Dear President Trump,
I feel like I’m lurching from one awful deed or threatened deed to the next. When I heard last night that Tillerson is now saying the US is not going to factor in human rights violations when we consider which countries to have diplomatic relations with, it felt like a sucker punch to my heart. Is the idea that you don’t want any niggly details like “extra-judicial killings” or “disappearances” to interfere with chest thumping with other strong-man, dictator-types? Or is it that those markets are just too lucrative and the deals they are willing to make with you too sweet to pass up? Tillerson said economic and national security interests (he had to say the latter) should be the deciding factors in whether the US would interact with other countries, that we’d been too long hobbled by our insistence on human rights.
Or maybe this is yet another way to erode our moral compass and loosen the country’s hold on its values regarding common decency and human dignity? There’s a very dangerous slippery slope that gets started when there’s a relativistic approach to integrity and respect. If we are willing to deal with dictators who terrorize, kill, massively oppress their people then we are saying those actions really aren’t that bad, at least not bad enough for us to miss the opportunity to build a luxury hotel in that country. So if those actions over there aren’t really that bad and we are willing to invite someone to our place who routinely has drug addicts mowed down in the street, then hmm, maybe it isn’t such a big deal that we are rounding up refugees and immigrants or taking away access to health care for poor people or restricting women’s access to safe abortion or condoning discrimination of LGBTQ people on religious grounds. The list could go on and on but the bottom line is that none of this is in any way ok and just because you aren’t killing people here who you and your crazy elites don’t like, doesn’t mean what you are doing is morally or ethically acceptable. Cozying up with leaders who inflict unspeakable suffering on their people is sick and completely unconscionable. To paraphrase a great line by the Roots — the devil wants you as is, but God, she wants more.
May you find a way to be more because we can’t afford to have you selling your soul to the devils of the world.
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy and strong.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.