My 12-year-old daughter was pretty wrecked this morning when we told her about the election results. Like many, we had told her that while Donald Trump was a bully who had leveraged people’s fears — fears about the economy, their values, the Other — but that there were many good people out there. We didn’t think he would win.
All the conventional wisdom and outdated polling methodologies told us he wouldn’t, but he leveraged those fears far better than we expected. The fact that more Americans voted against him than for him remains a comfort, and that isn’t a small comfort, at least to me. It means we’re not alone.
So what do you tell a crying 12-year-old?
You remind her that this nation was created with checks and balances, so that the Presidency does not become a monarchy. You remind her that many conscientious Republicans took a stand with us, and we need to support them in the fights to come, even if we don’t agree on everything. You remind her that we have freedoms unparalleled in the world, and that our voices and time and effort can make a difference.
And you promise to do better.
For the most part, I’ve avoided politics on this blog and in my public persona — whatever that is. I believed that others did a far better job, and that the backlash wouldn’t be good for me or my family, or that the time and effort wasn’t worth the potential return. But let’s face it…that was complacency. I wrote a check here or there and voted, and that was fine, right? Nope. It was not.
I am not a woman or a person of color or LBGTQ+, but I want to support everything that they’ll be doing. My friend and fellow scribe Mike Underwood said it best on Twitter:
In fact, Mike’s whole thread is pretty good and worth a read. Point is, folks like me can’t be Frodo. It’s not our job to carry the One Ring to Mount Doom. But we can help. We’re the Fellowship. We go to where we’re needed and say, “You have my bow. And my ax. What do you need?”
And so I’m going to try to do that. For starters, check out this post from Jezebel about organizations that need your help. I also encourage you to use the comments below to throw some links out there to worthwhile organizations and efforts, and to find folks in your area fighting the good fight.
And I’m going to continue to write. The MAJESTIC-12 series most certainly has relevant political undertones, and I may hit those a little harder in the books to come. Another idea, far more overtly political but still fantastical, may very well have jumped to the front of the to-be-written pile. You’ll see more thoughts on this blog in the days and weeks to come.
This election is hard, man, but there are reasons to be hopeful. The civil rights and womens’ rights movement began in the Eisenhower years and were cemented in the Nixon era. My hope — and I believe it to be a grounded, realistic hope — is that this election will result in a similar wave of progress in the years to come. But it’s on us to make that happen.
So I told my kid that’s what I’m gonna do. I want her to enjoy being 12, and to sew and draw and to create as she does so well already. I want her to focus on school, and to have fun with her friends. And I want her to know that I’m working for her future, not just by giving her individual opportunities, but by creating opportunities for everyone and to make the world a kinder place.
I have hope. Let’s do this.