January 30, 2017
President, United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Greetings. I have decided to attempt to write to you every week of your Presidency. Perhaps it is a way to try to make a connection between a heartland citizen and his President, though I doubt your eyes will ever view these letters. Most likely, this action is more for my own good (a therapy, of sorts), for your words and actions to this point deeply trouble me.
In one week, you have certainly acted with the boldness upon which you campaigned, issuing a robust number of executive orders intended to set a distinctive course for your Presidency. Certain people will praise you for your boldness, for it makes you appear as a decisive, strong leader. It is not boldness that concerns me, however, but lack of prudence and wisdom.
In issuing rapid-fire edicts in the first week of your Administration, you and your advisors have acted on the presumption that your understanding of governance and issues facing America and the world are definitively superior to all, that the manner in which these have been addressed in the recent past are wrong, and that consultation with Congress and resources outside The White House are unnecessary. This is, to me, unwise.
It may be that you and your advisors have already developed a level of groupthink that is self-justifying, circular, insular, and self-defensive. This would not be surprising; it would just be tragic for your Presidency. It would defy one of your campaign statements in which you said you would bring the brightest and best minds together to understand problems and address them winningly.
Instead, it appears you have chosen an “I know best” approach and have hastily rolled out sea-changing orders. It appears that the long-denied interests and passions of your inner circle have been initially satisfied. It appears that you have—instead of leading—cowed to their desires.
What I look for in your Presidency is evidence of thorough deliberation, meditated consideration, weighing fully and carefully an array of facts, options and opportunities. And I look for some evidence that there is awareness and thought of those who are not at the table to speak for or defend themselves. So far, this is not evident. I hope it will soon develop.
John Franklin Hay