Thank you for your participation in our democratic process and for the care and thoughtfulness that I feel certain must be a part of your decision making process. I am a college professor at a university in rural North Carolina, a state where my family has lived since the 1700s. Over the course of Governor Pat McCrory's time in office, I have watched as funding for our public schools and universities has been cut, environmental protections have been gutted, fair access to the right to vote and access to women's health care have been limited. McCrory finally conceded to Roy Cooper just this week, and I am hugely relieved, even as I know that Cooper will have a difficult (if not impossible) time enacting significant change, given the republican supermajority in our legislature. Nonetheless, I now have some hope for the future.
The future after the 2016 presidential election, on the other hand, terrifies me. Given the things that he said and did prior to the election, I was already worried about what a Trump presidency would mean for the rights of the citizens of this country and for the health of the planet. I worried about the overt and explicit racism that has now, as expected, lead to an increase in hate crimes and harassment. I worried about the misogyny that I watched be made acceptable by a candidate who has a vile record of using the most reprehensible rhetoric about women -- not to mention assaulting them with impunity -- and as a woman, I watched the campaign play out in ways that challenged my own sense of self, my self worth, my value as a human being. And I watched as a qualified woman lost the election to an incompetent man, a person with no experience in politics.
Now I am watching as our president elect appoints cabinet members with no experience, people who I fear will do irreparable harm to the most vulnerable members of our society. The president elect has chosen white nationalist Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. He has chosen school voucher advocate Betsy DeVos as his secretary of education. But the choice of Scott Pruitt, an avowed climate change denialist to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is the choice that terrifies me the most -- and it is the reason for which i am writing to you today.
This choice is clearly about the influence of the fossil fuel industry; it has nothing to do with protections of any kind, except for the protection of that industry. This is about dismantling, not leading, the EPA. It's about denying our responsibility to care for our natural resources not only for the citizens of this country but also for the rest of the world. The pick of Pruitt signals the unmaking of our country and our planet. Four or, heaven forbid, eight years of what happens next will take us to places from which it will be impossible to return. It will lead to damage impossible to repair.
I write to ask that you please vote for Hillary Clinton on December 19. I realize that you're unlikely to do this, but I also feel that I have a moral and ethical obligation to ask you, to try to convince you of the gravity of your choice, and the reality of what it means to do otherwise. Thank you for your service to our country, and thanks as well for taking the time to read my letter.