This is the city: Los Angeles, California. I work here. I'm an ex-mayor. Los Angeles is a magnet for people from all over the world. Some of them run for public office. Inevitably some of them stray from the golden rule and rule for those that have the gold. That's when I go to work. My name is Yorty. I'm a dead pol.
I am writing to you today because this weekend will mark your first Memorial Day Weekend as President. I would imagine that tomorrow you will be very busy attending ceremonies and giving speeches. I am a bit concerned about this because in the past you have shown a tendency to be critical of the United States of America and the policies that this country has followed for the last few decades. Mr. President, on Memorial Day, this type of attitude will not be acceptable. Not just to me, but to most citizens of our nation.
I can offer you some advice. As a former member of the military myself, I can tell you that leaders like yourself - men who have never worn a uniform or taken that oath - are generally viewed with subtle suspicion by both active and former military members. It is important to overcome this hurdle of trust by letting your service members know exactly where you stand, loyalty-wise. I thought I might include this video of one of your predecessors, former President Ronald Reagan. He was phenomenally popular with the American public for several reasons, but the most important reason was that he didn't let us down. He kept a steady hand while guiding us through difficult times. He looked like a President, he sounded like a President, and most importantly, he acted like a President.
I am not saying you should just copy him or his style...you have your own personal style. But if you can end your term as President being even half as popular as Ronald Reagan, you will be able to call yourself a success.
Five minutes into the video, President Reagan seems truly in awe of the achievements of the veterans who surround him. The men who stormed the beaches at Normandy and liberated Europe.
"Why did you do it?", he asked them.
Their unspoken answer? They did it because they are Americans.
They did what we Americans always do... we spread the message of freedom by protecting the freedoms of others. We have been smashing evil worldwide since 1776. It is a part of our identity, a part of who we are. You could say it is in our DNA.
This American "arrogance"(?) that you like to talk about when criticizing our country? I don't see it.
I see a world where there are hundreds of millions of people who are alive today, thanks to the efforts of the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces. Many, but not all, are thankful for it.
This "failed capitalism"(?) that you like to talk about in your speeches? This is the same Capitalism that allowed us to turn our automobile factories into tank factories...to turn our airliner factories into bomber factories. Our belief in capitalism and a free market economy allowed us to save the world from the horrors of Nazi fascism, and later on, from the horrors of Soviet-style Communism. Although many Europeans currently enjoy the freedom of sitting back and making sarcastic comments about our elected American leaders...all of them...deep in their hearts... they know that modern-day Europe would not exist as it does at this moment without American leadership.
Mr. President, I did not vote for you , and to be honest, I have been stunned and in disbelief at some of your political decisions lately. However, our country and its future are far more important than any political issues we face at home, so I will hope that you will be a success on an international level. American ideologies of freedom and free markets need to succeed. The world is counting on us. America is too important.
Even our rivals would not want to live in a world where America fails to live up to its potential.