Saturday, October 8, 2016

275. Another letter to Melanie

Dear Melanie,

Have you been following this election? The only reason I ask is that when I was your age, I saw Vice President Al Gore and Senator Paul Wellstone speak at a Labor Day picnic. I remember keeping up with all the election results that year. If you have been doing the same as I did back then, I’m so, so sorry. I’m sure your mom and dad tell you to be nice to people. It’s a shame that our political campaigns can’t follow that same rule.

A recent video recording from a certain presidential candidate inspired this letter to you. I’ll leave it up to your parents to explain it when they think you are ready. (I don’t envy them.) That man said some awful, vile, and nasty things. Things I hope you never have to hear.  

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was when someone told me that your true character shows when you think no one else is looking. You should always keep that in mind when you think you are by yourself. Watch what you say. Watch what you do. Sometimes, if I’m standing by myself somewhere, I’ll pick up trash. I don’t do it all the time, but it makes you feel good, you make the world a little better, and if someone sees you doing it, they’ll be instantly impressed. Don’t say stupid things because you don’t think anyone will hear you, pick up trash instead.

I’m so glad you got to know your GG for at least a little bit. She was an inspiration to me, and I still think about her a lot. She was such a kind and thoughtful woman. I try to live up to what she taught me.

I’m also so glad you have wonderful women to look up to in life. Your grandma, mom, and aunts are all wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful, and strong women who I admire all for different reasons. They’ve all had unique and great careers, they’ve raised wonderful families, and I enjoy spending time with all of them. That is not something that’s easy to do.

Don’t let men (or other women) objectify you. Don’t hang around with people who make you feel small or awful. Hang out with people who inspire you, who make you want to be a better person, and who encourage you through thick and thin.

I don’t think you’re mom is expecting you to be perfect in life, but another lesson in all of this is to be sincere with your apologies. It doesn’t look good to make haphazard apologies. Take the blame when it is your fault, and be humble about it. It’s not easy to do, but I guarantee that you’ll have to apologize for something at some point in your life.  

This has been an exhausting presidential campaign, and I didn’t even do any real work for it. I’m sorry that you’ll have to live with all of this. Another piece of advice I have is that sometimes it’s good to step away from the cesspool of the internet. You don’t always need to argue or be outraged by something. It’s sometimes good to step out of those things and enjoy the good things in life. Even with all the dumb stuff happening, the world is still a good place.

I promise.

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