In the wake of last night’s disastrous (yes, disastrous) election results, comes the perturbing question of how to explain Trump’s victory to the children of America. In the words of CNN political commentator Van Jones, “You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework and be prepared.’ Then you have this outcome and you have people putting children to bed tonight, and they’re afraid of breakfast. They’re afraid of ‘How do I explain this to my children?'”
One father, Joel Levin, chose to deal with this troubling question be writing a letter to his two daughters, Josie and Ellie, while they slept.
The letter was basically a big, comforting hug to his two daughters, telling them that there is plenty to be hopeful about in this world.
Dear Josie and Ellie,
I know that you asked me to wake you up when we learned who won the election. But I just could not bring myself to do it. I am very sorry to let you know that Donald Trump has won. He will be the President for at least the next four years.
Mom and I are very upset by this. And we know you will be, too. But we want you to know a few things:
1. We are not alone. Millions and millions of people voted for Hillary Clinton. They share our shock and disbelief this morning.
2. You do not need to be afraid. Even though you have heard hateful things about Trump and his supporters, there are ALWAYS people that will stand up to that hate. And together we will protect each other and the values we find important.
3. There is a lot to be hopeful about. This is not the end of a fight. This is just another chapter of a struggle that has been going on for a long, long time. If you look at the progress that we have made as a country (and as a planet), you will see that there is much to celebrate. This kind of setback happens often, and we usually bounce back even stronger.
You have learned in school a lot about the dream of what America can be. Today you might be learning that there is still a long way to go before that dream becomes reality for everyone. But I still believe in that dream very strongly. And so should you.
I hope this experience [sic] helps you will understand why Mom and I spend a lot of time and energy fighting for things that we believe in. Why we speak up when we see something that we think is wrong. We hope that as you grow up and make up your own minds about things, that you’ll join us in the struggle. We know that your passions will allow you to accomplish great things.
Days like this are hard. But they are also great reminders for how important it is to keep fighting for what is right. And we will!
Maybe we can all pretend that this wasn’t just a message to his daughters. Maybe we can pretend that this hopeful letter was for all of us, and that there is no reason to be irrationally, pants-pissing afraid.
Now, who needs a drink this morning??