Lead Us

Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

Dear Us,

The first time I opened a news browser and saw that people had declared their candidacy for president in 2020, I cringed.

This is going to be so ugly.

People are angry with Donald Trump. I don’t just mean like that guy who honks his horn at you when you haven’t gone at the red light .04 seconds after it turns green. No, I mean that guy who thinks you drive a car just like his ex and so he cuts you off in traffic, secretly hoping you swerve and die.

People are angry to the point of holding murder in their hearts.

And the president is not helping. He’s like Sawyer from Lost without all of the likability.

With that said, here is my request among my people.

  1. Enough with the Schadenfreude . I watched with glee as 45 took over the White House, answering his critics with a steel fist and a fiery Twitter account. I laughed as he termed most news sources who spent between 80 and 90 percent of their coverage of him in a negative light as “fake news.” I felt defended. Schadenfreude is literally translated as “pain joy.” It means a situation that stings someone that makes us happy. When the president does things that demean people’s dignity and we cheer him, he keeps doing it. If we stop feeding his ego, he’ll stop.
  2. I have dignity. As a white, protestant, middle class, college educated, veteran, cisgender, straight man who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, I am the poster child of human rights abuse in America. I am a lightning rod of the anger of the intersectional coalitions. And yet, in a moment of passionate discourse on the internet, my feelings are no less and no more brittle than those you insist for yourself.
  3. Fill your social media with yourself, not your politics. And I will allow that for some people, that actually is their identity. If you are my friend on social media and your identity is American politics, I will unfriend you and hope we see each other in person again some day. I’m not saying that I don’t want to see political posts. But the reason we are connected through SM is so I can have a glimpse into your life and you into mine. I want to know how your family is, what direction your life goes, what cat videos you think are funny, and what your children think about broccoli.

To the Democratic candidates for President. I voted for Donald Trump in the last election cycle but he has since lost my vote with his personality.

  1. Don’t spend your time telling me what’s wrong. I have four children. They will outdo you with a fraction of the expense of words, time, and money. Tell me what dreams you have for this country and then tell me how we are going to get there together.
  2. Don’t solve problems by blaming people. Solve problems by including people as the cure to struggle. Include all people… as many as you can find. Don’t include people because they check off intersectional boxes. Include them because their passions will fuel change.
  3. Stop using victimhood to create your coalitions. Create coalitions of people set free from shame and hardship. Victims always have victimizers, and people in my category of human are constantly attacked for something they may have done, but contributed to with their very existence.

To the President of the United States. Sir, I voted for you in 2016, but have not committed to do so next year. You can earn my vote back, but you have to commit to a few ideas.

  1. Make Yourself Great Again. You have become bitter and angry. You lead with anger and flavor your communication with your critics with stinging bitterness. I cannot possibly understand what life is like with as much opposition as you have had to endure.
  2. Stop attacking your opponents. We don’t need anymore nicknames for people who we mostly agree are icky politicians and therefore a little corrupt.
  3. Walk away from twitter.

We are about to elect a new leader, but so many people have wrapped the truths about their own existence into the process. People have lost hours upon hours of sleep because of Trump’s victory in 2016. Their whole world shattered in rage and disappointment. Someone’s preference will lose this year. We are voting on an administrator with exceptional influence.

But we are also voting on someone to serve. Please, let us choose someone to serve well. We want our leader to look at the whole nation and discern where we must go as a people, even if it flies in the face of what they prefer. Leadership does not exist to evince your own personal will. Leadership and all of its empowerment is a selfless call to serve the needs and realities of the people within your care. It will invariably suffer when you insist upon your won way and not the way forward.

Some days, we can wake up and lead our people on the path that our feet have always wanted to walk. Life is a dream. It is bucket-list material.

Other days, we wake and realize that we must walk a mile in shoes that are not our preference, style, or weight. But it is what is required to lead our people and we do that because it is our solemn duty.

It is not about you.

It is about us. All of us. Right now. Together.

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