Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An open letter to President-Elect (Donald Trump)

Dear Mr. President-Elect,

My name is Joseph Lee, a student at a community college in Los Angeles, California. First, congratulations on becoming the next leader of the United States of America, especially at a time when we are facing realities of fame, security, uncertainty and anxiety. As the president of a nation with global influence in freedom, education, military and culture, I wish you success in your endeavor in making America great again.

I'm writing this letter in hopes that you would consider praises and concerns of members of this nation in regards to the rule of law and respecting the oppressed. More importantly, I would like to bring up the sensitive issues of immigrants, people with disabilities, and ensuring that the essence of justice are practiced in your administration.

First, without immigrants, we could not witness United States becoming a superpower in education, culture and influence. More importantly, the history of United States began with immigrants - native Americans settling in vast plains of this land, immigrants coming to this continent seeking freedom from oppression, to the immigrants who crossed the ocean and land to seek new economic and social opportunities. As a 1.5 generation immigrant myself, I came to this land more than a decade ago in hopes of getting a better education and to seek opportunities for those like me with blindness and other disabilities.
However, some in this society would say that we immigrants are taking away valuable jobs and opportunities. I would like to challenge this by saying that some in our society may have forgotten the fact that their ancestors are immigrants as well, and the notion of nativism and superiority may have caused us to forget struggles of our parents and grandparents who had to go through nighttly shifts and harsh working conditions, knowing that, one day, their progeny would have a better life in this land they are living. Instead of giving opportunities to a group of future leaders whose children can shape politics at Washington, some have erected physical and virtual walls of ignorance, ethnocentrism, supremecy and denial. Once a land of opportunity to immigrants, this has become a land of oppression of aliens, especially those who can make America greater than before. Thus, I would like to sincerely request repeating an accomplishment from another outsider in the 1980's: please tear down the Great Wall that divided this nation and the world, this time the Great Wall of of Ignorance towards immigrants, otherwise the immigrant community will build a greater wall of ignorance.

Second, I am one of millions of Americans with disabilities. More than two decades ago, a landmark law passed the floor of the House of Representatives, confirmed by the Senate, and signed into law by the man who congratulated you upon elected. Whereas the conditions of Americans with disabilities has improved thanks to healthcare, technology and more opportunities, there are visible and unseen gaps between what I and other disabled Americans can achieve versus realities of ignorance, hate, denial and discrimination, particularly for many young people who would like to receive an opportunity to make America great again. In case of people with disabilities, we can help you achieve your goals by giving us directions and ways in which we can dutifully fulfill our rights as members of this society, including access to education, working towards reduced discrimination and ignorance, and listening to those in need and thinking about what can be done to make this nation great in terms of opening up opportunities to minorities such as Americans with various disabilities.

Speaking of minorities, I would like to stress that the optimal solution to making things work great is to use different parts to create a cohesive whole. In other words, just because some citizens are minorities does not mean they deserve oppression and injustice. One way to achieve your aim of making America great again is to listen to minorities, especially the members with little power who can offer great advice and who can show that they are more than capable of making your administration a success. Please do not turn away from them, especially those who can influence Washington to their will: children, students, professors, religious leaders, men and women with wisdom, and those who, if called, would be ready to reshape the capital in more than 700 days from now: the electorate with different backgrounds, beliefs, values and experiences. Also, please do not trump yourself above the law and justice: as the new leader, you are more than capable of showing three hundred million strong Americans and others watching around the globe that you are a model citizen, listening to the oppressed, caring for the weak, and to go down in history as a respected administrator.

In closing, I would like to offer two quotes that sums up the current state of affairs around this nation, something a war hero and later president rightfully said and did not live to see America become great a few decades later:

"The qualities of a great man are vision, integrity, courage, understanding, the power of articulation, and profundity of character. To be true to one's own freedom is, in essence, to honor and respect the freedom of all others."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sincerely and with respect,
Joseph S. Lee
Los Angeles, CA
November 9, 2016

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