Yes, Virginia, there really is a president called Trump.
Dear President Trump: “You and I need to have a talk about something . . . ” Photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
A lot of women have an awful lot of to get off their chests when it comes to President Donald Trump. Ahead of his inauguration on January 20th, women wrote and recorded open letters to the most powerful man in the world for The Women’s Podcast. Here are a selection of those letters:
“If Ivanka says ‘Daddy, don’t start a war’, then you really need to listen” – Sarah Carey
Dear Mr President
Poor you. Expectations are low. But that’s okay. There’s nothing worse than high expectations. Look at Obama. He thought a good speech could save the world, but he couldn’t or wouldn’t save Syria, and so all the good stuff is overshadowed by that sad debacle.
But! Since you’re incoherent and unstable, all you have to do is not blow up the world, and everyone will say you weren’t so bad after all. Being awful is going to be your biggest advantage. Work with that!
Also, they say you’re a narcissist. I wouldn’t worry about that too much either. For starters, It’s catching. Every jumped-up chief executive thinks his rage and Le Corporation C’est Moi approach is entirely justifiable if he’s got money. We’re all narcissists now.
Anyway, they say there are only two ways to deal with a narcissist: you either agree with them or disagree. If you disagree, then you’re out. If you agree, you become part of the problem.
I propose a third way. I shall be positive and point out where we agree. Objecting where I disagree won’t be necessary since there’ll be so many others to explain why you’re wrong about everything all the time. So let’s see where we can work together!
I see three points of possibility where we can focus on your strengths.
The first is your daughter. Ivanka is not merely beautiful but graceful, elegant and articulate. And you must have had something to do with that. So here’s what I want you to do. I know the rest of us women aren’t beautiful and elegant and perhaps not even articulate. But maybe if you try. Really hard. You might see that there is a smidgeon of Ivanka in us. At least some of us.
Women are easy to love. We love being loved and we have so much love to give. So, when a woman is telling you something, after you’ve rated her on your scale, look for the Ivanka in her. Even if she’s just a 1 or a 2, is she a daughter, a mother, a businesswoman? Is she qualified, educated? Is there something more to her than a pussy?
If you can see beyond the scale, and think, what if she were my daughter, perhaps it might help you to listen, really listen, to what she’s saying. If that’s impossible, well, at least just listen to Ivanka. Especially if they’re starting a war and she says “Daddy, don’t start a war”, then you really need to listen.
Secondly, build bridges not walls! No metaphors! You go ahead and build those bridges and roads and all that infrastructure. Create jobs. Be a hero. Leave a legacy of concrete behind you that people will speak of forever. Say what you like about Trump, but that’s a great bridge! Do something for the American people and build build build. It’s what you do best! You’re a builder Mr President.
And, finally, just a little prayer, in the same vein. Remember: it’s about creation, not destruction. So please don’t start a war. They never end well, even when you win.
Bridges, and Ivanka. That would make a fine presidency.
With lots of good wishes and fearful prayers from Ireland, the Not a Tax Haven island,
Sarah Carey presents Talking Point on Newstalk at 9am on Sundays
“Don’t break things for the joy of destroying them. That is what toddlers do with sandcastles” – Erin Fornoff
Dear Mr President,
There are so many things to say to you about this awesome responsibility you do not respect. There are so many things to plead for, to shout about, to panic over. But for the sake of time and the veins in my temples I decided to pick just one.
In 2008, I worked in rural Georgia as a field organiser for Barack Obama’s first campaign. At a meeting, I was training a group of volunteers on how to tell their own stories. An older man strolled in late, looking a bit worse for wear. I sat and chatted with him. “I have no story,” he said. “There’s not much interesting about me.”
So I asked him to walk me through his day. “You woke up, you ate breakfast, and then what happened?”
He said, “Well, I walked half a mile to the bus stop, then got on the 14, then switched to the 186, then the 65, then I walked about 10 blocks to get here.”
I said, “Wow, that’s a hell of a commute.” And without emphasis, without outrage, without even a sense of resignation, he said, “Well, I’m living with a friend. I had to sell my house and my car to pay for my heart surgery.”
Before I moved to Ireland, I did not fully understand the violence and cruelty of the American health care system. Injustice is a thing you can grow used to even when you’re working against it. I knew it was wrong that a bad diagnosis could mean bankruptcy as well as death, but I didn’t realise how internalised that was as a normal thing.
Once in Dublin I became urgently ill and had to be rushed to the hospital. As the doctor was on the phone calling an ambulance, I was on my phone calling a taxi. I assumed, without a second thought, that an ambulance ride would cost $10,000, as it would at home.
I point to the Affordable Care Act – the ACA, Obamacare, whatever you want to call it – as a tangible thing from the past eight years that has genuinely saved lives. To me, that piece of work is a direct answer to that man in Woodstock, Georgia trying to keep his heart beating.
The Affordable Care Act is an answer to that man, and for children and families, and for veterans, and for people who have had illnesses and were denied coverage, or made all their payments on time and were still kicked off at the stroke of a pen.
The idea that you would destroy it without a replacement, to steal coverage from 20 million people – 20 million people – assaults my ability to understand. Tweak the law. Fix the law. Change a semicolon in the law and call it Trumpcare. But don’t gut it and stand smirking before the cameras while people grow sick, and sicker, and die.
I don’t believe in hell, but I understand the sentiment that would issue you a ticket there, for that alone.
My ask, as you move forward into this job which you sully with your very presence, is don’t break things for the joy of breaking them. That is what toddlers do with sandcastles. There is a man in Georgia who sold everything he owned because that is what our system demanded in order to let him live. You have him to answer to.
The US presidency – the tremendous mantle of the hopes and dreams and potential of a nation, the membership in a global human community – demands that you be a better man. You have all of us to answer to.
Erin Fornoff is a writer, poet, and manager of the spoken word Lingo Festival.
“Doesn’t the torrent of condemnation and anger from the majority of the world ever get to you?” – Rosie Stebbing (18)
Dear President Trump,
How do I even begin? This time last year, I could never have anticipated that we’d be in this position. That is, that you would hold the most powerful political position in the world, and that I’d be a bitterly disappointed 18-year-old global citizen, nervously awaiting what the next four years hold.
I don’t think I’ve really come to terms with it yet, to be honest. It still feels like a weird dream that I haven’t woken up from, a dream which began when I turned on the TV on the morning of November 8th to see your big orange face leering at me with the words “president-elect Donald Trump” below it. The sight delivered a savage blow, from which I am still reeling.
How could America choose you over your highly qualified opponent? It physically hurt me to think that the US had turned down the opportunity to elect their first female president in favour of a man with no political experience at all.
Sometimes I wonder if you are ever intimidated by the situation in which you have put yourself. The eyes of the world are on you now, watching, waiting for you to do something offensive or outrageous or disastrous. It’s evident that a lack of ego has never been a problem for you, but doesn’t the torrent of condemnation and anger from the majority of the world ever get to you?
Obviously, you do have supporters – you wouldn’t be the president of the United States today if you didn’t. But it must be exhausting to constantly be mocked by the press, to be the subject of countless impressions, and to feel the hatred of so many people. I almost wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Almost.
I would certainly wish it on a man who epitomises hatred and ignorance. I would wish it on a man who claims that all Mexicans are rapists, or one who mocks disabled reporters. I would wish it on a man who is so disgustingly sexist that he reduces women to their looks and uses his opinion on their physical appearance as a weapon against them.
The revolting comments that you have made about women can only be explained either by utter stupidity or complete evil. I hope for everyone’s sake that it’s the former. But even that is only slightly less terrifying.
Initially, when I learned of your election victory, my reaction was fear. I thought that society was becoming more progressive and open, but this made me unsure of everything that I thought I knew about the world and humanity.
Now, however, as you begin your time in office, I would like to tell you something, Mr Trump. I am not the person who should be afraid. I have realised that the reason that I was so confused as to how a right-wing, misogynistic racist could be elected president is because I am surrounded by people who are liberal, accepting and open-minded.
I have grown up in a generation of young people who see discrimination as utterly unacceptable. We are the generation that have grown up amid LGBT rights campaigns and a resurgence of the feminist movement. We experienced the election of the first black US president. We have grown up in an age of ever increasing acceptance, and we know what we want from our future. I know that there are enough decent and good people in the world to resist this and to resist you.
To conclude, Donald: brace yourself.
Rosie Stebbing is a dance student
“I am speaking to you from the future . . . you have killed many people” – Una Mullally
Dear President Trump,
I am speaking to you from the future, 2020, in my underground bunker (location redacted), and am rapidly running out of stockpiled Koka noodles and cans of what used to be known as cider but which you rebranded Apple Blood. I refuse to call it that.
A while back, before the resistance was quashed and you even deported Olivia Pope because you were convinced she was “on to something”, it felt as if all hope was lost. But if you think deporting television characters you believe to be real will save you, you’re wrong.
The resistance initially gathered online, foolishly. You, with the keys to digital backdoors previously prised open by the NSA, now control the largest surveillance programme every conducted on private citizens. But if you think that will save you, you’re wrong.
The resistance went offline and off the grid. When Twitter finally banned you from their platform, you took it down with you. But if you think that will save you, you’re wrong.
In the beginning, media outlets reported what was happening as if they were reporting on politics as usual. But you were still disgusted with the reported facts of your own behaviour, and one by one picked off organisations and journalists. Now, the only ones with access to you are the cowardly sycophants who run around like jesters in Mar-a-Largo. But if you think that will save you, you’re wrong.
You started wars, invaded countries as an articulation of your macho insecurity. You have killed many people. But if you think your warmongering admirals and generals will save you, you’re wrong.
The paralysis and helplessness felt by the American population, turned dizzy with your lies and twisted tales, gaslighting and mind-bending denials of facts, wore off some time ago, Trumpy, so if you think those autocratic information warfare tactics will save you, you’re wrong.
Pockets of America remain where reality is not just a foggy memory nor truth an artefact of history. There are people who know what is really fake news and what is actually real. There are people who held on to that grasp of reality, who wrote down everything they know to be true and let themselves be guided by it.
It might feel comfortable in your castle in Manhattan. But if you think that will save you, you’re wrong.
The thing about fascism is that it falls.
Your time travelling Irish penpal, Una Mullally
Una Mullally is an author and Irish Times columnist.
“I believe you are a good person inside” – Stefanie Preissner
Dear President Trump,
Are you frightened?
I bet you are.
If I were you, I would be.
I just watched an episode of The Simpsons where the bully, Nelson, couldn’t get anyone to come to his birthday party. He had all these friends in school saying they were his friends and if he organised a party, they would come. But it turns out they were just afraid to be honest with him.
Nelson cried when he realised that no one liked him.
As anyone would, really. It’s hard when you invite all your favourite people to sing at your party and not one of them will. I’m sure Nelson felt very alone and very regretful of the behaviour that had led to him being ostracized.
I felt really sorry for Nelson.
And I feel sorry for you.
Because I bet you that if an old lady fell on her knees in the street in front of you – no cameras, no set up, no one watching– I bet that you would help her up.
Because I believe you’re a good person inside.
But maybe you’ve gotten all wrapped up in this campaign and you’ve now landed the gig and you’re overwhelmed.
You’re like Daniel Day-Lewis trying to shuffle off Christy Brown.
The good thing is that because of the way people voted, if you turn this around, here and now, there’s a majority of people waiting to support you to do the right thing. You’re lucky that way – the people who didn’t vote for you are the more merciful and forgiving type.
If you want to turn all this around, you still can.
We’ve all seen your cameo in Home Alone 2, Donald. In the Plaza Hotel when Kevin is frightened and alone, he comes to you. You. Out of all the people in the lobby, the little boy comes to you to help him when he is lost.
And you guided him in the right direction.
You can be that good version of yourself again, Donald. We’ve seen the film.
You know how to play a role very well, when you have to.
You have a choice now, to be a hero or a villain.
To make friends or make enemies.
Point your people in the right direction, Donald
This isn’t a cameo.
Stefanie Preissner is a writer and the creator of the RTÉ TV series Can’t Cope Won’t Cope.
“I do not believe you are a Nazi or Satan or whatever else you’re generally accused of being” – Laura Kennedy
Dear President Trump,
I’ve written quite a few letters in my life. Mostly the dull, administrative kind. A lot of thank you’s. I once wrote a complaint letter to Cadbury when my Caramello bar was unfortunately devoid of caramel, mutating it into little better than an errant Dairy Milk. The people at Cadbury were very apologetic and sent me a €5 voucher to spend on more exemplary Caramellos, so that worked out pretty well.
This is the first letter of bafflement that I have ever written. I considered all of the many legitimate concerns, grievances or thoughts that I might include in a letter to you. There’s abortion (that’s a big one for me because I rather sassily feel entitled to bodily agency, and think other women do too), your generally bizarre and possibly meta-satirical PR situation, and your almost poetic lack of subtlety around the symbolism of walls.
There’s jabbing Vladimir Putin into his soft, incessantly shirtless torso with a sharp stick while simultaneously throwing soft-boiled carrots at him (that conjures a really horrifying pseudo-sexual mental image, which I hope you’ll appreciate). There’s the lack of respect for facts and the individualising of the role of president (an office bigger than any one person) that really craps on its great history and dignity. I could go on, but I’m not convinced that you pay much credence to the people who are actually paid to give you advice, so you’ll hardly be interested in mine.
I considered writing to you about those issues, but I thought you’d have enough letters about them. Enough letters being unkind and insulting, too. I’m sure you can hardly hear yourself being ineffectually repetitive for the soft, dry scuffing sound of hands wringing the world over. So I just thought I’d take this opportunity to express my bafflement and wish you luck.
I do not believe you are a Nazi or Satan or whatever else you’re generally accused of being by people who run horrified for their smelling salts at the sight of you folded squashily forward over a podium, spewing forth grammatically specious words that make sense in isolation but somehow don’t meld into comprehensible sentences.
No, I think it more likely that you are a person of no particular moral direction, an opportunist who is rather without empathy. An unemotional ability to park empathy sometimes is very desirable in a leader, but one would prefer that he or she were actually capable of it. Just in case its needed.
One thing is clear to me in my bafflement. That you are a Dairy Milk in Caramello packaging, President Trump. You promise rich, delicious caramel for all, but when the wrapper comes off, the inadequacies are exposed and there won’t be any €5 vouchers to compensate us. You don’t appear to have the particular skills required not to feck this up, but you’re in the job now. Out of respect for your office, I will wait and see.
What else would I do? You’re the one with all the power.
Laura Kennedy is a beauty writer and author of the Coping column in The Irish Times.
“This is worse than the time my mother took us to the wrong wake ” – Kathleen Harris
Dear President Trump,
This is worse than the time I had a colonoscopy and my entire family, including my sister’s boyfriend, insisted on coming to the hospital with me. This is worse than the time my mother took us to the wrong wake and didn’t realise it until we were all standing ashen-faced in front of the bereaved, my mother bent over laughing hysterically at her mistake.
This is embarrassing, occasionally comic and, at the heart of it, sad and serious. I can’t quite wrap my head around it.
You seem to think you have assumed the starring role in the ultimate reality show: the Oval Office your set; Steve Bannon your “quirky” sidekick; your voters the angry, paranoid – but sometimes lovable underneath it all – casting director; and the rest of the American people, the world even, your captive audience.
But there is no Emmy for playing president. As you like to remind us, you won the election, but the next four years will not be a series of red-carpeted after-parties. This is just the beginning; the work starts now.
Your successes and failures will not be measured in ratings or clicks or ad buys. They will not be easily magnified or disguised by twisted truths or bold lies. They will be felt by real people in their real lives. And, at the end of it all, you will stand before us exposed, and we will decide how you will be remembered.
So how do you want to be remembered?
You’ve duped enough people to make it the Oval Office, but most Americans did not vote for you. Most Americans do not dismiss sexism, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, general crappy behaviour as political correctness. Most Americans are not impressed by superficial swagger and old-fashioned tough-guy antics.
Most Americans do not want the ugliness you’ve exposed to spread or the restrictions on personal freedoms you’ve proposed to come to pass. Most Americans want to move forward, not backward.
You will not win because there is no winning or losing, just an America that is better or worse off than when you arrived at the White House. No makeup or special effects or performance worthy of Meryl Streep will hide lost health insurance, soaring tuition fees, increased national debt, bad deals for the environment, religious intolerance, restrictive abortion laws, walls or wars.
So how do you want to be remembered?
Kathleen Harris is an American video journalist with The Irish Times who lives and works in Dublin.
“You talk like a vulgarian, and you act like a thug” – Ailbhe Smyth
I do not address you as “dear”, because you are not. You are a misogynistic sexual predator, a racist bigot and a capitalist high-rolling fraudster of the first order. You are narcissistic to the nth degree, and display markedly fascist tendencies.
In fact, I don’t think there’s any point in writing to you, as to date you have shown no capacity to listen with any degree of sustained attention to anyone else. You might well not understand much of what’s being said anyway. Your speaking style teeters on the brink of unintelligibility, regularly veering off into gibberish, while your woefully basic language is invariably crude, crass and simplistic in the extreme. One linguistic analysis found that your most frequently used words are “I”, “Trump”, “China” and “Money”.
Your behaviour towards those whose lives and experiences are way beyond your own limited Ken and rarefied comfort zone is that of an out-of-control pubescent bully boy. You are totally devoid of subtlety, and bash everyone who crosses you (and even those who do not) with the same kind of hectoring stick. Your vicious attacks on others are fundamentally defences to mask your own inadequacies and insecurities: when challenged or confronted, your stock response is to shout “Loser! Loser! Loser!” and snigger.
You talk like a vulgarian, and you act like a thug.
Women, lesbian, gay and trans people, African-Americans, Muslims, Hispanics and Asians are just some of those you have mocked, scorned, and treated like trash. You take visible pleasure in hurting, insulting, and intimidating whole swathes of humanity – collectively and individually – indifferent to their human dignity and to their right to the respect that you, of all people, owe them as their president.
Anti-women, anti-abortion (women who have abortions, you said, deserve “some form of punishment”), anti-healthcare, anti-immigrant, anti-equality, anti-same-sex marriage (because, you said, “I just don’t feel good about it”), anti-African-American (“If black lives don’t matter, then go back to Africa!” you roared).
Yet you have the breathtaking gall to say you want to be a “president for all Americans”.
Well, you won’t be. You and your fellow white supremacist henchmen can hector and bluster and browbeat all you like, but it won’t change the facts.
1. Fact: You have no political experience whatsoever and you have no notion how to govern. Running the US is not like running hotels, so falling flat on your face shouldn’t be ruled out.
2.Fact: Your appallingly divisive campaign brought to the surface deep class, ethnic and gender fault lines in the US. You don’t have the skill or the capacity to heal those divisions, even if you truly wanted to or could understand them. The future is unclear, for you and for all Americans, to say the least.
3. Fact: You won under half of the popular vote and only 8 per cent of the African-American vote. This means that more than half of “All Americans” do not want you as president and will resist you all the way. Their health, their lives even, and their children’s future are at stake, so they are highly motivated.
4. Fact: People do not forget, nor do they forgive, ever, being treated with derision and contempt.
You shouldn’t be too blase about your power either. It has limits, and not only where wall-building is concerned.
For example, your threat to reverse Roe v Wade and ban abortion will not be so easy to implement, no matter who you appoint to the Supreme Court. Roe v Wade has been there for 40 years and attempts to get rid of it would jeopardise the integrity of nation’s primary court. Never mind that abortion is part of everyday life now in the US and the majority of Americans (especially women) just don’t want it removed and are 150 per cent determined to protect it.
Furthermore, if you try to carry out your threat to defund Planned Parenthood, there will be uproar and widespread protest since it provides so much vital health care – not only abortion – to poor women who have no other recourse, in the richest country in the world.
And there are many, many more examples of where you will find your wings considerably clipped by real life and popular opinion.
So, as you prepare for your inauguration, you would do well to get over yourself and heed the warning signs all around you. The resistance is everywhere. It’s marching, rallying, protesting, on the streets, on social media, in homes and colleges and workplaces, all over the country. Everywhere. Most of all in people’s minds and hearts.
“Half of us [American people] are women, and millions of us are women of colour. And together with our communities by our side, we’re about to show Trump who’s boss.” (Stand up with Mary)
“We have woken up, we are organised, and we are ready.” (Popular Resistance)
“Democracy is not a bystander sport. We’re being attacked, and we need to work together to build a democracy that we’ve never actually had in this country.” (Jodeen Olguin-Tayler, Black Lives Matter, and cofounder of Our 100)
Americans cheered and retweeted to beat the band when Danielle Muscato took you to task and nailed you brilliantly in an epic series of 28 tweets, which instantly went viral:
We see you, Donald. We know exactly what you’re doing and it’s not working on us. You’re a disgrace and you should be ashamed. The next four years will be brutal for me and my fellow civil activists. Not all of us will survive. But we will #RESIST. (@DanielleMuscato to @realDonaldTrump)
I don’t think you’ll heed the signs, Trump, because you live in a fantasy world where you think you are all-powerful. But you are not.
I am not naive. It won’t be easy to halt your presidential rampage. But that resistance is a lot more real than you are. I believe in its power to grow in strength and numbers, building solidarity across the fault lines. I believe it will prevail.
It annoys me to have to waste my time writing to you at all, so I’ll stop here. I’ve had enough.
I am not “Yours”. I am, in vigorous resistance,
PS: On January 21st, the Women’s March on Washington will take place in protest at your inauguration as commander-in-chief. Women will be there resisting, fighting to protect their right to abortion, to healthcare, to equality and to justice. We’ll be rallying here in Dublin as well in feminist solidarity, fighting our own battle to repeal the Eighth and to gain the right to abortion. Details follow. But you won’t read them.
Ailbhe Smyth is an activist and convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment. The Dublin march starts at noon on Saturday from The Garden of the Remembrance in Dublin.
“Our country does not need a moy, a man in a boy’s body” – Melissa Burch
Dear President Trump,
The Great Council of Grandmothers calls you a moy, a boy in a man’s body. They say, “A man thinks of the common good while a moy has not learned to think of anyone but himself. He has not fully developed and is still a child.”
Our country does not need a moy. Not ever – and especially not now. What our country – and the world – DOES need is a leader who, first and foremost, is a grown-up. Grown-ups who lead with dignity, courage and, above all else concern for other people and the planet.
It must seem powerful and manly to you to brag about sexual harassment, to promote false news that only further hides the truth and, from your raised platform, encourage hateful language and action against different races, LGBTQ, disabled, immigrants and women – especially fat ones.
However, a real man – a real leader – can embrace feminine principles like nurturing and showing respect for all beings; can channel his rage and power into the world’s TRUE atrocities, like war and the devastation of the environment; and believes his most important work is in healing – the planet, the country and our relationships with one another.
A powerful man stands to protect those who need help – without putting parameters on what those people should look like, believe or say to qualify for that help – by putting programs in place that make sure every American has their basic needs met. Their most basic needs. As a human being, can you even imagine the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen to your healthcare, housing, job and/or education because you’ve been elected?
A president, male or female, is the leader who charts the course for our beautiful nation and for the world.
It might feel to you – in your quiet, dark moments, when no one is around and your Twitter app is closed – like a large population of our country and the world is waiting for you to fail. We’re not. We’re wishing for you – I’M wishing for you, President Trump – to grow up and step into the leader who we all so desperately need right now. A man who understands and lives with authenticity, grace and the courage to drop the facade, do some deep healing work and usher in real change. To BE a leader who sees the pain and suffering and charts a course to stop any laws that take away human rights – ones that us Americans have fought for and died for.
If we can see the moy become a man, we can be your advocates and collaborators. We can be your change agents on the ground. We can help create a new path to what our Founding Fathers so desperately wanted for us: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.
We can’t get this wrong. You know that and we know that. So please, find a way within yourself to grow up. Ask the hard questions. Do the hard work. If you can, we’ll find a way to support you.
Be in peace, Melissa Burch
Melissa Burch is an author, teacher and speaker who inspires men and women to develop their own spiritual practice rooted in the teachings of the heroine’s journey.
“It’s disheartening to see detractors on Twitter snark on you about your haircut, skin colour or wife.” – Tanya Sweeney
Dear President Trump,
You and I need to have a talk about something, because seemingly no one else seems brave enough to bring this up with you. Maybe your handlers and new cabinet are secretly enjoying the spectacle too much themselves. Maybe they’re defending your right to free speech. Either way, I can’t believe no one has had a word in your ear about your Twitter feed.
I’ll tell it to you straight: your tweets of late have been an unmitigated embarrassment. Infantile. Mortifying. Cringeworthy. Crass. The work of an angry, out-of-control little man stamping his foot constantly. Let me tell you now, Donald. Being this shouty and thin-skinned isn’t “bigly” presidential.
To tweet about your election opponent “losing big” (despite getting 2.8 million more votes than you), or how Meryl Streep “doesn’t even know me” (as though an invite to Trump Towers is the sole qualifier for having an opinion on you) just isn’t becoming of a president. The bottom line, and everyone on Twitter would do well to remember this, is that no one really cares that much about who you like or don’t like.
I get it: sometimes Twitter keeps me from getting my work done, too, and it was invented so that people can say exactly what’s on their minds. It’s easy to get carried away and get caught up in the sheer theatre of it all. But the difference between you and me is that while I worry that Twitter is a cesspit of outrage brigade foot soldiers, you have somehow found yourself in the position of their great leader.
Many people, seemingly, are looking to you as an example. They’re taking your lead, and when you normalise bombast and tantrums, you make Twitter a less nice place for everyone.
Is this your plan? To provide a steady stream of inadvertently entertaining tweets to detract everyone from the reality that you have no real idea what you’re doing? I mean, what are your ideas on how to move forward with affordable healthcare, abortion access, taxation? Rumour has it that they are ridiculously regressive. Yet it’s hard to get a handle on your plans from your Twitter output.
Is the plan to get irked about citizens like 18-year-old Lauren Batchelder, who told you in October that you’re not a friend to women, and then sit back and watch as the Twitter mob issue death and rape threats to her? To talk about appointing your cabinet as though you’re lording it over American Idol contestants and that “only you know the finalists”, as you did on November 16th? To shout “hashtag fake news” at people who don’t agree with you? To stand by while things like affordable healthcare are repealed in the dead of night, and while everyone is too busy thinking up golden shower puns to tweet?
If so, it’s going to be a very long four years.
You may be used to being your own boss, with varying degrees of success, but this new role of yours has a job spec. When yours is the hand on the rudder of the free world, there is a degree of responsibility involved. There is no room for schoolyard bully-boy carry-on.
To be fair, this harassment cuts both ways, and it’s also disheartening to see detractors snark on you about your haircut, skin colour or wife. When it comes to your appointment, there is so, so much more to get worked up about than any of that.
The problem with Twitter is that it is the wrong format for a nuanced, thought-out argument. It’s too easy to post in the heat of the moment, and these tweets can never be erased. Maybe have another set of eyes look over this stuff before you blast it out into the world. Or better again, stick with tradition and a White House press release.
Or ideally, look into a digital detox. After all, you’ve got work to do.
Tanya Sweeney is a freelance journalist.
“Your rhetoric being rewarded with a presidency made it perfectly okay for people to throw their privilege around like confetti” – Clara Rose Thornton
Dear President Trump,
I was infuriated in the first few days after the announcement of your win, when people in my social world of supposed artists, thinkers and the cultured would make flippant and dismissive jokes regarding you and your presidency. Telling people to calm down their hysterics, and that “this is what we ask for, it’s called democracy”.
The latter was spoken by someone in Ireland with little knowledge of the inner workings of government in MY country, how the electoral college exists – and has always existed – to keep direct democratic power from the people.
Those making these flippant statements were always men and, in each instance but one, white men. Yet supposedly cultured. Supposedly thinkers.
It took a while to understand through the haze of blazing emotion and near-physical injury why these remarks felt so base, so callous, so reeking of privilege and a tragic mental mediocrity.
It’s because people who feel personally offended by your campaign rhetoric’s open attack on the multitude of identities lambasted – that is, any people of colour, women, any person across the nonheterosexual sexual spectrum, the disabled, non-Christians – we, that is, the literal majority of human beings, want to feel it isn’t possible for someone with zero political experience and with a blatantly monstrous platform to ascend to the most powerful political position in the world.
You won on the back of promising to harm us, more than we are harmed every day by the long-held policies and enforced second-class citizenship status upholding the illusion of your privilege to even be able to speak that way.
There isn’t hate on the anti-Trump platform. There is logic and formal education not wanting promises of blatant, violent racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, ableism and authoritarianism to turn America back 200 years, when the progress made is already so fragile.
The crazed, smug, blind coddle of long-held privilege that would allow these people to question, let alone vehemently argue against, someone wanting the same treatment oneself has long been afforded. And doing it so causally, a white man supported, protected, and respected by his government and immediate surroundings. One who doesn’t fear random, insulting slurs thrown at him or having his sexual parts inappropriately, violently grabbed just walking down a street or entering a social space.
Your rhetoric being rewarded with a presidency made it perfectly okay for people to throw their privilege around like confetti. Not even realising how neon it is.
The privileges the speakers of these sentiments receive on sight, despite potentially being lesser in intelligence, lesser in education, lesser in objective deservability than the same individual with more of a sun-protectant chemical in the skin called melanin, or those ironically holding the ability to incubate and propagate the human species.
You and your ilk, President Trump, have no understanding of how that battle feels every day, and why we might need the occasional break, the so-called and often maligned “safe space” as a haven from encouraged verbal and physical assault, to collude and share those experiences with those experiencing the same. And there are billions of us who are sick and tired of your pathetic judgement.
Everyone will behold. As the reckoning has just begun.
Clara Rose Thornton
Clara Rose Thornton is an American spoken word artist living in Dublin.