Today was a gloomy day in Connecticut. The sun did not shine at all today. Usually our house floods with light, and we never turn on a lamp until the sun sets. Well, not today. And there was rain. The kind of rain that doesn’t feed plants or sound like a song on your windowsills. No, the rain was that constant cold drizzle – annoying, depressing, quiet.
How fitting for the weather to reflect the feelings that I had today. I’m sure many of you feel the same. If you don’t, then feel free to move on. You probably won’t want to read what I have to say. And you’ll have to excuse me while I take a brief hiatus from my usual humor-based approach to blogging. I can’t find much humor in today.
Yesterday, I took my children to vote with me. My daughter understood what we were doing. I explained to her that just like Daniel Tiger and his friends vote on which class pet they should get, Mommy, Daddy, and all of the other adults we know would be voting for the new leader of America. My daughter watched me fill out all of the bubbles and helped me put my ballot into the ballot box. She was ecstatic to take part. And I was ecstatic to pass on my civic pride to her. I was hoping I would be able to tell her that she was there the day I helped elect the first woman president of the United States. I didn’t expect to be so wrong.
Today I woke up and tried to process what had actually happened. I’ve been attempting to process it all day. I don’t know if I will ever fully process this.
I don’t believe in sheltering my children from the ways of the world. They live in it. They’ll be adults living in it one day as well. I’ll equip them the best way I can, even if that means telling them the harsh truth. So today on the ride to school, we talked about how we voted yesterday and how the person Mommy voted for didn’t win. I explained that she might hear some things, so I’ll give her the scoop myself, using words she can understand. I told her that a not-very-nice man was now the President of our Country and that I was disappointed. I told her that there are people in this world, and she’ll meet many of them, who treat others without kindness and who use words to hurt others. I told her that the most important thing for her and her brother to do in this life is to be good people and to treat others with kindness.
After a brief pause, she looked up at the rear-view mirror and said, “Mommy, the Beast and the Grinch were not so nice too, but they ended up nice.”
Just like that, my three-year-old made an analogy I can only hope to be true (though I’m not counting my chickens). Maybe Donald Trump is just misunderstood. Or maybe he’s hardened by a past trauma. But there must be a reason, and maybe he will realize the error of his ways and his heart will grow three sizes. Oh, how I wish it were that easy. My sweet girl, seeing all of the beauty in the world, not yet jaded by the hatred in this world.
Parenting is hard. There have been, and I know there will be, some difficult paths to navigate. This has been the hardest.
Because here’s the thing. This isn’t just politics. I generally don’t engage in online politics. You do you. I do me. We can agree to disagree. But again, this isn’t just politics. This is human-versus-human. This is hatred in its most dangerous form.
At its most basic, I see two problems here.
One, there is a frighteningly large number of Americans who actually have hate in their hearts. People who hate others because of their skin color, religion, sexual preference, or gender, among other things. All of these things are out of our control. News Flash! Almost none of us would be here if immigration didn’t exist. I sure as hell wouldn’t be. And don’t tell me that my daughter isn’t as important as my son because she’s a girl. Are there actually women in this world who can support someone who treats women this way? And if either or both of my kids realizes she or he is gay or transgender, then I pray for a loving and accepting world to live in.
Two, as I’m understanding things, there are people who overlook all of this bigotry, racism, and xenophobia because they think there are other issues that are more important that this Republican regime can solve. So the awful words and behavior that have been thrown around, and will likely continue to be thrown around, can just be ignored? I think you’re kidding yourself if you think that these words of hate aren’t being heard by young and impressionable people. People who will grow up into adults who will then raise another generation of humans. Are you willing to risk birthing new generations of hatred, all because you believe your job has been moved overseas? And let me make it clear to you, if you’re a white man, you have not been forsaken. Go get a history book and read up on it.
I don’t claim to be the most politically informed of my counterparts. I have some extremely informed friends. I know some inspiring people. Really, kudos to you. And I’ll be the first to admit that politics aren’t my favorite topic. They’re divisive. We all know this. That’s why people don’t bring them up at parties. Hell, I married someone who has different political views than I do. But when it comes to basic human decency, we’re on the same page. Kindness. Kindness. Kindness.
So what’s my point here? I don’t really know if I have a point. I’m really just here to expel my frustration. The world won’t be a better place if our leadership spews hate. My children aren’t better than your children because they’re white. I’m white because that’s the genetic makeup I got. When I’m on my last breath in this life, the only successes worth counting will be the kindness my family and I have given to others. None of the other crap matters. Be a good person. Accept your differences. Realize your faults and grow from them. Give back to your community and those who have less. Teach your children to speak up. Teach them to love, love, love. I fear that my children will grow up in a world where others have not been taught these ideals. I fear for their futures.
We can do better than this. Be a good human. That’s all that matters in this life.
Good luck, America.