The day of the election I made it a point to grab my three children, dress them up, and take them to the polls. I wanted show them the importance of exercising their right to vote. As a woman I take my rights to vote seriously. I was so proud to take my little girls into the voting booth and have them press the button to vote for the first time ever in history for a female presidential candidate! In my heart I believed that America was ready for a Madam President and that Donald Trump was purposely put in the running as an alternative by the powers at be to give Americans no other choice other then to vote for a woman. During this long and ridiculous race to the White House I truly believed that there was no way an outright racist, sexist bigot, sexual predator would ever be entrusted with America’s secrets and be allowed to run this already great country. I believed that the good guy (good girl in this case) would always end up with the win.
A little back story: when I was pregnant with my first child I was stationed in a foreign country while serving in the Army. My daughter was not born in the United States. My children are aware of the fact that she was born overseas and it was never an issue to them until the morning after election night. I stayed up all night watching the results of the election in shock. I woke my girls up and told them to get ready for school. The first thing out of my youngest daughter’s mouth was “Is Hillary the president? Did she win?” I had to tell her the truth, “No baby she didn’t.”
I was woefully unprepared for her response. Her six year old face changed from excited to sorrow. She began hysterically crying. I tried to hug her, and asked “Baby why are you crying?”
She looked up to me with her big dark brown eyes and said “I don’t want my sister to be sent back!” and began to wail with tears.
I sat there in shock. I had never discussed Trump’s policies on immigration with my children, nor do I have cable TV in my household. I thought my children were sheltered from Trump’s hurtful rhetoric. I was unaware that my children’s peers at school, were watching, paying attention, and talking about it at school.
I hugged my daughter again and told her that her sister was not going anywhere, that she was a citizen and had every right to stay in this country and not to ever worry about her sister leaving her side. It took a lot of convincing but she finally believed me and started to get ready to go to school.
This left me thinking. If my children, who I thought were blissfully unaware of the great divide plaguing this country were worried about the future of the United States. Then what were other kids around America thinking?
Later that day my twitter feed was full of tweets expressing horror of the all too common occurrences of hate crimes sparked by Trump’s triumph. It seemed like the world had lost it’s shit. Closeted racists let their confederate flags fly free and the hatred trickled down into our education system. So began the hate spiral of 2016.
Children, were now chanting- “Build that wall! Build that wall!” in their cafeterias. Bullying has become out of control since Election day. The Southern Poverty Law center has collected more than enough data of election related attacks nationwide and it shows that “more than 1/3 of the incidents tracked by the SPLC took place in k-12 schools.”
As a mother I am alarmed. As a Latina, I am concerned for my fellow minorities. As a Veteran I am disappointed. As the matriarch of a bi-racial blended family I am outraged. As a woman I am furious that a man who once said “Just grab her by the pussy” is going to be in charge of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. As a decent human being I am truly saddened that this country would entrust the future of the Land of the Free to an outright racist, bigot pig.
I try to teach my children to be good people, but with Trump winning the election by basically bullying his way into the White House, who knows what the kids will take from it.
I urge you, regardless of who you voted for. Please talk to your children about the dangers of their words. Teach them to have compassion for one another. While the Royal Oak Middle schoolers were chanting build that wall, some of their Hispanic classmates who have undocumented parents were crying because they are in true fear of their parents being taken from them. Tell them that years from now when they decide to get jobs, these images of hatred will be lurking somewhere on the internet for potential employers to see.
Please share your children’s reactions the morning after the election in the comment section!