The Letter A Singer Wrote About Trump Is Powerful

by Lani Seelinger
George Frey/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The saga about which artists will perform at President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration just took another turn. Now, a member of the Mormon Tabernacle choir has resigned rather than sing on Inauguration Day. As she announced in an emotional letter on Facebook, five-year choir member Jan Chamberlain simply could not "in good conscience" remain a member of a group which is implicitly supporting Trump by participating in the celebration of his ascension to the presidency.

In her letter, she expresses the difficulty of her decision, saying that she has "spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony [and] reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched [her] soul." She goes on to say how important the choir has been as a part of her life and her faith, and how she became a member in order to honor her father, "an expert airforce [sic] bomber [who] hated tyranny and was extremely distraught over the holocaust [sic]." She then emphasizes her patriotism and her support for the freedom everywhere, saying that she is "troubled by the problems we face which seek to destroy our love for liberty and respect for humanity internationally."

The most striking part of the letter, though, is Chamberlin's deep comparison of Trump to Hitler. Beyond just putting the words out there, Chamberlin goes into the exact ways in which, as she says, "history is repeating itself." Trump, as she sees it, has "[identified] a problem, [found] a scapegoat target to blame, and [stirred] up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and [gathered] the funding" — all tactics that, she says, Hitler also used.

Chamberlin makes it clear that her decision to resign from the choir was a moral issue for her, and she begs others to look at the lessons history offers for themselves. Apparently, she's not alone in her thinking; a petition asking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir not to perform at the inauguration has so far garnered almost 20,000 signatures. In response, a spokesman for the Choir said that the performance would be voluntary for all members, and that their inauguration performances in the past a future were not to be taken as support of one party or politician in particular.

As Chamberlin put it, though, "Looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and facism [sic] by singing for this man." The Choir may not be able to control how people see their actions from the outside, but now at least one of its members has cleared her conscience by making the decision not to participate in what she sees as a hugely damaging action.