A letter of hope to Melanija Knavs Trump

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January 20, 2017

 

Dear Mrs. Trump,

After your husband takes the oath of office of the President of the United States today, you will officially become the First Lady.

While the title doesn’t specify much beyond ceremonial duties, I ask that you rise to the occasion and find a purpose of magnitude in this role for the next four years.

You will be the only First Lady, to date, who has immigrated to the United States and we are a nation of immigrants. You became an American citizen in 2006. Please remember that others, just like you, deserve the same chance. So do the people that are the complete opposite of you. Not everyone is destined to become an international fashion model and marry into money. That’s what makes our country so diverse and extraordinary.

Raised in a modest apartment in Slovenia, you understand humble beginnings. Life wasn’t always luxury, extravagance and Mar-a-Lago opulence.

Speaking six languages will give you an undisputed edge as you represent our country abroad and as the hostess of official state and diplomatic functions at the White House. In 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy spoke fluent French on her first official visit to France with President John F. Kennedy. She won the entire country over. You have the ability to do just that, so don’t be afraid to speak up, in any language.

I imagine you to be a most gracious and dignified hostess.  Your state dinners will be elegant affairs but I hope not too stuffy and rehearsed. Try not to add too much glitter and glamour to the Annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. There is no decorum when the Easter Bunny is present and the grass is swarming with children and decorated wooden eggs.

Between you and Donald there are five children and eight grandchildren. Small children in the White House give it humanity and the unapologetic freedom to loosen up a bit. Let there be bicycles, teddy bears and wet bathing suits to soften the harshness of dirty politics and three am tweets.

Throughout the presidential campaign, I couldn’t help but think you wanted nothing to do with these shenanigans. Often you looked like being on the campaign trail was extremely uncomfortable. Probably not what you thought possible in your wildest dreams. Did you hope your husband would finally say, “It’s been a great ride, but enough now. I’ve had my fun, time to get back to business,” and bow out?

I imagined you tossing and turning on sleepless nights asking, “Where did Donald get this crazy idea to run for President? I want to live quietly in New York and get my old life back. I didn’t ask for this nonsense. Get me off this stage. Now.”

No you didn’t ask for this, but your husband did.  And then he won the election.  Now the entire world is watching.

Life has a funny way of not always cooperating with our best laid plans. Often wives of very powerful men are forced to make sacrifices against their better judgement. Move to a new location for a job. Rarely be together. Endure scandals and humiliation. Be married to the leader of the most admired democracy on earth but at what cost?

You can either hide, well-protected in the penthouse of Trump Tower in New York, or become a First Lady of substance and accomplishment on Pennsylvania Avenue.

What will it be?

I sincerely hope that you chose the later.

Cyberbullying is often mentioned as the social cause you would like to focus on.  Good for you. I agree it’s a serious issue worth fighting for and causes undue pain and heartache, especially in young adults. You will have a position of power and unlimited resources to get this underway and make a difference. Kick off those high heels and get to work. America will love you for it. Really we will. Don’t hide and become a recluse. Crack a joke with the media now and then. Go out on a limb and get to know real, hardworking, everyday people. We may surprise you.

Step out of that glass tower and inhale a breath of fresh air.

The American people have always embraced those that roll up their sleeves and get to work.

When fashion designers declared they would refuse to dress you after the election, I felt sorry for you. You did nothing wrong. You are not a politician. You did not run for office.

If designers have problems with your husband, then deal with him directly. When designers want to preach inclusivity and diversity, then why shun you?  They are guilty of the same crime.

Lashing out at you was cruel and disrespectful.

You will look smashing in Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld. (Doesn’t everybody?) Hold that pretty head of hair up high.

Lady Bird Johnson promoted planting wildflowers along our highways.

Nancy Reagan encouraged us to “Just Say No” to drugs.

Laura Bush established a literacy program both domestically and globally, “Ready to Read, Ready to Learn,” along with AIDS and malaria relief.

Michelle Obama established her “Let’s Move!” initiative to encourage children to eat healthy and exercise. “Joining Forces” was created to support military families, “Reach Higher,” to promote education beyond high school, and “Let Girls Learn,” to increase educational opportunities for girls worldwide.

Find your legacy.

Aim high.

I will be in your corner, Melania, because to write you off on your first day on the job is unproductive and futile.

Congratulations on becoming the First Lady of the United States of America.

Now it’s in your hands.

 

With hope,

Very Terry

 

 

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