McGrew: Open letter to Trump on presidents and our better angels

Dear President Trump,

I am a lapsed Democrat and registered Republican who votes both ways. However, I call myself an “Indepatriot."


Basically, Indepatriotism reflects a desire for autonomy from special interests — corporations, the NRA, AARP, etc.

Indepatriotism also reflects the cherished American values motivating radical moderates like me. I endorse increased sacrifice, fairness, service and long-term thinking by our citizenry and government.

Why? To help America re-establish itself both as global superpower and beacon of democracy.

I view government as neither enemy nor cure all. It’s only one important means to help effectively civilize, secure and advance us morally, economically and socially.

Remember when majorities of congressional Democrats and Republicans collaborated to pass Social Security, Medicare and the Civil Rights Act?

That’s my kind of government.

In published letters to you, I’ve expressed appreciation for our stock market gains, your promises of “much less expensive and much better” health insurance for “everybody," your “terrific” infrastructure plan, your appointment of competent, moral generals, and your desire to put America back together into a “well-healed” country.

Sadly, only the stock market gains remain. Your generals couldn’t stomach working for you any longer, your promises have proven empty, and America has become more divided — largely due to your malicious attacks on anyone contradicting you.

Fortunately, my previous letters to you sparked an ongoing correspondence with a supporter of yours.

He is a wonderful, long-time, moral, Republican friend. You were not his first choice, but he likes much of what you’ve accomplished.

My friend continues to back you despite admitting that you lack high moral standards. He says he prefers effectiveness over high moral character in presidents and thinks I value the reverse.

In fact, I value both equally but believe there are minimum moral standards without which a leader cannot be truly effective.

The Oxford Dictionary defines, “moral” as “holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct.” Synonyms for “moral” include virtuous, righteous, upright, and upstanding.

Recently, I attended another old friend’s and four star general’s retirement and change of command ceremonies. He spoke about The Marines as an organization that strives to display virtue, loyalty, truthfulness and humility.


He stressed owning your mistakes and following through with what you say.

Listening to him, I was struck by how different he is from you. Regrettably, you don’t come close to meeting his moral standards or the dictionary’s.

Why? Your actions in business, with women and minorities, and as president, are the opposite of humble, truthful and virtuous.

You denigrate patriots, disrespect allies, call the press your enemy and authoritarian leaders your friends. You’re loyal only to sycophants and accept no responsibly for mistakes or wrongdoing.

Great presidents like Lincoln morally appealed to the “better angels” of our natures.

You appeal to our lurking inner devils with fake facts, boasting and venom that contributes to increased divisiveness, hate crimes and distrust of you. You tacitly encourage some of your supporters’ vile behaviors.

You remind me of Joe McCarthy, George Wallace and Huey Long rolled together but delivered with P.T. Barnum’s flair. It’s very clear why Putin preferred you.

But back to my Republican friend. He thinks you’ve been effective in structurally reforming our economy, appointing the right judges, and giving the working man unprecedented employment and wage gains. He values your deregulatory approach and tells me you to judge you by your actions, not words.

I admit he’s right about employment and some of the regulations.

But I tell him that your Presidential words are actions. I express my ongoing worry about our deficit, our crumbling infrastructure, the increasing, obscene gap between the ultra-rich and the working man, and your disregard and denial of climate change’s impact.

I lament your retreat from America’s role as international leader, your winking and nodding to dictators, racists and white supremacists, and your gross lack of compassion toward “others” — especially immigrants.

I stress how moral Bob Mueller highlighted your many attempts to obstruct justice and your welcoming of Putin’s assistance.

Despite our stark differences, my friend and I do seriously reflect on each other’s opinions. We disagree vigorously but argue courteously. We sign off, “Respectfully” at the end of each email. We also attempt to lead lives much more moral than yours.

More Americans should act similarly and appeal to each other’s better angels, especially in emotionally charged political conversations.

If we do, our engagement, civility and morality might help us find common ground and eventually migrate up the political food chain.

Respectfully, Mike

Mike McGrew lives in Westminster. His email is