I have been attempting to put words on paper since around 1:30am this morning. I deleted what I wrote and tried to sleep. Two hours later I woke up to confirm what had already become clear. My chest ached. I looked towards Henry’s bedroom as tears rolled down my cheeks. I was going to have to tell him. Soon. In just a few hours, I would have to wake him up for school and let him know the man I told him would never be president, was going to be president.
Let me be clear. My fear of telling Henry this news, of accepting it myself, is not because a republican won this election. I am not so childish that I cannot accept a change of political power or things swinging away from the direction I would like to see them head. I am against Donald Trump because of the hate filled rhetoric he has spewed for the last year and a half. I am against him because his thinly veiled message of white supremacy, which is applauded by the likes of David Duke, is not the culture I want for my country. I am against him because he has sexually assaulted women, many women, bragged about it, and received no penalty. All of those reasons are independent of the fact that he has no experience in politics. They are independent from the fact that I do not believe he has the temperament to be president. They are completely independent of the fact that he is a registered republican.
And on the flip side of that, I will say, I was not with her to avoid being with him. I truly believed Hillary Clinton’s cause was my cause. I am heartbroken that she lost, not because the end result is him, but because she an I share a common vision for this country. Because she is a woman who fearlessly went after the highest office in our country, and was extremely qualified to do so. I did not hold my nose and cast my vote, as I saw many people say yesterday. I voted with pride and love in my heart for my candidate. And that too, separate from him, makes this difficult.
When I woke Henry to tell him the news, he cried, and my heart broke even more. I told him it would be okay, that no one man runs the country. That a team of people do that. We discussed checks and balances and shifts in power. When he said through tears “He doesn’t care about people, Mama, that’s why he is so mean”, I told him that I believe he does care about people, and God, I hope I am right. We discussed how WE will continue to fight for those who need a voice, no matter who is president. We will stand up to injustice, just as we would have if Hillary had won. I told him love continues to trump hate, and it always will. And yet, I know as a white, middle class, straight family we have a luxury in accepting this outcome that others do not feel. And today my heart breaks even more for families that look different than ours.
Yet in the end, I respect this democracy. It is harder to swallow given that we now know she won the popular vote. But I will swallow it. I will not refuse to call Donald Trump the president. He won this election, and now I will fight for my causes with him at the charge. At the same time, I will not stand silently and ignore hate. We will be mindful with our charitable giving, supporting those less fortunate than ourselves who are terrified of these next four years. I will talk to my son early and often about how real men behave towards women, and towards people unlike ourselves. That the color of our skin, our god, our accent, our gender, or who we love does not define us. I will raise him to be a voice for the voiceless, as I would have no matter who was in office.
I know there is always a losing party. A party that feels all hope is lost. I remember being amazed with how terrified people were of an Obama presidency. What did they think would happen? The apocalypse? And now here I sit, in tears, watching Hillary’s concession speech. These divisions run deep, but all is not lost. Just as it was not lost four or eight or twelve years ago. We will move forward as a country. And it is on us, the people, to make sure we move in the direction we want. That we make sure to take all Americans with us, and do not only look out for the white, the male, the Christian, the straight, or the wealthy. Donald Trump said a lot of things during this election. He made a lot of promises. As an American, looking towards our new president, I hope he finds a way to heal the divide he seemed so sure he could mend. I have my doubts, but I have no choice but to hope things are not as hopeless as they feel on days like today.