My third weekly political letter since Donald Trump's election.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
28 November 2016
Thank you for your service through the past eight years. I appreciate your hard work and good will. Sadly, I can't say I feel you're leaving us in good shape. I've been let down by many of your actions and failures to act, especially on climate change, war, and the rule of law. With this year's election results, my fears on all those fronts have deepened. I ask that you use your last several weeks in office to correct course as much as possible.
You haven't spoken to us like adults about climate change. You've talked and acted as if we can grow our way out of the problem, proposing to use "all of the above" for energy, including coal, oil, and nuclear power. We can't use all that and expect a habitable planet in a hundred years. We'll somehow have to use less.
I was thrilled when you took office saying you were against "dumb wars." Since then I've watched us bomb people steadily, with no end in sight and no serious conversation about how to stop. Bombing is a stupid waste and a horror. Let's stop.
I'm sad and disgusted to think that we imprison more people than any country in the world, yet fail to prosecute clear public crimes of fraud, torture, and invasion. When you said we should "look forward, not back" at US war crimes, I lost trust in the rule of law. As I understand it, the rule of law means that laws apply equally to all, regardless of position. Free the prisoners and let them vote, or imprison the torturers.
You're still president, and you're an excellent speaker. Give us a few speeches before you leave office. We would listen. Please tell us how we might credibly handle the long climate emergency. Offer us a plan for how to stop bombing people, and how to use our technology more constructively. Speak about the rule of law, and how we could still use laws for justice and freedom.
You're in a unique historical position. Think of the energy that elected you in 2008, of the support Bernie Sanders recently enjoys, and of the general mood of apprehension-- if you spoke strongly now, you could channel a lot of authority. I think we could take it from there. We shouldn't waste time. If you want a venue for the first speech, I can offer our next gallery reception at The Front.* It's at 6 Barre St. in Montpelier, Vermont; the reception's this Friday, December 2nd from 4-8 PM. We'd be happy and surprised to host your speech.
Glen Coburn Hutcheson
*The Front isn't a political organization but simply a cooperative gallery. Its members don't necessarily agree with this letter, which is entirely mine.