Dear Mr. President

Thanks For Being The Absolute Worst

In this month’s Teen Vogue Hillary Clinton offers some pretty solid advice in a letter to her teenage self, including this classic bit of mom-wisdom: “Always send thank-you notes.”

I voted for this woman twice so I followed her suggestion and wrote a one-year-election-anniversay thank you letter to President Trump. Consider it a gratitude list for everything he’s accomplished.

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Dear [Editor’s note: Sorry, Hillary, I just can’t.] Mr. President,

Thank you for being absolutely, incredibly, terrifyingly worse than I actually thought possible. You have exceeded my expectations. I spent last November 9 in a teary-eyed fugue state so my expectations for awfulness were really, really high. Congratulations! You have forced me to accept a level of blatant, inhuman indecency I had not previously thought tenable.

In the beginning, I bookmarked examples of your indisputable fabrications and unapologetic hate speech as a reminder to stay enraged; in the event that you cloaked your nefariousness or walked back your rhetoric, I didn’t want to forget or get numb.

HA!

Thank you for being so artless in your acts of deception.

Thank you for exposing the ignorance of claims like: I didn’t vote for you, but I want to be able to support you.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to draw a giant vulva on a piece of hot-pink poster board, decorate it with glitter, and parade it around my hometown.

Thank you for drop-kicking me out of complacency.

Thank you for reminding me that for some people, words—in a locker room, on the campaign trail, on Twitter—are not enough to cripple a campaign or turn outrage into action. Words don’t matter to you. They matter to me. Thank you for forcing me to think harder, speak more clearly, and act accordingly. You’re a great foil.

On the subject of words, as you continue to manipulate and abuse them, thank you for reminding us to call it like we see it.

   Now is the time to forge new words. ‘Alt-right’ is benign. ‘White-supremacist right’ is more accurate.”—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thank you for being relentless in your racism.

Thank you for making me sit in the deep discomfort of my own white privilege.

Thank you for giving rise to citizen-powered groups like Swing Left, Sister District, Flippable, and Indivisible that helped elect the first openly transgender candidate to a state legislature, the first openly transgender African-American woman to the city council of a major U.S. city, and New Jersey’s first Sikh mayor.

Thank you for making the full list of firsts in this week’s election especially poignant.

Thank you for motivating young women in Texas to stage a quinceañera-themed immigration reform protest at the state capitol in winking tiaras and full-skirted ballgowns. Thank you for galvanizing a 7 and 11-year-old in Pennsylvania to sue you over your proposed rollback of the Clean Power Plan.

Thank you for politicizing those too young to vote.

Thank you for making cities, states, colleges, and businesses commit to reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions when you wouldn’t. Thank you for reminding us that we are all agents of change.

Thank you for reminding us that our public lands are worth protecting, should be affordable for everyone, and didn’t belong to most of us in the first place.

Thank you for reminding us that we’re a country of immigrants and dreamers and protestors, often all at the same time.

Thank you for reminding us what it means to #DressLikeAWoman.

Thank you for hiring this press secretary. Seriously, deep bow.

Melissa Mccarthy This Is Soapy Water And Im Using It To Wash Your Filthy Lying Mouth GIF by Saturday Night Live - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thank you for exposing the fault lines in the ways we raise and treat the men and boys in this country. Thank you for making toxic masculinity a phrase we use in our attempts to explain mass shootings, domestic abuse, violence, a culture of harassment, and rape.

Thank you for embodying the shadow side of our collective unconscious.

Thank you for putting our country through collective trauma so we can heal our individual hurts and get to work fixing this fucked-up system together.

Thank you for being a cartoon version of unchecked ego.

Thank you for turning up the volume on Carmen Yulin Cruz’s megaphone. She’s legit.

Thank you for reminding us of all the transgender members of the military. So sorry to hear about your bone spurs.

Thank you for inspiring people to visit airports in their free time. That, sir, is one of your most impressive feats.

Thank you for vilifying peaceful protestors again and again. It is really good to know that protests make a difference. Thank you for never playing it cool so we know when we’ve gotten under your skin.

Thank you for forcing me to confront my previous lack of protesting. Thank you for waking me up to the reality that I can’t talk about gender without talking about race. Thank you for making movements into something concrete I can throw my time, money, and energy into, not an abstract idea in air quotes that other people, more passionate than I, will handle.

Thank you for plunging me into despair and forcing me to look at this country from the moon, to see it from the vantage point of death.

    If you can see a thing whole it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives. . . . But close up, a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you loose the pattern. You need distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful earth is, is to see it from the moon. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death.”—Ursula K. Le Guin

And speaking of the solar system, thank you for not wearing those special glasses. That was, hands down, my favorite part of the eclipse.

Yours in rage.

~ Alison

A P.S. to our readers: If you have thanks of your own, please add them below. I’m sure we’re missing some; it’s been hard to keep track of so many blessings.

Photography by Jeremy Galliani 

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  • Thank you for making me so enraged that I realized my potential. Watching you win (and watching her lose) made me want to fight that much harder. We are stronger than you, we are smarter than you. In listening to your completely unaware, bigoted words, I found my own and am using them against you and your hateful speech. Rather than continuing to sit on the sidelines, thank you for making me speak up for the first time. I will use my voice against yours, and together (oddly and sadly we are in this together) this world WILL be a better place – because we the people are not sitting down or staying quiet – we have risen and we will succeed.

Author: Alison Baenen

Alison is a freelance writer, yoga teacher, and unprofessional watercolorist who lives in Los Angeles (most of the time). She recently started eating bread again. It's delicious.

 alison.baenen@gmail.com | https://www.alisonbaenen.com/