An open letter to former President Trump and his supporters [column] | Local voices
Mr. Outgoing President,
Have you no conscience? Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died on your watch as you deny the seriousness of COVID-19 or talk about ridiculous “cures”, such as using disinfectants inside the body. It is inadmissible that you make little effort to demand well-known life-saving protective measures like masks and social distancing, and that you mock or ignore the medical experts in your administration who could have helped us.
During the polio epidemic, a president who trusted science and the polio vaccine did not confuse, divide or let people die for his own political aggrandizement. In 1946, President Harry Truman said from the White House: “The fight against (polio) cannot be a local war. It must be national. It must be an all-out war in every city, town, and village in the land. Because only with a united front can we ever hope to win a war.
So children in splints and iron lungs are a thing of the past, unlike the preventable pandemic we continue to endure — or die from.
In my area, construction signs said: “We support our police”. They are often associated with the signs of Donald Trump. But it was you who sat and watched television coverage of the US Capitol police being brutally beaten by a violent mob carrying Trump signs, neo-Nazi flags and Confederate flags. These people were the angry mob you lied to, spurred on by your cry earlier that day of “Fight like hell!” Several of these policemen later died by suicide, and many more are wracked with the mental and physical pain of the insurgency.
Today, we continue to face the rage of the followers you spawned, as they refuse to wear the masks or get the shots that would protect them and their neighbors from an avoidably prolonged pandemic. This angry and lying group of followers litters and threatens teachers, school administrators and school board members who are valiantly trying to keep our children safe, healthy and in their classrooms.
Is this vitriol and this division in the service of something other than your ego? And is lying about losing an election worth trampling on the rule of law, abusing our fragile democracy, and showing contempt for those injured or killed in the process?
How many of your supporters really want a dictatorship rather than a democracy? How many want an ego-driven dictator who stands by and lets his people die for his endgame?
We need you to tell the followers you have spawned to stand down and graciously accept your defeat. Tell them to stop making fun of mask wearing or other public health measures that can save lives and finally end this ongoing pandemic.
Surely you don’t want to go down in history as the twice impeached instigator of national distrust who considered using national security agencies (even the military?) to seize voting machines and overrule a free and fair election?
I have five children and eight grandchildren for whom I wish the best democratic future. And I want the same for other people’s children and grandchildren. I want all of our citizens to have hope and a vision of the unified, compassionate democracy that so many heroic and selfless people have fought and died for.
We can all find many ways to come together and better rebuild what we all value and hold dear. When truth is restored, trust will follow and unity can be rebuilt.
Now is the time to answer the call to unite for our democracy and focus on what we can each do together. Even our toughest problems, from COVID-19 to family poverty, to housing, to caring for Mother Earth, can be solved through our collaborative and cooperative action.
Mr. Past President, we need you to answer the call, speak the truth to your supporters, and build a legacy that you – and we – can be proud of.
Jill Sunday Bartoli resides in Carlisle, Cumberland County and taught at Elizabethtown College for 20 years.
This column briefly mentions suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, contact the following organizations:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, suicidepreventionlifeline.org, 800-273-8255.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through TTY at 800-799-4889.
Lancaster Crisis Intervention, 717-394-2631.