Dear America … on behalf of millions of others just like me I want to offer an apology.
I am sorry that the president of the United States couldn’t bring himself to say something worthy of the birthday you just celebrated.
Donald Trump stood before Mount Rushmore and then stood on the South Lawn of the White House and delivered two unforgettable speeches. We won’t remember them for the soaring rhetoric they should have contained. We will remember them for the raw anger, the division, the rage they planted.
This isn’t the way presidents usually commemorate your founding, but you knew that already. Presidents most commonly speak to our better angels, appealing to our sense of commonality, our quest to create a “more perfect Union.”
The Donald didn’t do that. He talked about angry mobs, the taking down of statues that “honor” traitors to the nation, generals who fought to overthrow the United States of America. He said those statues are part of “our history.” You bet they are. It is a history full of hate, of oppression, of enslavement of human beings. Donald Trump wants to preserve those monuments, keep them standing in public places. He is angry at those of us — fellow citizens — who protest them.
So he talked at length about that and about made-up assertions of the motives behind the demonstrations we have seen.
I am sorry he didn’t mention except in passing the pandemic that has afflicted so many thousands of American families. It has caused untold grief and misery. It has placed insurmountable burdens on heroic medical personnel. These Americans deserve our eternal gratitude but Trump didn’t see fit to offer it to them.
So, please accept my belated birthday wish along with this sincere hope for you, the nation I love with all my heart and the nation for which I went to war.
My hope is that we can deliver you a gift worthy of all that you represent. It would come in the form of a new president who is able to speak openly to our sense of decency and to, as Joe Biden has said, “restore our soul.”
America, I am forever grateful to have been born in this land. I pledge to do all I can to deliver this gift that you so richly deserve.
Here’s hoping for brighter days ahead.