Dear Mr. Trump,
You don’t know me and will likely never agree to meet me, despite my intense desire to sit down and speak with you. I haven’t yet made a name for myself on the national stage, but please trust me when I tell you that we are much alike. We are both Penn alumni who value our time spent in Philadelphia and the pride that comes with being a Quaker. In our respective circles, we both manage to garner an unusually high amount of media attention, and our uniquely effective communication styles allow us to thrive in the spotlight. And I am quite certain that, like me, you keep the meaning of the Penn motto branded across your heart: Leges sine Moribus vanae. Laws without morals are useless.
Neither the majority nor the plurality of U.S. citizens voted for you. I did not vote for you. As we are both citizens of the world, I am obligated to respect your voice. As you are my President-Elect, I am obligated to respect your orders. As I am an American, you are obligated to respect my life.
I would like to be a scientific policy advisor. As a young woman, I would like to know that the attractiveness of my body would not sway your valuation of me were I to work alongside you. As a scientist, I need to know that you will listen with an open mind to those of us who have devoted our lives to understanding how the natural world works. No scientist can claim infallibility, but our collective knowledge and experience cannot be ignored for the sake of political gains. What you have shown me on the debate stage and in your speeches does not currently give me hope for either of these things.
Your presidency has not yet begun, but much of the country has already judged it. We focus on a few truly heinous quotes that you have said on camera, enjoying your demonization and frequently ignoring any of your positive attributes. As a scientist I look to your choices of advisers and mourn the death of the scientific method. But your Presidency has not yet begun. You are able to choose what you will be remembered for.
My father always told me that when you stop learning and changing, you’re dead. Change is not only possible, but necessary. I beg you to not make greatness the goal of our Presidency. Allow greatness to be a side effect of goodness and of healing. America is in pain. Your message has been met with cheers at your rallies and has won you the Electoral College, but the election results show that your message did not reach the majority of Americans. We have become divided more than before. We see enemies in our fellow citizens, in other races or religions, rather than in individuals. Mr. Trump, please help us heal.
You have an enormous responsibility; one that barely seems possible. You can reach across the aisle. Acknowledge that we have more bringing us together than tearing us apart. You can remember that your duty is not to the Republican party or to any specific groups or individuals. Your duty is now as much to your supporters as your detractors. We need a leader to unite us, not disparage us.
Mr. Trump, please sit down with me. You are my President-Elect and I am beseeching you with an open heart and mind. I am one of your citizens, and I need comfort. Please reach across the aisle. Reach out to shake my hand, hear my voice, listen to my concerns. You can be known as a healer. You can be a builder of bridges, not walls. You could be known as the President who truly made us feel united in a time of crisis through your commitment to hear each and every American. This is now your moral obligation. You have the power to enact orders that will shape the entire world.
Laws without morals are useless.
JENNIFER DAILEY is a C'12 Penn alum
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