Election day note to my nine-year-old daughter.
When I got Kamiah down last night, after two hours of sharing what we had anticipated to be a momentous and joyous occasion, things weren’t looking good. After she fell asleep I went downstairs for a couple more hours of heartache and angst. By 11 PM MST, I was in disbelief–shocked and sickened. When we turned on the TV this morning, my daughter and I both broke into tears at the announcement. Donald Trump had been elected our new President.
I couldn’t bear seeing Kamiah’s disappointment. We shared a talk about love. About rising above. About going high, when others go low. About how close we were to having our first female POTUS. And about how Kamiah is going to be president one day.
Then we turned on our Hawaiian radio station and danced. After we made gluten free chocolate chip pancakes (while listening to Harry Potter, The Goblet of Fire) we road our bikes to school.
I quickly realized I wasn’t the only one trying to figure out how to deal with explaining the inexplicable when I received a text from a dear friend who also has a young daughter. “How do we explain to our kids that we elected a bully, bigot and p**** grabber?”
I told him that I’m angry, I’m scared, but most of all, I’m sad. As a father, I’ve made it my mission to elevate my daughter, and in the process of being her dad, she elevates me on a daily basis. It’s ok to be mad, angry, scared, and sad. It’s ok to cry, but like the great Michelle Obama, our fearless leader says, “When they go low, we go high.” My daughter makes me want to go high, to be like president Obama, graceful, thoughtful, courageous and kind.
That’s how I responded to my friend. We let ourselves cry with our little ones. We acknowledge what a sad day it is in our nation, for our planet—our climate, our oceans, rivers and mountains. We don’t deny that we elected a bully, a bigot, a man who ran a degrading and fear mongering campaign. We don’t deny that a highly qualified (and presidential) candidate with a policy road map and platform was beaten by the least qualified (and most demonstrative) candidate in history who has no plan. We don’t deny that there’s a lot of racism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, and rampant misogyny out there. This is a sad day on so many levels for so many of us. It’s a sad day for women, girls, fathers to girls, African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, Native Americans, LBGT’s, and those with disabilities. It’s an angst filled time for people whose lives have been changed in a most positive way by Obamacare (myself included). We admit that there’s a lot of angry people and a lot of hate out there, but we tell them love always wins in the end.
I assured my friend that we will rise. That we will raise strong, brave, bold, and courageous daughters who will not tolerate weak-ass men and weak-ass bullshit. We will play these cards we are dealt, these shitty, scary and disturbing cards, and we will nurture and foster a more compassionate, loving, kind, and inclusive society. It’s going to be a battle and it’s going to take heavy lifting. One day at a time.
I told my friend, I love you. I love the father that you are. I love this text you sent me. Your girl, my girl, all the little girls, that’s what gives us hope.
With nothin’ but love, Michael W. Leach