Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hank Sanders: An open letter to Donald Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:

  I write out of a piercing pain and a searing sorrow. I write in spite of little hope this letter will make a difference with you. I write because you are the presumptive presidential nominee of a major political party. Most of all, I write because I can do no less as a man, as a father of daughters by birth and foster relationship, and as a grandfather of seven granddaughters by birth and more by foster relationship. I am making this an open letter in the hope that it will make a difference with others as well as with you.  

  Mr. Trump, I respect you even though you show little respect for so many others: women, Hispanics, Muslims, African Americans, the poor, those with handicaps, etc. It is far too much to address all these groups in this one letter. Therefore, I want to focus on women, just one of the many groups for which you demonstrate a profound lack of respect.
  Mr. Trump, you said of Secretary Clinton, “The only card she has is the woman’s card. She’s got nothing else going.” You repeated, “The only card she has going for her is the woman’s card.” You also said, “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote.” There are many other statements, some of which I will touch on later. As a man, husband, father and grandfather, I write out of a deep pain and a strong sense of sorrow.

  Mr. Trump, let me say that I am as much of a man as you are. However, as a man, I am very embarrassed by you. I am also embarrassed for all of us as men. I am so terribly embarrassed because you are brazenly playing the “man card” while wrongly accusing Secretary Clinton of playing the “woman card.” You must know this country was officially formed 227 years ago. During that time, we elected 44 individuals as president and not one was a woman. We have had 57 presidential elections with well over a hundred major party nominees, and not one woman was nominated. This is conclusive evidence that we have been playing the “man card” over and over again for more than two centuries. Now with one woman on the verge of being nominated for president by a major political party, you accuse that one woman of playing the “woman card.” I am baffled by your gall and dismayed by your hypocrisy.

  Mr. Trump, more women than men are registered to vote in these United States of America. More women than men vote in presidential elections. If women just played the “human card,” not to speak of the “woman card,” a number of women would have been elected president well before the 21st Century. If women played the “woman card” like we play the “man card,” no men would have been elected as president during the last 48 years. And you have the gall to accuse Secretary Clinton of playing the “woman card.”  

  Mr. Trump, I cannot speak for women. But as a man, husband, father and grandfather, I wince each time you say, “I will take care of women like nobody else can.” I wince because I know that too many women have heard that line before. I wince because I fear that your concept of taking care of women is paternalistic rather than one of equal opportunity for women. Of course, it would not occur to you that this is a problem because you see the “man card” as a birthright.  

  Mr. Trump, I am deeply hurt by your many derogatory statements about women, such as “pigs,” “dogs,” “disgusting,” “animals,” “bimbos,” “bitches,” “ugly,” “bleeding from whatever,” etc. You seem to think women are a lower form of human species. I could not believe that you were “disgusted” that a woman went to the restroom during the break in a debate. Do you not realize that every human being, including you, uses the restroom? It is clear that you do not think any woman is qualified to be president.  

  Mr. Trump, you said that if Secretary Clinton were a man, she would not get five percent of the vote. You seem to really believe this preposterous statement even in the face of the fact that she has received over two million votes more than you. As I see it, Secretary Clinton is the most qualified person to ever run for president, whether male or female. She is a Yale Law School graduate. She worked as a lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund. She was the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation. She served as a partner in a nationally recognized law firm, where she was the first female partner. She served as First Lady in the State House and the White House. She was elected twice and served brilliantly as a U.S. Senator for one of the largest states in the nation. She served as Secretary of State of the most powerful country in the world. She previously ran for president, coming close to being nominated by a major political party. How much more qualified can any person get?  

  Mr. Trump, with such superb accomplishments, only a woman would be subject to a discussion about being qualified. In fact, the stigma against women is such that it took all these accomplishments and qualifications to break through the iron fence that has blocked entrance to the White House for 227 years. While Secretary Clinton has served the country time and time again, you have devoted your life primarily to the making of goo-gobs of money. How in the world does that make you more qualified for president? I write out of a deep pain and a strong sense of sorrow.

  Mr. Trump, I believe that your blaming of Secretary Clinton for the things her husband did with other women may be as bad as anything you have said. These violations were heavy burdens on her, her marriage and her family. Now you add an awful weight to that heavy burden by trying to make her responsible for his violations. It seems that ever since Adam and Eve, we men have played the “man card” by blaming the women.  

  Mr. Trump, over the last year, Secretary Clinton has been the most attacked person in these United States of America. It is clear to me that this deluge of attacks is not just because she is a presidential candidate but rather because she is a female candidate. And yet, she is on the verge of being the first woman nominated by a major political party for President of the United States of America. Secretary Clinton is in this position not because she is a woman but in spite of being a woman. And you accuse her of playing the woman card! As a man, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a human being, I had to write because the pain is so piercing and the sorrow so searing.

  Mr. Trump, I hope and pray that you will think deeply about the words you are speaking because words have far-reaching consequences.      

In pain and sorrow,          
  Hank Sanders, Alabama State Senator

  About the author: Hank Sanders represents Senate District 23 in the Alabama Legislature.

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