Dear 45

(Aka guy in the White House),

I’m writing to sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude. Thank you for getting elected. In all of my years on this earth, I have truly never felt more grateful for a President.

My entire life has been a privilege- access to incredible institutions and teachers, decent health care (ok the health care situation has always been dismal but we all know this), shelter, food, etc. etc. I was born at a time and in a geographical location where I had the freedom to work, to vote, to love, to travel, to choose my beliefs and to openly express them.

And then you came along. And you woke me up to things that I didn’t know really mattered, to the things I’d been in denial about. You removed my blinders.

Before you, I took for grated all of the rights and freedoms and privileges I was afforded. For example, I hadn’t TRULY considered all of the women who marched for my rights, who were imprisoned or beaten or shamed, so that I could vote without struggle, choose what to do with my body, have a chance at equal pay and employment. So that my voice could be heard. Can you believe that?

It took YOU to inspire thoughtful reflection. To inspire real gratitude. To inspire action.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Before you, I’d experienced the discrimination that comes with being a woman; unequal pay, sexual harassment, etc. (what woman hasn’t?) but I told myself it wasn’t that bad. I assumed there wasn’t any real or lasting action I could take that would make a difference. I was afraid of being thought a “feminist”- a word I didn’t really understand or know how to define (perhaps because I’d only heard it defined by people who wanted me to believe it was bad, wrong, or just a bunch of angry lesbians).

But then you came along, and showed me that settling for anything less than equal rights is an atrocity.

You helped me uncover my own definition of feminism- by discovering women like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who writes,

“Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general — but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”

There is so much wisdom circulating now that you’ve been elected.

Including this wise advice from the daughter of Daughter of MLK & Coretta Scott King, about what to do and how to handle your new position:

1. Don’t use his name; EVER (45 will do)
2. Remember this is a regime and he’s not acting alone;
3. Do not argue with those who support him — it doesn’t work;
4. Focus on his policies, not his orange-ness and mental state;
5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow;
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk;
7. Support artists and the arts;
8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it;
9. Take care of yourselves; and
10. Resist!

Keep demonstrations peaceful.

In the words of John Lennon, “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you — pull your beard, flick your face — to make you fight! Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.”

When you post or talk about him, don’t assign his actions to him, assign them to “The Republican Administration,” or “The Republicans.”

This will have several effects: the Republican legislators will either have to take responsibility for their association with him or stand up for what some of them don’t like; he will not get the focus of attention he craves; Republican representatives will become very concerned about their re-elections.”

Pretty cool, huh, 45?

Because of you, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing so many people in action, people I never knew cared about politics. It’s exhilarating.

Some people see you as the enemy. The grim reaper. The prince of darkness.

I see you as the light bearer, the man who, in one fell swoop, shined a giant flashlight on the places and people that needed the most help, the most love, the most resources, the most education.

You, with all of your masks and falsities and biases, and prejudices and denial, YOU woke me up to my own denial. To my own falsity. To my own bias and mask.

You held a mirror up to my own complacency.

You, the guy who thought it was ok to grab women by the pussy, inspired this pussy to ACT.

You unleashed something fierce. You activated a thirst for more knowledge, for deeper understanding, for greater positive impact, across so many issues and policies, with a passion and verve I’ve never experienced.

You inspire me to read, to stand up for women’s rights and human rights, to stick up for the under dogs, to think even more mindfully, to love even harder, to promote peaceful action and thoughtful movements that protect the rights of the American people and all people, to protect my freedom of speech, to support my right to choose re: my own body, to protect our precious environment.

You inspire me to look at how we educate ourselves and our children- and to take action educating the people who need it most- all of us-ME.

You inspire me to call congress. Everyday! For the first time in my adult life, I know who some of my representatives are! And I’m looking forward to knowing who all of them are and what they stand for throughout your presidency and even after you’re impeached.

I now make monthly, debited donations to Planned Parenthood! Because of you!

You see, before you, I assumed this was taken care of for me. I hadn’t yet really, truly, woken up to the fact that my freedom is MY responsibility. That my rights are up to me. That I can, and will, fight for what is just, right, and beautiful about this great nation.

I’ve never felt more inspired. I’ve never felt more alive. I’ve never cared so deeply. Until now.

So THANK YOU, 45. Thank you.

Onwards,

Sarah Hanner

PS: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead