Congratulations, Mr. Trump

Although I didn’t vote for you, I will give you the opportunity to win some limited support.

President-Elect Trump,

I did not vote for you.

I had deep concerns about many of your platforms when running for office.

I don’t want to build a wall.

I don’t want to start mass deportations.

I don’t want to regulate immigration on the basis of religion.

I don’t want national stop and frisk.

I don’t want to cut the protection of a free press.

I don’t want more involvement in overseas conflict.

I don’t want women, minorities, and LGBTQ people to lose hard fought civil rights protections.

I don’t want people to lose health care insurance.

I don’t want sexual harassment to be acceptable.

I don’t want you to try to be a moral compass for me or my family.

I don’t think you’ll be able to meet any of the above concerns. This is why I didn’t vote for you.

Although I didn’t vote for you, I will give you the opportunity to win some limited support.

  1. I need a strong economy where I can keep working to support my family.
  2. I need a stable marketplace where I can afford housing, food, clothing, and make sensible investments for my family’s future.
  3. I need a healthy public education system for all children to learn, find opportunities, and become effective adults.
  4. I need affordable health care solutions, so when the unexpected happens, it doesn’t wipe out our finances.
  5. I need equal protection and treatment under law, or else none of what I work for is secure.

These five needs are what it would take for me to say you did a good job for me, but not for everyone. The first four were talking points in your own campaign. While not all encompassing, I think if you hit these five points, you will meet the needs of the vast majority of Americans.

I don’t encourage you to meet the needs of the majority at the expense of the minority.

I expect you to rise to the role of President in more than title.

I expect you to show compassion and help the poor.

I expect you to show respect to all Americans, even those who disagree with you.

I expect you to allow others their dignity.

I expect you to be in this for all the American people, and not just for yourself.

I hope you surprise me.

For the sake of all, I hope you prove me and everyone who did not vote for you wrong. I hope you will be a great President, that you will be a great leader for our country.

Congratulations on your election.

Sincerely,

Alex Cox, San Jose, CA

Election Day Eve

Tomorrow is the election. I will wake up early, get down to the local fire station, and vote.

My family did not always have this right.

My grandfather used to carry me to his polling place in the basement of the courthouse early on Election Day. He would bring me into the voting booth with him, pulling this big lever across the front of the machine to close the curtains behind us. Lifting me up, he would tell me which switches to pull down to vote for his chosen candidates. He would explain his selections before pulling that big lever again to cast his ballot and open the curtains to the machine.

img_7011What happened within those curtains on those voting machines in Virginia was magical. I looked forward to the day when I would be big enough to pull the lever and informed enough to know which switches to pull down for candidates on my own.

California does a paper ballot that seems archaic to even the machines my grandfather voted on when I was a kid. Voting in the primary was an odd, but comforting experience, placing my ballot in a box rather than initiating my vote by pulling a lever on a machine.

However you vote, it is important that all the votes get counted, that all voices get heard. Take your time, complete the form, and make sure your vote counts.

No matter what happens tomorrow, our nation will keep on. We are more than any single elected official. Media overemphasizes the importance of any single individual on the outcome of the whole. It is easy to get out of perspective.

I wrote a few months ago that I won’t fear a Trump presidency. It is as true on the eve of the election as it was months ago. If Trump wins, I will wake up Wednesday morning the same, go about my life and my day the same, and believe the same things as I did the day before.

Regardless of who wins, I hope there is a move toward reconciliation among the American people. Our polarization cannot stand.

Fear and a Trump Presidency

This is a series of tweets I wrote toward the end of Donald Trump’s GOP Convention Nomination Acceptance Speech I wish to share. 

It’s easy to feel fear. It’s natural, it’s human. What you do with that fear helps define you as a person.

You can let fear turn you mean and cruel. Fear can make you close out others in distrust.

I think fear can be used to motivate yourself and inspire others to be better. To help make the world less fearful.

In the face of fear, I like to smile. I own my fear, and don’t let it control me. Smiling breaks fear’s power for me. 

I’m not going to fear a Trump presidency. I’m going to do all I can to help others to rise above their fear, grinning the whole way. 

No matter what happens, no matter the worst, I’m not going to let that son of a bitch take my smile from me. 

On Political Correctness.

Let’s talk about political correctness a moment. 

I’m seeing a lot of posts and comments with the repeat phrase “why do we have to be so politically correct?” My answer to that is without practicing political correctness, people have time and again disregarded the dignity of others. Usually those others are more vulnerable, less fortunate, and have less agency than those making the non-PC statements. 

Granted, being politically correct doesn’t mean the heart underneath is good, just as being politically incorrect doesn’t mean you are a bad person. However, working to improve the experience of others by thinking carefully about the words and phrases we choose is a good thing.

So the next time you think about throwing out political correctness for the sake of expediency, consider your message. Do you want people from other groups to consider your idea with an open mind? Are you trying to convince others of a concept which would require sacrifice or a consideration against their own self-interest? Odds are you would receive a better response thinking critically about how others would respond to the words you choose, and how you would want them to select words wisely for you. 

In the end, taking a moment to treat others with dignity is always a better option.