An Open Letter to Donald Trump–9/23/2020

September 23rd, 2020

Dear President Trump,

Ensuring domestic tranquility is one of the five duties the founding fathers set out for Americans in the Constitution. In a heated election year, some Americans are failing in this obligation to promote civility and stability among ourselves. Even worse, some American politicians are not simply failing, they are willfully violating the spirit of the Constitution by sowing drama and discord. It may be common political practice, but our country deserves better.

After your campaign event on September 18th, a reporter stopped you to get your reaction to the news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. Mr. President, your reaction was a genuine expression of sorrow. You made it clear that you respected her even if she was considered a political opponent. You showed your humanity in recognizing that the loss of any life is a loss. That moment of tranquility was the calm before the political storm that rose from a country mourning the loss of a committed civil servant.

Mr. President, can you imagine a version of America where common decency was the rule between political opponents, not the exception? Ruth Bader Ginsburg accomplished some amazing things in her life–she fought for women’s rights and on behalf of many marginalized groups. She wasn’t perfect; Justice Ginsburg also came under fire for her criticism of Colin Kaepernick’s protest and questionable decisions regarding Native American sovereignty. Her legacy of serving the American people for almost 30 years on the Supreme Court will be long remembered.

As the election approaches, America lack of domestic tranquility is more apparent than ever. With the passing of Justice Ginsburg and a vacancy on the Supreme Court, you are under pressure to appoint a justice before the election, while the Senate’s Republican majority is certain. Your promise to appoint conservative justices was a major talking point of your 2016 campaign. However, we ask you to consider; will pushing through a nomination right now help heal the divide in the country, or will it exacerbate it?

You have a Constitutional duty as President to pick a nominee for the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate, as well as a duty to establish domestic tranquility. How can both of these be accomplished? The Phoenix Congress proposes that you make your nomination, and have that nominee reviewed by the new Senate after the election.

The simplest way to accomplish this would be with a recess appointment. With the cooperation of Mitch McConnell, you could appoint a justice of the Supreme Court directly and immediately. Other presidents have used this route, including for the appointments of William Brennan, Earl Warren, and Thurgood Marshall. During the 2021 session of the Senate, confirmation hearings could be held.

Besides allowing time for thoughtful consideration before elevating a new justice to a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court, it will deescalate the hysteria surrounding the vacant seat. You have already appointed two justices in your four-year term, and this compromise would be an act promoting peace as the American public is pushed deeper into confusion and fear by partisan rhetoric. Peace is established by the strong, not the weak.

Mr. President, you have already demonstrated the ability to deescalate through your efforts in North Korea and with Iran. You deserve to be commended for those efforts. The Phoenix Congress invites you to apply those skills stateside and calm our hysteria-laden political season. Indeed, working for this goal would make you the opposite of the typical politician, which is what many thought they were getting when they elected you over someone who had been a political insider for decades.

The other way to promote domestic tranquility is to work toward real solutions to systemic problems: poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars. The Phoenix Congress offers a compromise legislative package, the Blueprint for a Better America. By addressing MLK’s three evils, you can begin healing the divide between the American people.

The American Union, a block of swing voters in support of this legislation, invites you and all Americans to join a 24-hour fast for peace on October 15th. This token sacrifice is a personal symbol from each of us that we are willing to make the compromises required to build a better America, just as the founding fathers did. Will you join us?

Respectfully yours,

Phoenix Congress 2020

Other articles on Medium:

A call to action around Martin Luther King, Jr.’s triple evils: The Marginalized Must Unionize in 2020

A look at our duties as Americans and the legislation they inspire; The Blueprint for a Better America

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Phoenix Congress

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Challenging the duopoly with crowdsourced legislative solutions since 2019.

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