“I have often … in the course of the session … looked at that sun behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun. – Dr. Benjamin Franklin as quoted by James Madison upon the signing of the U.S. Constitution, September 17, 1787
An Open Letter to Mr. Donald J. Trump
Dear Mr. President-Elect,
I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have felt like to have the weight of the entire world land on your shoulders as it did only ten days ago. You have my prayer that your stewardship may be righteous and wise.
What an extraordinary opportunity you have been given by the people of this country! You not only won the job, but you managed to do so with almost NO prior commitments to satisfy, no grand donors to please, and not even, really, much of a platform to constrain you, though you have accepted the one proffered by the Republicans, at least for now, even if much of it is contrary to your instincts and history.
Consequently, you must surely be thinking already about how best to make the most of your “clean page,” how best to write into history a Trumpian legacy that can only be seen as so profound, so right, and so brilliant an accomplishment for the future of all Americans, that we would all be looking for the best way to add another face to Mount Rushmore. No incoming President in history has ever been so free to shape a new tomorrow as you now are, so what shall you do with such an open invitation? Well, I have an idea for you.
You may not like it at first blush, but I urge you to give yourself a little time to let it sink in and work out the ramifications. I believe it will grow on you. It comes in the form of an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and here it is:
“No person or persons, corporation or business entity of any kind shall be allowed to gain speculative profit from the suffering of any human person or persons, where suffering is defined as any and all illness, injury, birth anomaly, death, bereavement, imprisonment, destitution, loss of property or the value of said property.”
Now, before you stop reading please give me a chance to elaborate. This is specifically about profit gained over and above the cost of doing business where monies paid in to provide actual goods and services are minimized so that monies syphoned away to pay to speculative investors can be maximized. There is nothing in this proposed Amendment to prevent the owner/operator of the Acme Funeral Home from making his fortune by paying himself a million dollars a month in salary if he wants to, or Pfizer from paying their CEO a billion. That is not profit, as you well know, that’s operating expense, however dubious. Nor does this amendment dis-incentivize the research and development of medicines or medical advances, it simply ensures that the monies made in the sales of drugs and medical equipment go into enhanced research and development, rather than advertising, promotion and all other expenses geared to delivering profit for shareholders. And, yes, it also would mean that all insurance companies would have to convert to the not-for-profit model already in use by many of them. A few adjustments, surely, Mr. Trump, but on balance, a vast improvement in life on earth for all of us.
As long as suffering is profitable, Mr. President-elect, the unfettered capitalist – and we all know a few – will be incentivized to encourage it. Private prisons will continue to lobby for stiffer laws, harsher sentences and bloated populations NOT because they are wise, but because they are profitable – human suffering be damned. Likewise, hospitals will continue to extract every last possible drop of money from their patients not because extra tests or procedure are needed, but to increase the return on investment for their shareholders; and funeral parlors… well, you see my point.
HOWEVER, if you, the capitalist’s capitalist, can pull off such a groundbreaking change in life in America – such an enormous improvement in the life of every single American – then you will be right up there with Mr. Lincoln, it seems to me, as the man who, once and for all, freed human suffering from the clutches of unbridled capitalist greed.
You have a clean page here, Mr. President-elect, an unheard-of gift for an incoming political leader. My sincere prayer is that you will make the most of it, for the most of us, in the most positive possible way. Delivered with love, this is my proposed solution.
“I see things as they never were, and say, ‘Why not?’”
– Robert F. Kennedy
Thank you for your time and attention.
George Thomas Wilson
© 2016 by George Thomas Wilson. All rights reserved but you may copy, paste, share, send or reproduce at will.