Dear President Trump:

We address you as president because we have great respect for the office to which you have been elected. Some wise and righteous people have been where you are going.

By the time you receive this letter, you will be moving your agenda forward, and doing what you believe you must to make America great again from your perspective.

We write, not to offer thinly veiled threats or knee-jerk critiques of your policies, proposals, or of your past. There is enough of that already. What’s more, you know the reasons a contingent of Americans object to your rise to lead this country better than we do.

We write to you in our capacity as individuals who use and work and soak heavily in words. We are doctors and lawyers and teachers and poets, and preachers of the gospel. We are mothers and fathers. We are Children of God. We are taxpayers and voters as well. We are diverse, but we all understand the power of words.

We paint pictures with words. Sometimes the pictures we paint are full of hope and encouragement. When Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “America is another name for opportunity,” he was providing encouragement to new Americans. When Langston Hughes said, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly,” he was providing encouragement to a people who had been marginalized and left out of the idealized construct of the American Dream.

Sometimes, the pictures we paint offer a glimpse into the lives and struggles of others. When Muhammad Ali said, “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.” Countee Cullen said, “So in the dark, we hide the heart that bleeds, and wait and tend our agonizing seeds.” They were narrating the struggles of how challenging it can be to try to be oneself, or to try to exist in a world that does not love them.”

And sometimes we paint pictures to express pain.

But, in all cases, the pictures we have painted with words has, with any hope, impacted our world. In the final analysis, we write to move humanity forward, not for its destruction.

We are eager for you to understand that we have listened to your words. All of them. The words you have said before you declared your candidacy, the ones you said as a candidate, and even the ones you are saying as you read this.

We have heard you say that you want to “make America great again,” knowing full well that your words are code for your desire for this country to return to a time when people of color were openly oppressed by the state. We have heard you say you want to “bomb the sh– out of a clandestine terrorist organization. We even heard you say out of your mouth that you do not respect women.

And we have grave concerns about these words. We are concerned because of the impact they have had on others. We are concerned about your words because they have exposed entire communities to harassment.

But, above that, we are concerned about your past and present words, because we believe they are predictive of the kind of reality you are attempting to create in the future.

Your words, if you continue to use them in the manner you have in the past, will create a future in which there are entire communities of people – Muslims, women, people of color – who will be left on the margins of America.

We will listen carefully to your words in the coming months to ensure you do not abuse the power that has been bestowed upon you by a group of words called the Constitution.

Remember, your work going forward is supposed to be for all of us. It is not for personal gain or agenda, but for the people.

Do not dare to try to silence those around you with your words. Do not call for hatred or violence. Those that chose to follow you listen to what you say and will act on it, so beware. Choose your words carefully, or you may end up being at a loss for them.

Metaphorically Yours,

The Rest of America