Politics - News Analysis

13 Presidential Libraries Release Ominous Letter Explaining How Dangerous Trump Is

The libraries and foundations of 13 former presidential administrations have come together to send out what they’re calling “an urgent call to action for all Americans.”

Those signing the document they put out include viewpoints from all sides, representative of such presidents as Obama, Reagan, Nixon, Kennedy, Clinton — even Herbert Hoover. And the warning that they’re talking about is the shifting nature of politics in America in general.

In what was clearly a reference to what’s been happening in America since the 2016 election, the signers of the letter cited “the importance of compassion, tolerance, pluralism, and respect for others.” We haven’t seen much of that in a while.

During the Trump administration, his voters and fans were encouraged and even incentivized to be less than civil. And honestly, that’s a pretty soft way of saying it. From the resurgence of overt white supremacy to something as simple as the “Let’s Go Brandon” phase, America has been seeing the disintegration of the values we used to hold dear.

The full text of the letter is here:

The unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, are principles that bind us together as Americans. They have enabled the United States to strive toward a more perfect union, even when we have not always lived up to those ideals.

As a diverse nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, democracy holds us together. We are a country rooted in the rule of law, where the protection of the rights of all people is paramount. At the same time, we live among our fellow citizens, underscoring the importance of compassion, tolerance, pluralism, and respect for others.

We, the undersigned, represent a wide range of views across a breadth of issues. We recognize that these views can exist peaceably side by side when rooted in the principles of democracy. Debate and disagreement are central features in a healthy democracy. Civility and respect in political discourse, whether in an election year or otherwise, are essential.

Americans have a strong interest in supporting democratic movements and respect for human rights around the world because free societies elsewhere contribute to our own security and prosperity here at home. But that interest is undermined when others see our own house in disarray. The world will not wait for us to address our problems, so we must both continue to strive toward a more perfect union and help those abroad looking for U.S. leadership.

Each of us has a role to play and responsibilities to uphold. Our elected officials must lead by example and govern effectively in ways that deliver for the American people. This, in turn, will help to restore trust in public service. The rest of us must engage in civil dialogue; respect democratic institutions and rights; uphold safe, secure, and accessible elections; and contribute to local, state, or national improvement.

By signing this statement, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of democracy undergirding this great nation, protecting our freedom, and respecting our fellow citizens. When united by these convictions, America is stronger as a country and an inspiration for others.

It ends with a list of those who signed it, about half representing Republican administrations and half Democratic.

Hopefully, we can eventually return to the kind of respect and civility America once knew. In the meantime, we can only do individually what we hope to see from the rest of the country.


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