Letter to Ivanka
About your Dad, your Dreams,
and the Women's March
I have been thinking so much about you lately. I haven't heard you talk much, but I did hear your speech at the Republican Convention and I thought you did a great job. I know you love your dad, and I am glad for that. Your own love for him is something I keep in mind as I struggle with his persona and my own feelings toward him. I want to imagine him as you see him. I think this can be a corrective to my image. I also like to imagine him with your children sitting in his lap.
It must be very painful to know that many people hate your dad, when you know a side of him they do not. Perhaps you just block it out. In any case, I'm sorry fpr you and for all of us, including those whose feelings have been so deeply hurt by things he's said and is doing.
I worry about your dad, too. I can hardly imagine him leaving his associates at night and going "home" to an empty chamber in the White House, with television sets galore (set to Fox news for comfort and CNN for rage) but no family (no Michelle, Malia, Natasha) to give him perspective and love. And no one to visit him on a regular basis who brings a truly gentling, spiritually sensitive demeanor. As far as I can tell, all of his spiritual advisors are of the zealous, evangelical type.
I really wish he had a spiritual friend, a good listener who can laugh with him, who is not afraid of him, who is not enamored of his power, who does not care about his wealth, and who loves him as a person. Right now he is a bustling, booming train engine, filled with anger and a loneliness he doesn't understand, making decisions constantly, tweeting responses, and on his way to a crash, bringing others with him, despite any genuinely good intentions he might have. Yes, I worry about him.
Help your dad; he needs you. Find a good, gentle rabbi and send the rabbi to your dad. Or, since your dad is a Presbyterian, find a Christian soul guide. I know some in the DC area; I can help you.
Hopes of Women and Men at the Women's March, Jan. 21, 2017
"Bread. A Clean Sky. Active peace. A woman's voice singing somewhere, melody drifting like smoke from the cookfires. The army disbanded, the harvest abundant. The wound healed, the child wanted, the prisoner freed, the body's integrity honored, the lover returned. The magical skill that reads marks into meaning. The labor equal, fair, and valued. Delight in the challenge for consensus to solve problems. No hand raised in any gesture but greeting. Secure interiors - of heart, home, land, - so firm as to make secure borders irrelevant at last. And everywhere laughter, care, celebration, dancing, contentment. A humble, early paradise, in the now. We will make it real, make it our own, make policy, history, peace, make it available, make mischief, a difference, love, the connection, the miracle, ready. Believe it. We are the women who will transform the world."
-- Robin Morgan
I worry a little about you, too. I know that, deep down, you wished you could have been part of the Women's March on January 21, because you share the worldview of so many of its participants. That's really what's going on: a clash of worldviews. There are some who picture the best of all possible worlds as America First and there are some who wish for a world which is a Community of Communities of Communities, with America as a partner to other nations. I'm pretty sure you are in the second camp.
There is a poem I want to share with you (see above) written by the poet Robin Morgan for the Beijing conference on women in 1994. The words articulate the hopes of women then and women now. They are your hopes, too.
For my part, I was at the march in San Antonio, Texas, on January 21, with my wife Kathy. I'm including some pictures below. That's Kathy on the bottom row, in the picture in the middle, pushing some children in the strollers. I can so easily picture you there alongside Kathy, doing the same thing, with Jared and your three children.
People picture your dad as in the American First camp, pure and simple. Maybe so, but I bet that's not the whole of it. Something tells me that part of him wants to do good for the whole world. You can help him.
Jay McDaniel, Arkansas, USA