This is the letter I wrote to him.
I hope your health is strong and sound as you have been in your whole life. You have been so brave and you have an honest heart to stand up for what you believe is right. Neither everyone has it, nor do they stand up for it. people find comfort in you. But looking at the present and the future, I am afraid that the picture does not seem very comfortable. I am writing this letter to you because I am concerned about the state of the world and I could only find one person who I know would empathize with me, and that person I believe is you.
I do not know whether you will actually read this long letter in this busy time, but if you do, I know you won’t regret it. Let me introduce myself before I start. I am an international student from India. I am doing my doctoral studies in electrical engineering. From that standpoint, I am supposed to be a good student, keep my mouth shut and work on my thesis. Well, I am doing so, or at least parts of it. But it is hard to keep quiet when the stakes are too high. I do follow politics because I love it. Not because I want to use it or ask anything out of it, but because I care about the people. And I am worried and concerned because I do not recognize this world anymore. I came from a third world country and I can tell you that there is a reason the world thinks the United States of America is the greatest country on earth. Not because one can quantify her greatness using some arbitrary metrics, but because she represents the values of what it means to be a human being. Because she says it does not matter whether I am poor or weak but what I am capable of doing. We come here because we believe that we can find a better future for ourselves, for liberty and salvation.
I came here from India in search of an opportunity. An opportunity of having a different kind of life, that a lot of people there have never experienced before. An opportunity by means of equality, that says who I am by birth does not matter, what matters is what I choose to do. And how I do it is going to decide what kind of person I want to be. It is very powerful and very meaningful when you see it from the outside. Only then you can appreciate it fully, only then you do not take it for granted. So, I have an enormous appreciation for this country and for what the people of America stand for.
But again I am afraid because what I see right now does not feel right. It does not comfort me. It does not give me hope. I had great hope for democracy, and at a time when most of the world is democratic or at least pretending to be democratic, I can also see it crumbling from within. America showed the world what global democracy tastes like. Now it no longer embraces the virtue of it, now it no longer stands on its own ground. We are standing on a time slice right now when our intention is in question. While the problem is laid upon our eyes, the question remains what we are going to do about it. Should we deny if anything had happened or should we accept and try to amend the damages incurred upon it? The country knows that there is a problem and it is thus divided. The country is divided because she is confused.
I want to ask you a question. Do you know what this country needs now? I hope you know. This country needs a voice of love, not the burning eyes of the powerful and fearsome but a modest, humble, and loving voice that would serve the people, that would give them hope, a comforting voice: a voice of a mother, a father, a friend, a Krishna. But never of an arrogant ruler, never of a self-centered, narcissistic, greedy, ignorant, selfish evil who never bothered to even pretend to be your friend. Not someone who would demand undivided and unshaken loyalty and then push you off the cliff.
I remember, recently, one night I was watching President Obama’s one of the old speeches on the internet. He was giving his victory speech at Iowa caucus in January 2008. I was re-watching him after eleven years, in December 2019. I cried listening to him. I didn’t cry when I broke up with my girlfriend. But I cried that night watching his speech. Time unfolds its mysteries in mysterious ways. He had hope in his speech. He showed the country a ray of light while everyone was lost in the dark. Did he achieve everything what he said he was going to achieve? No, but she showed the ways. Someone had to carry the light once he is gone. The country needs someone like him. They need someone with such honest intentions, someone who does not merely sympathize, rather empathize.
You agree that America has fundamentally changed as a country. This country does not serve his children anymore, not in a healthy way. Neither does it stand up for the values it once stood up for. And now, here the childrens are, fighting against each other. This country has failed its middle class and the working class who built it brick by brick. And here they are now fighting without knowing who they are fighting against. They don’t know the tail they are chasing, in fact, is their own. They don’t know what they will do when they catch it. They don’t know when to stop.
Here every one doubts each other: whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, immigrants, non-immigrants, rich, poor, blue collars, white collars, Christians, non-Christians, students, teachers, veterans, men, women, humans. The country has failed the weaklings and the winner took it all. Not only did they take it all but also robbed all the others. Everyone at the bottom fought to go to the table they could see far away. They thought there would be food on the table, so they tried harder. But harder they tried, the table became smaller and went farther away. They were always aware of the food on the table, the food that they had grown together, the food that they had sowed hoping to get a fair share, and not just for the rich. But they could only see the rich reaping their food away, their hard-earned food. But here they are now fighting tooth and nails, against everyone else in order to stay in the game, trying harder to barely survive. No one is happy, and they are so angry. But if you look closer, you will see that their fights weren’t supposed to be among themselves, at least not in this country.
Their fights should not be amongst themselves. Their fight should be against those who wronged them, those who fooled them into believing that they would be given their fair share of the great American dream. Their fight should be against those who lured them into a treacherous way, those who told them to fight- to win the best prize, which was rather small but too much to ask for. It is not a fair transaction anymore. The profit never trickled down into the economy, it never does. It goes against our human instinct, the same reason pure ideas never work, I think you would agree. So, now what? Everybody has a question: did they just fool themselves by trusting those who sworn to protect them? The founding fathers did not have vision of a such country. They imagined and thus designed a very robust system, but they never saw it coming, at lease not this quick- in less than 250 years. They gave us the ten commandments in the form of the constitution. They preached, they guided their future citizens’ ways into this land of laws by the rule of laws. They taught us why all men are created equal, and that no man is above the law. The whole point of having a democratic government in this republic was to protect the people by following simple rules. But the people forgot the whole premises of protecting each other and rather focused on the ‘rules’ part. They forgot that this constitution was created for the people by the people of the people. But meanwhile, they created a Frankenstein’s monster without knowing- a monster powerful enough to destroy the whole notion of its own existence. Ben Franklin put it at best, America will be a republic as long as we can keep it.
The same goes for its economic principles. I may disagree with some of your views often, but I never doubt your intentions. Having said that, I also believe that Capitalism is a fine concept, as fine as any other pure hypothetical concepts, and as long as our intentions are to keep them fine. It has a formula for how to win. But it is far from being perfect, it never said what do we do with the ones who have fallen, who have lost the battle but still in the war. We, as humans, are gullible and vulnerable. Our insecurity turns any tool into harmful weapons in no time. And thus Capitalism has also been used as a tool to harm. A system is neither good nor bad, it is as good as how it is to be used. Capitalism didn’t fail, we failed it. But again, nobody said that socialism would answer everything either. Nothing ever would answer everything. From an economic standpoint, where inequality is so enormous and can destroy everything in a brink, only socialism can institute a check on itself, if used properly. Only socialism can hold it together by distributing the resources fairly every once in a while among those who deserve the most. A country is as good as its happy citizens, and you can see America is not really happy, it is rather scared. Right now, America wants a better future but for everybody: an economy through cooperation.
America has always had many socialist policies, it is not new, you know it more than anyone. Let alone modern days’ social security, food stamps, subsidized public education, without socialism this country never even had most basic social structures, e.g., the police forces, the fire departments, the bridges, and even the army. People chipped in to create the military. But for what? For the citizens’ own security, so that they don’t have to go fight to protect their land from foreign invasion while they are busy farming, making other stuff. But eventually, the point changed to create the army for the sake of it, not the notion of safety anymore. Arthur Blair saw it coming, and he warned us, he warned the humanity of its own doom. I wonder would he be happy to see his darkest thoughts came true today. He would probably say, “Look at you fools, look what you have become.”
Now, the question is should we sit back and watch it fall? Do we even have the intention to stop? If yes, when do we react? Is it too late to reverse our course for the greater good? If yes, how do we turn it back in order to become truly progressive and to prevent the fall what is almost inevitable but preventable? This country is built by working-class, middle-class people. There used to be a time when they were taken care of or at least given the promise to be taken care of. Now, these people have every right to ask questions and hold them accountable. They have the right to ask whether the government serves its servicemen as they have served it. Does it serve the teachers as they serve it? Does it serve the farmers as they serve it? Does it serve the veterans, the doctors, the firemen, and all the workers, all the mothers, and fathers, the elders and everyone else as they served it, still serving it, and will continue to serve it? Do we keep enough for our children as they continue to grow up and help us grow old?
This country and the world need that good old hope that we will rebuild and grow out of this broken system. America doesn’t need a president who never believed in anything, never had to sacrifice anything to achieve something, who never felt the pain of losing something because he never had to lose anything. They need a leader who will lead them in this dark tunnel, who will rather listen to them. Who will respect others opinions and consult with them when they need to make a difficult choice for the country. Who will respect the values of the institutions. Who will honor the fallen and mourn their losses. Who will embrace the pain, who will sing with them when they mourn. Who will mend their soul in the darkest of the hours, who will rise to serve them. Who will treat everyone alike, who will not see difference between whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, immigrants, non-immigrants, rich, poor, blue collars, white collars, Christians, non-Christians, students, teachers, veterans, men, women, humans but the one and the United States of America and the world.
But that is a story of a utopia, isn’t it? This is what is supposed to happen but never happens anyway. We have to work with what we have got. We are not perfect. We may not be able to prevent the inevitable, but certainly can delay it, if we have the right intentions for it. Sir, I admire you, and I appreciate what you stand for throughout your entire life, and there is no ‘but’ coming in this sentence. I have studied you and never have doubted your intentions. I can vouch that you empathize with the people who are rather forgotten or ignored. You indeed want to help make this world a better place. And I have faith in you, sir. I do not know whether you would become the president, and get to use your good intentions. But at this moment, this country deserves you. You are no preacher of goodness to the souls of these people. You are not going to lead them into a new spiritual land of righteousness. But you certainly are the doctor who knows where the problem lies. You have the ability to heal the nation. As an international non-immigrant entity, neither I vote nor take any part in it. And I do not have any intentions or complains about that. I do not get to say how America should be run. Nevertheless, I am writing to you becasue I care. I am not sure whether the country realizes what is at stake, I wish it does. So, please do not stop believing that you can do it. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. But we cannot just stop fighting for what we believe is right, what makes us good.
And thank you for standing up, for stepping forward, for walking the walk, and for believing the goodness in humanity. I wish you all the best.