Dear President Obama, Electors and People of the United States of America,
When I was a little girl, a judge under the Clinton Administration granted my family and I political asylum in the United States of America. We fled Croatia, former Yugoslavia, in an effort to escape war. Some people we know came to the US by way of a refugee program. Some, like myself, were originally illegal, overstaying tourist visas. Pending deportation to a country torn apart by war, the Clinton Administration offered us a home in this beautiful country where we were treated with respect and dignity. In September of 2012, after I had graduated grade school, high school and college, I happily became a citizen of the United States of America. I voted for President Barack Obama with great pride. I was so happy.
Like everyone else, I had the privilege of watching several elections in the United States of America. I watched educated, poised, respectful individuals run for political office. It was always perfectly acceptable if a Republican or Democrat won an election. While there were always differences in agenda, it didn’t matter who won in the grand scheme of things, we always knew that the candidate had our best interests at heart. We didn’t fear for our safety as we do now. We didn’t fear our rights to marry, to obtain abortions or birth control. We didn’t fear our rights to free speech, our access to affordable education. We were concerned, as we should be, but we were not afraid. We didn’t go to bed wondering if Russia or ISIS would bomb us in our sleep. We generally felt safe in the hands of our President. We conceded when the time came, offered congratulations. The differences between the candidates mattered but whether or not they cared for the American people never came into question. The candidates would debate things like foreign-policy, domestic policy, Social Security, women’s rights, to name a few. This election is not like anything we’ve ever seen. Instead of a respectful election, a candidate defended her email habits while the other candidate degraded women, claimed that gay rights are not human rights, attacked people with disabilities, attacked our current President, threatened lawsuits, deportation, boasted about assaulting women, denied the reality of climate change and encouraged violence and racism amongst his supporters.
The American people spoke and the majority of Americans who voted, voted for Hillary Clinton. We voted for her because we believe she has what it takes to keep us safe. We believe she will fight for working families, for people with special needs, for students, for single mothers and single fathers. We believe she has the very best intentions for the American people. During the election she kept calm and treated this election with the respect and dignity the founding fathers would be proud of. When Donald Trump went low, she went high (First Lady Michelle Obama). When she was accused many times over regarding her email habits, she respectfully responded to accusations, she answered the American people. She didn’t run. She didn’t cry. She didn’t threaten to sue anyone or put anyone in jail. While Trump proved to be an incredibly racist and sexist creature, she still treated his campaign with respect. She didn’t need to. He didn’t deserve it. Instead of having the opportunity to run against an educated, respectful opponent, she ran against the most disrespectful, misogynistic man in the entire country. And she did it with class while Trump got his Twitter account taken away from him. The American people voted for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States, by majority.
I don’t have the confidence of some to say that the Electoral College needs to be abolished. We have seen what a cult following can do to a country. If a cult following results in a majority vote, we’d be begging for the reinstatement of the Electoral College. The Constitution gives Electors the power to make the decision they feel is best. The electoral college has a duty to the American people to uphold the Constitution. The Electoral College was created to ensure that the American People are protected. I believe the Electoral College has a fundamental duty to keep Donald Trump out of the White House. I believe the Electors know this. I have the outmost faith in them. I don’t see them as divided Democrats and Republicans, I see them as individuals with families, and friends who love them and appreciate them. I know they’ve heard Trump speak. I know they have seen the ugly that has been inspired amongst the American People. I know that they are aware of the differences between good and evil. I believe they are conscious of the terrifying magnitude of a Trump Presidency. I know their friends and family are also counting on them to do the right thing. I know they are good people. I know they aren’t afraid to cross party lines for the well being of this country. I believe they will make the right decision to keep Trump out of the White House. Because they know the kind of message they are sending to the citizens of this country if they don’t.
The message that would deliver to people of this beautiful country is that you can say whatever you want and still become President. That you don’t need to be respectful. That you don’t need to value education. That you don’t need to respect the employees of your company. That you don’t need to pay taxes. The message that it would send to women is that rape is okay, assault is okay, and you could still become President. Earlier this year we had Brock Turner take the stage as a rapist who didn’t receive proper punishment. Now, we also have Trump. The message it would send to children, teenagers, young adults is that men may treat women however they like, as bad as they like and they won’t go to jail and they can still become President. That they can threaten women to fear speaking up. The message it would send is that we do not punish sexual assault, we do not punish racism, we do not punish bigotry, we do not punish death threats. The message it would send is that all of these things are perfectly fine and you could still be President of the United States of America.
We already see the aftershock of this election in schools and communities across the country. In Royal Oak, kids screamed “BUILD A WALL” at a Hispanic student. The KKK is planning a victory march for Trump. Women have had their hijab ripped off their heads. Swastikas have been drawn on people’s cars, on public walls. A gay man was beaten. Facebook is filled with posts of hate. People are being antagonized on public transit. Civil unrest has begun and this is only the beginning. Protests will become more and more intense, exhibitions of hate will become more and more prominent.
This is not the America that I know. We are heartbroken. We are furious. We are protesting. We are talking. We are educating. We are trying. We are really trying to believe that the good in this country is still here. We are trying so hard to protect and honor President Obama’s legacy. It would be the greatest insult to President Obama, his family and the American people to allow for a Donald Trump Presidency. Donald Trump is a threat to national and foreign security. He doesn’t possess any political experience, any record of public service or temperament awarding him proper judgement to handle being the keeper of nuclear codes. His blatant racism is a threat to multi-racial citizens of the United States of America. When a potential President inspires the rebirth of the KKK, you know we have a serious problem. When a potential President has Vladimir Putin on his side, you know we have a serious problem. I never feared that he would even come close to accomplishing things like a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I never felt he could actually build a wall. I don’t think that Trump as President. would accomplish anything he promised during his campaign. What does concern me, aside from the message we deliver by allowing him into the White House, is his inability to respect people of different cultures, his racism and his attacks on people all over the world. This proves to be a threat for national security. If the American people feel a foreign threat on account of Trump, the economy will suffer greatly.
We the people are counting on the Electoral College to do their part to preserve our rights, our dignity and our democracy.
Julijana M. Tkalec