I had joked to my 6 year old that when he woke up this morning the world would be on fire. I have no chill and no filter and a horrible sense of humor. Am I the Donald of my household? Maybe. I am also the political force in my household. Politics is my degree field, but more over it is an obsession that has only taken a backseat to my being a parent.
The social networks are ablaze with desperate messages of confusion and disgust. I live in a Blue state, so my local feeds are overflowing with shared despair.
” How do I go on knowing people voted this way? ”
” what do I say to my children ”
” everyone is so awful apparently ”
Fuck me. I don’t know what you say to yourself but I was decidedly joking when I said the world would burn – I’m afraid that some aren’t joking. So I am here to tell you what I told my children this morning , perhaps it will help you adjust during this obviously tumultuous time.
Yesterday my son came home and told me about the election that they conducted in class over ice cream flavors. (Chocolate won – so at least there is still hope for our future.) He said that part of his homework was to know who was elected president the following morning before school so that he could report to his teacher. Will do, kiddo. Then he asked who I had voted for. Actually he said “who do you want to be president?” which is a way better question! I told him that I had voted fro Gary Johnson. He concurred that he would also like Johnson to be president. I told him that Gary Johnson would not be winning the presidency, but that I used my vote to help a 3rd party gain federal funding for the next elections, so that we don’t always have to chose from shitty people to be president. I told him what I had been told by my mom when I was young; “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”
I also know that if you can’t explain shit to a 6 year old, then you don’t really understand it yourself.
This morning, while everyone is questioning reality I am explaining to my 6 year old how to be a decent person; how to accept people differences and just because you are “less bad” does not mean that you are good.
Tell your children how the government works. I told Oliver that although Trump wants to build a wall to “keep the bad guys out” (Oliver’s words) that he had to have the okay from congress – a room full of hundreds of other people we elected. And that we already have a wall; People enter through doors and that Trump wants to make that door smaller. I told him that the branches of the government are there to make sure that the President doesn’t get out of control and violate our rights. Then I told him about rights. About the inherent goodness within people, even people who are afraid and say mean things. When you are mean to people, when you mistreat them then you are the “bad people”. Tell your kids that no matter who is President today that there is always tomorrow – there is always the opportunity to enact change, to protect the people who need protecting and sometimes (especially this time around) it will be more apparent who needs protecting.
Let your kids tell you that they don’t see differences. Tell your kids to not be assholes, tell your kids that they don’t have to agree with the President and that they have every ability to change things! Give them faith in themselves, in the democratic process and tell them that you love them.
Don’t tell them that the world is ending. Don’t discourage them, don’t tell them that America has failed. Don’t say that there is no hope, that everyone is awful, that we must abandon all hope because the douche bag won. Take a look at society, see that the douche bags win and if it bothers you change it. Don’t give up just because you lose and don’t let a bully dictate your happiness. You (and your children) DON’T need antidepressants or to hide for 4 years to recover from this.