Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Obligatory Post-Election Letter To My Kids

Apparently, you’re not allowed to have a dad blog if you don’t write a letter to your kids about the election of Donald Trump.

So here goes.

My Dearest children;

(I actually never call them “dearest,” like there are less dear offspring somewhere else).

Starting over.

Dear kids;

Dear is such a weird word and so formal sounding. This is hard.

Third time’s the charm.

Hey Kids;

“Ah hem.”


Let’s just start with how sorry I am.

I’m sorry that our country just did what it did, electing a man to the presidency of the United States of America who bullies, belittles and threatens people. All the rules banning those sorts of things still apply in our house, and everywhere else. So knock it off, in advance.

I’m sorry that our country just put in the highest office a man who has treated women poorly his entire life, focusing only on their physical attributes, bragging about kissing and grabbing them without permission, and habitually trading his wives in for younger versions every few years. Other Americans accepting this behavior does not mean you ever should. Ever, from anybody. As importantly, all those things I told you about how smart, important and capable you are still hold true. And, despite this one election, you can all still aspire to be president. Though I don’t know if our family could handle that level of scrutiny, if you know what I mean. You can also be scientists, or teachers, or economists, or parents of great kids, or lawyers. You should know, however, there are more people in law school right now than there are lawyers. That's something people warn you before you plunk down a hundred K to become one. No one knows if it's true. Either way, please, don’t hesitate to dream big and do big things. I know you all can and will.

I’m sorry, too, that there’s a good chance all the good things we’ve done as a country in recent years -- like expanding access to healthcare, granting basic rights to the LGBTQ community, standing up for marginalized people, and protecting the environment – are about to be undone. Sorry that you’ll have to do these things all over again.

On the environment: I’m very sorry about that. All that stuff you’ve heard people say at school about protecting the planet, it’s still the goal in this house. Yes, we still have to recycle and turn the lights off when we leave the room. And we shouldn’t run the water when brushing our teeth. And yes, we still have to brush our teeth. That was never even on the table. Despite what you see and hear over the next few years, it is still up to all of us to protect the planet. Period.

Oh, and I’m sorry about the Electoral College, though that’s not even my generation’s fault. It was Alexander Hamilton’s generation. In what can now be considered a great bit of irony, he saw the Electoral College as a protection against the people electing someone who was unfit and unqualified for the job. Funny, right? I’ve been telling you, A. Ham wasn’t nearly as great as Hamilton the Musical (or “Play dot Ham”) makes him seem. Maybe now you’ll believe me. As one of you said to me and mom the morning after, “Why do we even have the Electoral College? Why can’t we just leave it up to the people?” Amen to that.

Also sorry for the random dad joke about Hamilton I squeezed into the last paragraph. I have an affliction.

Finally, I’m sorry that these results made you all so sad. I can tell you that the saddest part for me was seeing how sad it made you. Mom and I believed in the other candidate and thought that our country would make us proud by electing her. We were wrong about that. But we were not wrong to believe. And while I know this hurts, you always have to be willing to believe.

And now, dearest children, I am going to tell you why I am hopeful.

Yes, hopeful.

I am hopeful because of you. All of you are funny, and talented, and so darn insightful. All of you know how important it is to be nice to each other – even if you’re not always nice to each other, at least you know you’re supposed to be. All of you are capable of making this world a better, more inclusive, more loving place.

I’m also hopeful because I know your friends, and they are nice too, and smart, and compassionate. I saw how they reacted when that awful tragedy happened in Orlando. And, on that darkest of days, you’re friends' actions made my heart sing, and believe, and hope again.

A gesture by my daughter and her friends
that gave me faith and hope after Orlando
You and all your friends know there will be a woman president in your lifetimes, and they also know – I sense -- that this particular man should never have been. And I take solace knowing that he would not have been if this election had been left up to people under the age of 30, or even just middle schoolers. If kids could have voted, the outcome would have been different, because they know a bully when they see one, and they know what to do with bullies. So there is hope in the future and the people who will shape it.

I am also hopeful and proud, and you should be too, that we live in a town that voted for her and not him; in a county that voted for her and not him; and in a state that voted for her and not him. We didn’t vote for him. Nor did the people around us.

But it will be up to us to fix it. So you're not getting off the hook that easily.

Finally, I am hopeful because we have to be. Your mom and I have dealt with a lot of stuff in our lives, as have your grandparents. And no matter what, we all keep moving forward together. We keep hoping that tomorrow will be better than today. Some days it won’t be. But we will still hope. And I know you will to.


Your dearest father

a.k.a. Dad

So there it is: My official letter to my kids, which I am apparently sharing with the world – or at least the 27 people who will visit this blog.

For those who don’t appreciate that fact that I tried to make my kids smile a bit while writing this, I realize it's "too soon" for many. But you should know that I come from a long line of people who try to use humor to deal with life’s great disappointments. Emphasis on try.

I also come from a long line of people who often fail when trying to make people laugh at inopportune times.

And this, if nothing else, is an inopportune time.