Letter to my Granddaughters
Please be scared, sad and angry. I am. When I was your age I didn’t understand politics. But I knew right from wrong. I cry today after hearing the 2016 presidential election results, grappling with the idea that the things I learned as a little girl apparently don’t matter anymore. You’re only 5 and 9 years old but I know you recognize honorable conduct. And like many, you are struggling right now with how America could elect a man with a dark heart, one who breaks all the rules of acceptable human behavior.
Please know that because he won the presidency does not mean you can:
A friend just advised me that now more than ever is a time for unity. A time to continue doing good and decent things with a positive attitude. I don’t disagree. I’m surrounded by friends also brought to their knees who share this angst. But even knowing this I’m knocked back with a wave of soul-aching sadness. Because even if I remain upbeat and promote morality, it feels like a lonely, uphill crawl with ignorant people throwing sticks and stones down from atop a hill.
Consider this: as a nation for the last eight years we’ve had some of the most brilliant minds working to keep America safe from international terrorists, make our healthcare system better, reduce homeland violence, build a strong, stable economy, protect and preserve the environment, and generally just fix things that aren’t working.
Unfortunately for a variety of reasons, even these passionate, educated intellectuals faced challenges. So many things that affect you and our world remain broken.
If the smartest of the smart can’t find and implement solutions, imagine the damage to come from the incoming administration, led by someone far from brainy, ethical, experienced, or even able to control his impulse to shame people and unrelentingly seek revenge. Consider what will happen to life as we know it when our leader believes climate change is a hoax perpetuated by China. That it’s okay to put his unwanted hands on women. And judge us by our body shapes and size. Someone who thinks winning at all costs is vital. If he thinks his words are bigly acceptable and doesn’t recognize that serious problems are real, we are in danger.
Girls, who knows what will happen in the next few weeks or four years. We could forlornly circulate condolence cards to like minds, silently nodding amongst ourselves a “sorry for your loss” sentiment. Or learn to speak Russian.
Or we can be strong. Together continue to fight for what’s right. Believe in equality. Keep a positive attitude. Stand up to bullies, be they the president or that rude kid in the school lunch line. Know that even though we didn’t make history this week by voting in the country’s first female president, it is possible. Because people like us will make it so. And remember to do unto others—even as they snark at you and make ignorant choices that breed hate.
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