My Sweet Boy,
Early this morning, Donald Trump became our country’s next president. You slept on the floor of our friend’s living room, cradling Kermit the Frog under your arm, while I lay on the couch in a haze of numbness and disbelief.
At 18 months old, you won’t remember this night or the months that led up to it. You won’t remember when we hopped on a plane to Cleveland to canvass for Hillary in a retirement community, where an 89-year-old Hillary supporter named Marilyn stroked your hair and shared that she’s waited her whole life to see a woman in the White House.
You won’t remember when we canvassed in rural New Hampshire, pushing your stroller up a long, steep road to the home of a man named Timothy who sawed through a deer carcass that swung from the ceiling of his garage, while a dead bear slumped at his feet. As it turned out, Timothy was a Hillary supporter, too.
And you won’t remember when a Black Baptist church in Mississippi was torched and vandalized with the words “Vote Trump” spray-painted on its exterior wall.
But this election affects you as much as it affects me. It is a bridge to your future and your past. Your great, great grandparents died in Auschwitz at the hands of a dictator. Your great grandparents survived his efforts to destroy them. And their children, your Saba and Savta, spent their childhood in the shadows of a repressive Communist regime in Romania.
A Trump presidency is a terror they never imagined they would experience in the United States. But it has happened. It is real. And this election is a cruel reminder that the evils of our past can all too easily re-emerge to poison the present and future.
Your life is different from the lives of many boys in the United States. You have two moms who work full-time outside of the home. You have a female pediatrician, a female rabbi, and a grandmother with a PhD—experiences that were entirely unavailable to women just a few decades ago.
I thought you would wake up this morning with a female president-elect—a leader who fights for women, workers, healthcare, and human rights. A president who would ensure that your two moms would be treated with dignity, that your Jewish family would always be safe. But our country wasn’t ready for that. The rhetoric of our election exposed the potency of ignorance, racism, sexism, and xenophobia.
I don’t know what the contours of our future will hold, but I know we will need to hold each other close. We will need to be kind. We will need to be loving. We will need to dream. We will need to act. We will need to harness empathy and courage, optimism and imagination, to make the world better.
Today you are a toddler who loves tractor wheels and front-loaders; stacking blocks and spinning pinwheels. These next four years of a Trump presidency will mark a sea-change in the life of our global community and a sea-change in your life as well: you’ll learn to count, to jump, to talk, to make friends.
And soon, you will learn to remember. And when you do, I hope you will remember this: The will to survive is in your blood. The courage to pull people out of the depths of despair is woven through your DNA. That’s the story of your heritage. And your name in Hebrew means “I have light.”
You will not remember this day or this year. But I hope you will remember that even in times of darkness—marked by bruises and stings; hatred and heartache—there is sunlight in the morning.
I love you.