September 26, 2020
Dear Mr. President,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. No, it’s not about your poll numbers; I have faith that you will do something to change them, even if I don’t know whether your numbers will go up or down. My heart is very heavy from the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Every picture, every ceremony and every ritual of Jewish mourning seen and heard this week, has brought me to tears. Our rabbi shared a video clip of her reading the Prayer for Our Country that is found in our prayer book Here are a few of the words of this prayer that she read: “May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of this country”. Can you see why I’ve been tearful? My heavy heart is also about the appearance that you and Senator McConnell and all but two of the Republican senators seem gleeful about her death and your opportunity to name another justice to the Supreme Court. It’s the “glee” that makes me sad and angry and worried about “our ideals and free institutions”. It’s the utter lack of feeling or respect for what she stood for. It’s also the knowledge that with your nominee on the Court, there may be a reversal of Roe v Wade and/or an overturning of the Affordable Health Care Act. That would not be good for the country.Anyhow, you know me, I’m not able to stay demoralized, depressed and disgusted for too long. My nature is to feel more balanced and even-tempered. Sure, I worry about the continuing and lasting effects of the Donald Trump Virus, the disasters caused by climate change, social unrest due to blatant racism and lack of social justice, and a million other serious problems, but I know there are solutions for these issues. It will take more than reciting the Prayer for the Country. I look forward to hearing from you what your ideas are on “forging a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry”.
With all due respect, I don’t think I’ve heard you speak on this topic.In the spirit of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, I have some ideas for you for positive changes in your life and the life of our country. Please read through the statements in the “Al Chet” prayer (For the Sins We have Committed) that is the centerpiece of the liturgy for this day. It’s recited in the plural so as not to embarrass anyone. There is quite a long list but I’m sure you will find some that are relevant for you. The day gives us the opportunity to take an account of our actions, before G-d and before other human beings and to really think about how to change for the better.
My last idea to help you change is for you to make time to practice for the debates. Everyone knows you don’t like to prepare, and you certainly have a way of speaking off the cuff, but that may not be the best strategy. You have some wild accusations about VP Biden that are just offensive, not funny nor true, so leave them out. You may want to insinuate negative things about his son, although, be careful as your older sons have some shade on them, so no to that approach as well. In short, maybe prepare answers for policy questions that you may be asked. You may be asked how to work toward mitigating climate change or social injustice or how to prevent more people from getting sick and dying. Another question may be how to be a president for all the people. Good luck.