Dear Melania: Please Attend the Kennedy Center Honors

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First lady Melania Trump at the State Department March 29. Photo by Neshan H. Naltchayan.

Dear Mrs. Trump,

You need to go to the Kennedy Center Honors in December.

As a loyal supporter of your husband’s administration, I have no compunction about giving you unsolicited advice, especially when it’s this well-intentioned.

When I read that the president would be declining to attend the program, bucking a decades-long tradition, I didn’t blame him. The behavior of the honorees has been petulant and, to use a common Trumpism, “sad.”

When you accept such a prestigious award, you agree to attend all of the events, not just the ones you find politically comfortable. Otherwise, decline the honor altogether.

Norman Lear should learn from Barbra Streisand, who gamely greeted President George W. Bush in 2008, though she had been blogging vociferously against him. At the ceremony, the two even kissed!

“I found him warm and completely disarming, even though I think he was kissing me hello, and I was kissing him goodbye,” Streisand wrote about the meeting, tongue in cheek.

This, of course, demonstrates the power of the arts, especially the American arts, which define our culture in so many ways. Without diving into too many clichés here, if there is anything that can bring us together these days, it’s our collective love for our music, films and television shows.

This is where you can make a major power play, and outclass them all.

Sure, your husband ducked out, rightly, to relieve the tension of the situation. But by attending you will send a much-needed message: the Trump administration stands with artists, even those who disagree with the president.

You will go and, wearing a fabulous dress, smile warmly to the crowd. You will shake the hands of the honorees and turn Lionel Richie into a pile of jelly with your disarming elegance.

As a journalist who has covered the Kennedy Center Honors many times, I’ve seen how this event brings a certain détente to our community, even after vicious campaigns. Presidents and their wives always make time to attend, sitting through the often interminable ceremony.

It just won’t be the same this year with the president’s box looking so cold and lonely up there.

You have a penchant for saving the day (as you have so many times) and are on track to be the true gem of your husband’s presidency. Your United Nations speech advocating for children and your quiet grace provide the perfect antidote to our sometimes very ugly world.

This is yet another opportunity for you to be an ambassador for American beauty. You have referenced many times on your Twitter feed #thepowerofthefirstlady. Now is your chance to use it, big league.

Stephanie Green is a freelance journalist and writer, who has lived in Glover Park since 2001. 

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