A Middle of the Road Democrat's Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump

oval-officeDear Mr. Trump,

Congratulations. Over 59 million people chose you to be this nation's leader for the next four years. A virtually equal number cast their ballot for Secretary Clinton but it was your vision that spoke more loudly across the country, and the presidency is yours. That's President of the United States. You will be the 12th President in my life time, but the first one that I have been moved to write to personally.

Your supporters will expect a lot from you. Your slogan "Make America Great Again" struck a responsive chord. My life has been pretty great so far without you, but I have no problem with the slogan if we can just tweak it a bit to read "Make American Great Again for Everybody."

You have made some pretty big promises,. You have spoken of walls and mass deportations. I don't know if you really believe in those things, but many of your supporters do. Maybe you can convince your constituency that the wall was a symbol, a bit of election rhetoric, and that there are reasonable ways to accomplish your goals of lawful immigration and secure borders.

You have stirred people to your side with a promise to bring back jobs. That is a noble goal, and I hope you are successful. But it is not a simple goal, you cannot wave a magic wand and bring back steel mills, bring back factories. Convince your followers that the nation's  investment in education and training is the long term solution, and that we can provide support for them in the interim. Don't let them find scapegoats. Don't let the brutish minority of your supporters take prominence, don't become an administration of haters.

You will have a lasting legacy via your Supreme Court nominations. I know that your choices will have a conservative bent, but I pray you see fit to name those who will not trample on the hard fought for rights of our women, our minorities, our LGBT family and friends. We are a better nation when all of our people are established as  full citizens, entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Your biggest challenge may be setting how the country interacts with world. Where to support our allies, where to intervene, where to turn away. We live in a very inter-related time; when a butterfly flaps its wings in China we truly do feel it here. It is not an "I win-You lose" world.  If there is an element of Radical Islam that wants to destroy us it must be corralled and defeated, but the entire world of Islam is not our enemy. Other aggressors must also be contained, no matter  who their rulers are friends with.

I am both a producer and user of healthcare. I know the ACA and MACRA have many failings. But make sure what you replace them with makes our nation healthier. There are wonderful therapeutics being developed, but they are extremely expensive. Let's look at what we can save with some emphasis on preventive care too.

The issue that the entire election ignored was climate change. It is not a hoax. There is no point in pretending it is. Barring a nuclear war (you won't do that, will you?) it is the greatest threat to our civilization. Use your business man's ingenuity to connect with the industries that can develop the energy of the future. Make America an exporter of that technology. Don't just make America great, make it create--create the ideas of the rest of this century. Future generations will celebrate you for it.

I didn't vote for you, but on January 2017 you will become my President. Please do these things for me, and for 300 million other Americans.

Lester J. Raff, MD
Son of Immigrants
Father and Grandfather to the Future

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