You may be surprised to hear this from me, given how much I’ve written in protest against your behavior and policies, but I’m going to miss you when you’re gone. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably have a hard time containing my glee when you step out of the White House for the final time. But a selfish part of me, down deep inside, will miss you. You see, in a very round-about and bizarre way, you’ve made me a better person. I also believe that, in an equally twisted and peculiar way, when the dust settles, you will have left this nation better than you found it. Some of my fellow progressive resisters may be bristling at that statement, wondering if I’ve gone right off my trolley, but hear me out.
Mr. Trump, thanks to you, I am no longer silent. During your initial presidential campaign, from the moment you named Mike Pence as your running mate, I got off my ass and started singing like a bird. I’d always been the type to try to keep my political leanings private. Living in the red state of Indiana, many of my friends and acquaintances are much more conservative than me. I didn’t used to want to rock the boat. But when you selected Pence, I immediately saw the writing on the wall. I saw and experienced what Mike Pence did to my home state as governor. I saw his rampant, ignorant homophobia drive convention business away from Indiana. I saw my city, Indianapolis–a blue island in a sea of Hoosier red–rally together to condemn Pence’s hateful anti-LGBT agenda while most of the rest of the state applauded. I saw hundreds of Indianapolis business owners post signs proclaiming all are welcome here. I saw our city’s mayor make a public announcement proclaiming that Indiana’s capital city did not approve of the governor’s bigotry. I watched Pence follow the lead of his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, and continue the attack on public education in the Hoosier state. When I watched your announcement that Pence was joining your ticket, I was motivated to speak out. I knew why you were doing it. You wisely understood that Pence would appeal to the right wing Christian voters and you knew you needed them desperately. You figured out early on that the Electoral College was automatically stacked in your favor. You pushed all the right buttons with that move, but you also pushed my buttons. So, on 7/16/16, I wrote and published my first political article on what was then my own little personal blog. The response to that piece was overwhelming and caught me completely off guard. It was shared thousands of times on social media and read by, at last count, close to 100,000 people. Once the cork was out of the bottle, my political genie got to work. Before long, I had sold my little personal blog to Patheos and I’ve been writing about you for over three years now. I thank you for emboldening me to take a public stand. It hasn’t been easy, but it has certainly been fulfilling.I also want to thank you, Donald, for lighting a fire under millions of Christians, like myself, who could no longer identify with the viral politics that run through the veins of our churches. Surfing out in front of the political tsunami your presidency created are a growing legion of progressive Christians who are actively fighting the good fight to seize back the true message of Christ from the right wing Christian narrative. I am only a small contributor to the community of progressive Christian writers. I am proud to have been able to add my voice and stand shoulder to shoulder, even in my small way, with passionate and brave men and women like John Pavolvitz, Benjamin Corey, Chris Kratzer, Susan Cottrell, Mark Sandlin, Erin Wathen, Keith Giles, Kimberly Stover, Vance Morgan, the late Rachel Held Evans, and many others. This is what I mean when I say that, in a weird way, I’m going to miss you when you’re gone. It’s going to be strange not having you to write about. But don’t worry about it, I’ll get over it.
The phenomenon of people rising up to lead in resistance to you, Mr. Trump, has spread far beyond the religious realm. You’ve ignited a flame in the hearts of millions of young people in this country and around the globe. They rightly see you as an imminent threat to their futures. They are organizing and mobilizing in a way that can and will change the world for the better. In your attempts to turn back the clock and undo decades of progress, you’ve actually set in motion a world-wide campaign to bypass your efforts and reclaim the responsibility of being good stewards of the earth. The 16-year-old Swedish girl with autism, Greta Thunberg–the heroine you and your followers openly mock–has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people around the world. She stands boldly before you and the other leaders of the world and calls you out for your actions and inactions regarding the environment and climate change. She is amassing a legion of followers, young and old, who are refusing to sit back and let it happen. This is an example of what I mean when I say you might actually leave us better off than you found us. Thank you for that.
There are two ways to lead and effect change. You can be an inspirational leader that people want to follow, or you can lead in such a way that inspires people to resist and overcome you. You have chosen the latter. It’s not pleasant, but it’s effective.
It’s going to be as strange to watch you go as it was to watch you emerge. You are, by all measures, a unique cat. It’s going to be quite satisfying to watch you go, but I’m going to miss you.
I eagerly look forward to missing you.
Here’s a little song I wrote to see you off…
Race To the Bottom