On November 8th, my wife made her famous mac & cheese. We put out wine and olives and opened our home to some of our favorite folks. Beloved teachers from our Go Girls! Camp squished up on the couch with our little girl, who grinned the biggest smile of her life. She was getting to stay up late and watch part of the election in her pajamas. We were making space to celebrate a historic moment…the moment we could show our little Go Girl that a woman could, in fact become President.
We all know what happened instead.
Neither my wife or I were huge Hilary fans. We were tracking her imperfections. But as mothers and girl advocates, we could not support putting a bully in power. That’s how we had to explain it to our little girl. When she climbed into our bed in the morning and noticed Mama Lynn’s eyes were almost swollen shut from weeping, we had to tell her that we were very surprised but Hilary had not won after all.
“Oh no,” she said. “Mama…is Hilary very sad this morning?” That was our daughter’s first response. Empathy. Oh, it killed me.
And after that, “Why can’t we just be happy for Mr. Trump and celebrate him for winning?” That’s what we teach her, after all. If you lose at Candyland, you congratulate the winner and play again. Why was this different? Because for our family- a queer, multi-racial, adoptive family- this election communicated something about our safety and security in the country we call home. Electing Trump means choosing to give a bully a lot of power, putting all vulnerable groups at risk.
“You’re right, baby,” I told her. “Usually, our job is to be happy for the winner and listen to their ideas, even if they are different from our own. The reason we are so upset about Trump winning is that he sometimes uses his power to hurt people. He believes that people with white skin are better than people with brown skin. He thinks it’s okay to touch women’s bodies without asking. His ideas are not just different from ours, they are wrong. Our job now is to stand up for what we believe and speak out about what’s right. And in the future, the grown-ups will do everything we can to elect leaders who are fair and kind.”
“Mommy, can we make a poster about what we believe in and send it to Washington DC?” Of course.
So, we got writing. Here is what she made.
That about sums it up.
How are you talking about election results with your kids?