Image from Obama White House Archives
Tonight you will be lighting the National Christmas Tree and taking part in the ceremonies of the evening. I hope that you have taken the time to visit the website, which provides a historical look at the ceremony.
There are 95 years of history involved in this event, which takes place virtually right outside your door in President’s Park. This is part of the National Park Service whose budget you have wanted to slash. Luckily, there is enough money for lighting the tree, lights paid for by General Electric.
According to the website, this “American holiday tradition continues to bring citizens together to share in a message of hope and peace.” You will be stepping up to light the tree just as Calvin Coolidge did in 1923. I can only hope that you will honor this country and this event with the grace and humility it requires.
Please have a speech prepared by literate and capable speechwriters, who have thoroughly researched the occasion, and have the appropriate words for this institution.
Please, do not veer off topic. This is NOT a political rally. Do not make it one.
Please walk the Pathway of Peace with your family and reflect on your great good fortune. America has treated you well. You have had a privileged life. Take a moment to lift up those who struggle every day with racism, sexism, oppression of many kinds.
Please do not use this event to ratchet up the hate speech – against anyone. Not the leader of North Korea or other world leaders you disagree with, not the Democrats, nor any other person or group that you demonize. Use this occasion to be loving and generous, and if you can’t do that, then don’t say a word. Just flip the switch.
Please use this opportunity to present a message of hope. Instead of swiping at people and calling them names, think of ways to support and care for others – like women and people of color in this country.
Please do not bring up Roy Moore and your despicable support for him. Keep your racist and sexist comments out of the light of the Christmas tree and show us a better self.
Please consider the bounty we have as Americans and the gifts that each individual brings to the future of this country. Think of the gifts you might give to immigrant families, to the poorest of our citizens, to prisoners in custody. You have been given a position that commands attention. Use it for good.
Tonight you will be lighting the National Christmas Tree. This is a symbol of hope and peace and unity.
Don’t disrespect it.