(to my son, and any sons and daughters who might be listening)
A few months ago, during the primary elections, you asked your dad, “If Donald Trump hates women, will he send Mommy away?” Your dad reassured you but later, when you were asleep, I reminded him that while Trump may not send your mommy away, he and his team have threatened to send other people's mommies away.
That same year, you learned about segregation. You informed us, over dinner, that “in the olden days,” people were divided by skin color. “We wouldn’t have been able to be together, “you told a friend sadly. We told you those days were long gone.
I’d also like to remind you, in case you forget someday, that the morning after the election when I told you that Trump had won, your response was: “I’m going to punch him in the penis.” And I told you that’s not the kind of battle we’re going to wage. I told you, “There is a fine tradition of rebellion in our country,” and I told you everything I could remember about the American Revolution. You asked how many guns they had, and I said they didn’t win because of guns; they won because they were on the side of freedom. And, like the rebels in Star Wars, they used their brains and their hearts. And the Force. “They had blasters in Star Wars,” you reminded me frowning.
And while we may not use blasters – please, God – make no mistake, we are part of this new revolutionary war, fighting for freedom however we can. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I’d like to tell you that it’s going to be peaceful. But I can’t make promises. I do know, I will always encourage you to follow the path of kindness and justice. And try not to kick anyone in the penis.
Because the thing is, we aren’t going to let this administration or any other separate mothers from their children. Nobody is sending anybody’s mommy away if I can help it. We’re not going to let a group of scared old men tell you who you can love (or marry). We’re not going to let anyone separate us from our friends.
And on the topic of scared old men, I’d like to warn you: be wary of White America. As a Jew, you will never be white enough for most of them. Even when our friends see you as one of “them,” you must know that you are not. You come from Polish peasants, Jews who ran from pogrom to death camp to America. And you must never stand by while any other group is threatened the way your people were once threatened. You must stand on the side of the oppressed. The Buddhists say, “Remember, you came to free all sentient beings.”
And so I will also remind you that just this morning you asked me what the word “ethical” means. I tried my best to find language appropriate for a just-turned-six year old. But I want it to be your job in the coming years, for the rest of your life really, to find an adequate definition for that word – and then, live by it.
Nobody knows what’s coming. But we’re going to be radical love warriors. We’ll stand strong, together, in the face of whatever comes. And we’ll keep each other happy while fighting. Remember Emma Goldman, a kickass Jewish lady who told us to find a revolution we can dance to.
Never doubt that you are up to the challenge. Within you, there is a piece of whatever we think of as God. Within each of us lies the antidote to hatred. And we need that medicine, now more than ever.
Bring it forth, please.