An Open Letter to Donald Trump

I have decided to write to each candidate because I have the right to express my opinion, my concerns, my fears. Because as America contemplates and prepares to go to the polls, my nation has a stake as well.

As in all things in life, a personal message is just that. It is about what is important to the person…and from the start, I will say that each person is different. Where you are in your life is likely different from where I am in mine. So if you have a different opinion, I celebrate the freedom we have to express it. This is my opinion, nothing more…and perhaps equally as important, nothing less.

The first open letter went to Bernie Sanders. The second one went to Hillary Clinton, and this one goes to Donald Trump.

donald trumpDear Mr. Trump,

Where it was easy to write to Bernie and Hillary, it is much harder to write to you. On Monday, I’ll agree with some of the things you say. On Tuesday, I’ll cringe and think there has to be a better way to say that. On Wednesday, I’ll flat-out disagree with you and on Thursday, I’ll wonder about your overall stability because I’m pretty sure you said something different on Tuesday. Finally, on Friday, I’ll conclude that you are, overall, a friend of Israel and the Jews and we could certainly do a heck of a lot worse than you being president.

I think you have a great vision of where America should be and clearly, it is so far from that. As a businessman, you have learned to take the direct path, which sometimes involves going over and even through people. Diplomacy, for the good and the bad, doesn’t work that way. And that’s where I’m most concerned about your chances for success…or, perhaps more concerned if you succeed. There is a whole world of cultures outside the United States and few would take well to being steamrolled by “The Donald.”

To be president, you have to listen and you clearly don’t have the patience for that. To be president, you have to understand that not everyone thinks as you do. There are cultures that require what Americans would consider a ridiculously long amount of time to get to the point. You would interrupt and demand they just say it already. But it doesn’t work that way. And there are cultures, like mine, that come with literally thousands of years of history that can’t be summed up in minutes.

You can’t look at today and decide tomorrow without remembering yesterday. That concept doesn’t seem to work for you, but it is one that governs the thoughts and lives of my people. If we forget where we were, we will not be where we are, and we will never get to where we need to be tomorrow. Trust me, that makes sense if you’re Jewish.

As a woman, I find your treatment of women to be somewhat archaic. I don’t think you quite understand that women are so much more…and less…than you think they are. You love and respect your daughter, who is so much a symbol of today’s woman but do you accept that a woman can be what she wants – more or less than whatever you expect because ultimately it isn’t really about you, it’s about every woman having the right to choose what she wants. But in this election, I don’t think “women’s issues” take precedence over the far more critical issues that face America and the world so perhaps we’ll have to simply agree to disagree here.

As a Jew, I am not worried that you will be indifferent to the needs and concerns of the Jewish community in the United States. You have a daughter who has chosen to throw her lot in with our people and who has come to love and understand and keep our traditions, and you have Jewish grandchildren. This alone makes you more credible than both Bernie and Hillary, neither of which has a real stake in the future of the Jewish people.

As an Israeli, you scare the heck out of me. You are quick to offer an opinion, and far slower to actually investigate. Your stand on Jerusalem is at times very strong, and other times, unacceptable to my country. Worse, you are a man who has learned the power of pressure. You believe in forcing others to do your will, and that will never work well for Israelis, as well as a fair amount of Americans, most of the Europeans, and forget Russia there.

Your stand against terrorism and the influx of uncontrolled masses of so-called refugees is a perfect example of why you probably won’t make a good president. You are right that radical Islam presents a clear and present danger to Europe and the US, as it has for decades in Israel but as with many things, the way in which you phrase things is extreme and dismissive. I agree, there is a HUGE problem is letting in refugees if in doing so you endanger your civilians. People have a right to believe their government will do all it can to keep them safe and the rioting, raping, and increased crime rolling over Europe now is proof of what can happen when you don’t first consider that there are many who will seek to take advantage of an open door policy for those in need. Until you can separate those who really need from those who want access to cause harm to your people, opening the flood gates simply replaces one inhumanity with another.

Let’s get to the bottom line. You aren’t my first choice. Perhaps at a different point in history, I would laugh and have the luxury of suggesting you stick to business and leave politics to those who have a higher ability to spin, to shoot the breeze, and pretend to be interested in everything while really still focusing on what is important to them. But I don’t have that luxury and so I will tell you that if you win the Republican slate, I will vote for you simply because the alternative, a Hillary or Bernie presidency, is untenable.

You’ve fought a good fight to be president, but I hope you realize that while America needs strong individuals (men and women) in politics, it still needs them in business. You are a businessman, used to ramming your way into the reality that you wish to create. That won’t work in the White House. The world will not accept American domination; and you believe in your right to dominate too much to make you a plausible representative outside the United States.

So no, you will not get my support unless there is no other option. Many of my friends say that faced with a Trump-Clinton or Trump-Sanders ballot, they will not vote. I have a hard time remembering an American election where the choice was more based on the least of all evils. I would prefer to vote for a person who displays the right characteristics to lead America into the future. That isn’t Hillary. That isn’t Bernie and sadly, that isn’t you either.

Sad, because you are a strong man and after eight years of Obama, America desperately needs a strong leader. But America also needs a person who can eloquently, calmly, intelligently stand with pride as a representative of all that America stands for…the everyday people who live their lives, help their neighbors, raise their families and then get up tomorrow and do the same thing. The teachers. The farmers. The small business owners. The policemen and police women. The doctors (not the fancy plastic surgeons of Hollywood, but the ones who work in hospitals and clinics treating rich and poor equally based on need). The nurses. The carpenters and plumbers and real estate agents and insurance brokers and secretaries. You don’t really understand these people…and they are America.

America has been built with pride by people who struggle to cover mortgage payments, who don’t own million dollar homes and several cars. America has had many rich men serve in government but few have been so obvious in their wealth as you have been. And so, as I examine my thoughts on each candidate, I conclude that you won’t be my first choice for president. And still, I have to remember that the next president of the United States has the power to impact on the destinies of my children and grandchildren. I have to consider them as well. Bernie and Hillary will be, without question, meddling disasters for Israel. Like Obama, each national/local disaster will be followed by an attempt to save face by enforcing some absurd plan on Israel. We frustrate the likes of Joe Biden and his boss because we won’t fall in line. Compared to both Bernie and Hillary, each nothing more or less than another Obama, you can easily be considered a friend of Israel.

And so, in the end, you may yet get my vote, but you do not instill in me the belief that you are the best option for seeing America and Israel into the next decade.


Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.

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