Letters to an unfit president

See Disclaimer. A sixth letter was added to this series on September 26, 2020 (see full list at the bottom of the article).

From now through inauguration day, next January, I plan to publish a series of open letters to President Trump. Most urgently, I want to make a case against his re-election. But I also want to chronicle our times, in the voice of an independent voter who is shocked by the precipitous fall of important American values, but hopeful that we will collectively return to a better path.

In building my case against Mr. Trump’s re-election, I plan to address principles, facts and issues of interest to a broad audience. I don’t know whether anyone who reads my letters will be swayed by them. But I will certainly make the effort to change minds, among those considering voting for Mr. Trump, not voting, or voting write-in or third party.

Like so many other Americans, across the political spectrum, I believe that the danger posed by this president is clear and real. I believe that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the right choice at this time. I also believe that every vote counts. If my arguments resonate with you—the reader,—please consider sharing my letters as broadly as you see fit.

A decade from now, I hope this chronicle will be a modest reminder of the wisdom and resilience of the American People in coming together—at this rather dark hour in our History—to vote for change. To vote not along party lines, but rather in defense of decency, shared values and respect for our differences. To vote for an opportunity to have a mature dialogue on the many challenges that we face as a nation and society—and to come together to find the solutions they require. To vote for a sustainable future, one that our children and grandchildren—and theirs—can enjoy and thrive on.

Even if Mr. Trump prevails, though, I hope that these letters will retain some documentary value. What lessons they might carry, and to whom, I cannot foretell. But I predict that they would be read in a country and world with much less hope, much less opportunity and equality, and much less prospect for sustainability.

Whatever happens this November, future generations have the right to question our electoral choice in 2016, and, more broadly, how we let partisanship and intolerance threaten the very fundamentals of our nation. Moreover, they deserve an understanding of this period both through the objective lens of professional historians, and through family lore that reflects their ascendant’s beliefs, perspectives and biases.

Perhaps my grandchildren, or their progeny, will at some point have the opportunity and curiosity to read my letters, as a time capsule of sorts. If so, I hope that they will learn where I stood, in first voice and without ambiguity. Whatever political system they might live in, and political preferences they might have, it would be my privilege if they found in what I write an incentive to live true to their consciences

— Antonio Baptista

List of letters (to be updated with each new publication):

  • Mr. President: Please resign, August 29, 2020. Mr. Trump is, of course, unlikely to resign. But the reasons why he should are good reminders that the November elections are critical, and a vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is essential.
  • This violence is on you, Mr. President, September 1, 2020. No, Joe Biden’s America will not be lawless. But Donald Trump’s America is dangerously violent. And that violence is undeniably on the president.
  • “Stay calm, carry on,” Mr. President ?!?, September 11, 2020. This Administration’s attempt at re-writing history on its COVID-19 response cannot go unchecked. Back in January, we needed a real leader in the White House. Instead, we had Mr. Trump.
  • Science knows, Mr. President. So will our grandkids, September 17, 2020. When I consider my actions and their impacts on climate change, I have my grandkids in mind. Shouldn’t the US president–a grandfather himself–do the same?
  • A line too far, Mr. President, September 24, 2020. A president attacking the integrity of our electoral system is unprecedented, and profoundly wrong. A Joe Biden’s landslide victory, this November, is essential to protect our democracy. As voters, it is within our power to give Mr. Biden that victory. 
  • Beyond smoke and mirrors, Mr. President, September 26, 2020. Where the president tries to project strength, I see weakness with devastating consequences for our country. It is past time for a change, and to strongly support Mr. Biden.


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