Dear Donald Trump

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By: Brad Kneeland

Dear Mr. Trump,

You don’t know me, but I know you. Let me correct myself, I know you from what I have seen of you projected through the media. I’ve seen you on “The Apprentice.” I’ve seen you on talk shows and in interviews. I’ve seen the loving side of you—I’ve seen you with your children, I’ve seen pictures of you on your wedding day to your wife Melania, and I’ve seen you portrayed as the quintessential “New Yorker”—a straight shooting businessman who has enjoyed some success. In recent months, I’ve also seen a darker side of you, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

My name is Bradley. I am 26 and just graduated from law school. I moved to Seattle from Montana. I love my family, my friends, and my country. It was for my love of my country and a sense of duty that I went to law school—I want to give back to my community and my country through public service. Some might find my love of this country to be corny or obnoxious, but I am truly so proud to be an American. This isn’t a perfect country—we absolutely have things we need to work on—but I really believe that there isn’t anything bad about America that can’t be fixed by what’s good about America, and I want to dedicate my life to being a part of that solution. I can’t help but notice that over the past couple of years, you have also seemed to have taken an interest in public service and a desire to make our country better. I remember reading your tweets as you took issue with other politicians. I remember reading about your disagreements with President Obama’s foreign policy and defense issues. I remember the way you spread rumors about President Obama’s place of birth and how convinced you were that he wasn’t born in the United States. I remember when you announced your candidacy last year, how you descended down the escalator in Trump Tower and declared your candidacy for the Presidency, but not before you labeled Hispanics as “drug dealers” and “rapists.” I also remember when you proposed to ban an entire religion of people from entering the United States.

So as two people who have decided to dedicate their lives to the service of our country, I have a couple of questions for you, not as Donald Trump the television personality or Donald Trump the politician, but from me to Donald Trump the man; status and money set aside, I want to have this conversation with you as two humans. I want to discuss your plan to make America great again.

I have a large amount of student debt. I went to law school because I wanted to make the world a better place. I have no interest in working for a big law firm. I have always wanted to work in the public interest area or in government. I want to give back to the citizens of our country who so generously financed my opportunity to attend law school. I want to help others because I have been blessed with the opportunity to do so much. What is your reasoning for wanting to go into public service, outside of wanting to “make America great again?” Is our country not already great?

I am 26 years old, and in that time I have been able to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer; I have seen our nation elect the first black President and stand at the brink of electing the first woman President. For a generation of Americans, a black man and a woman as President is all they will ever have known—is America not already great?

I have seen the look of excitement and hope on the eyes of immigrants, as they take the oath of citizenship, as they dream of the lives they will start in this nation of ours—is America not already great?

As a gay man, I have seen prejudices and barriers crumble as our nation evolves on LGBT rights. 10 years ago, I couldn’t imagine being able to have a family of my own. Today, my dream of marrying the man I love and having children can become a reality—is America not already great?

I have seen the downtrodden, the discriminated, and the persecuted segments of our society come together, mobilize, and organize to combat police brutality, discrimination, and other systematic injustices that plague their communities. They may be down, but they refuse to be out—is America not already great?

I have seen the look of hope on refugees’ faces as they seek a better life in America. I have seen people give up everything they’ve ever known with nothing but the clothes on their backs to come to our country in the hope of a better life, despite our own problems and imperfections—is America not already great?

I have seen communities’ come together and lift each other up during economic hardships. I have seen neighbors pitch in, come together, and help one another through good times and bad—is America not already great?

And through all that is wrong with our nation—the racism, the sexism, the violence, the economic inequality, and so much more—through all of that, we the people have the chance to change the status quo. We the people have the freedom to speak out and seek change in the pursuit of a better, more just America.

Mr. Trump—is America not already great?

You say that it is midnight in America, that you’ve never been more ashamed of our nation. You talk a lot of talk but don’t produce a lot of results. And my question for you is how will you make America great again when there is so much that is already great about our nation? How do you know what is not great when you’ve never taken the time to come down from Trump Tower to witness it yourself?

Mr. Trump, I can only assume that the meltdowns and episodes you’ve had the past couple of weeks are a byproduct of you realizing you’re likely to lose this campaign. I assume it is an act of desperation on your part realizing that you’re going to lose to a strong, intelligent woman. And when this election is over, I look forward to hearing your point of view. I look forward to hearing what was really going on in your campaign, and I hope that you will pursue a commitment to public service in a healthier manner, by leaving public service all together. Because when we the people rise up and reject your violent rhetoric in November, when we take back the nation we love from your misguided followers, that will only further drive home my point to you—America doesn’t need saving.

America is already great.