On Wednesday, you will become the 46th president of the United States and it would be an understatement to say that you’re taking the helm of a nation in turmoil.
Tens of millions of Americans do not recognize you as the legitimate winner of the presidential election.
Then there’s the global pandemic that has killed approximately 400,000 Americans and made a mockery of our government for underestimating the severity of COVID-19 and in many cases being slow to take action to protect the public from its spread.
There are millions of Americans who still aren’t taking the virus seriously and many see it as another example of fake news.
What’s even more alarming is what happened on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
As authorities have continued to investigate the hostile takeover of the Capitol by an angry mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, it’s become more and more clear that this was a somewhat organized assault and there’s growing speculation that the goal of the rioters was to take members of Congress and perhaps even Vice President Mike Pence hostage in an attempt to overturn the election results and keep Trump in office.
We know that you’re as shocked and disturbed as the rest of us that an angry mob could take control of a building that is the globally recognized symbol of our government. And let’s not forget that Trump supporters simultaneously held protests at every state capitol nationwide as they were seizing control of the U.S. Capitol.
The group of Americans who believe Trump rightfully won the November election represents a generous percentage of our nation’s populace. They are motivated and organized and do not see you as the legitimate leader of our nation.
Into this fray you will become president on Wednesday and we hope and pray that you immediately direct your energy to the singular goal of uniting our beleaguered nation.
This is not the time for politics as usual. Politics as usual — meaning you and your party engaging in a scorched earth campaign against Trump, his supporters and Republicans in general because you at the moment have the upper hand — could lead to more of what we saw on Jan. 6 but with the violence, death and destruction promising to be even more widespread.
We urge you to resist your party’s desire to extract the proverbial pound of flesh from its opponents just because it can.
It’s unfortunate that even as you take office, much of the nation’s attention will still be on the second impeachment of Trump and what’s next on that front.
We know that what the rioters did on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol was wrong and amounted to an insurrection but we would suggest that you and your party approach the matter with the same kind of grace and mercy that authorities approached the protesters in Portland, Oregon, with this past year. The criminal charges against most of those arrested during the months-long violent protests at the U.S. Courthouse in Portland were dropped by prosecutors there.
Certainly, there are many members of your party who want every last one of the Trump supporters involved in the U.S. Capitol riot to be sent to prison for a very long time.
If you don’t care about turning those protesters into martyrs, go ahead and throw them all in jail forever.
We believe that the last thing our government should be doing right now is further enraging the large disenfranchised and angry group of Americans who still believe Trump won the election. We understand some prosecutions are necessary but meting out justice as thoroughly as your party wants in this instance is another thing that could overshadow your administration’s efforts to start a new chapter for our nation and would further divide us, which could have tragic consequences.
A new beginning is what our country so desperately needs at this moment.
Whoever thinks that the stakes are insignificant was not tuning in to what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 or likes the new normal of having a National Guard garrison of over 20,000 troops needed to secure the Capitol against future unrest.
You can either be a president whose legacy will be one of saving our republic or one who let America continue to tear itself apart.
The millions of Americans who didn’t vote for you and don’t believe you won the election are nonetheless Americans and like it or not, starting Wednesday you will be their president.
Please put your energy into healing our nation’s painful divisions rather than ramming your party’s agenda down the throats of conservative Americans who already feel cornered and desperate.
This is your moment in history to either shine or prove that you’re cut from the same divisive cloth as the other politicians of the day.
Make no mistake, America’s survival will be determined by the road you choose.