My wife cried, Zacharie was angry, Charlie was afraid, I didn’t know what to do. I had stayed up as late as I could watching the results, I was up too early still shaken by what I had seen.
Jen, hands shaking as she poured her coffee, sobbed for the women and minorities who must truly be afraid on this morning.
Hours later when I reminded her that Trump will now control SCOTUS and had promised to overturn Roe v Wade, her mouth dropped and her tears welled again.
It’s the sort of feelings I had when I went to bed one May night in 1980, terrified I’d wake up the next morning to find my grandparents living in another country. I woke up to good news, my family didn’t.
At 6, he doesn’t understand the politics of politics. He doesn’t understand why Alberta doesn’t get to vote for Trump, or how such an evil and mean person could run for election and win.
And Zacharie is mad. “Trump is stupid,” he scowled as he wiped sleep from his eyes. My 9 yr old Canadian son with a tighter grasp on the issues than nearly 60 million American voters.
I have slowly introduced my children into politics over the past year. The enthusiasm and promise brought by Trudeau a great platform to show them what is possible when we dare to embrace each other and work together instead of sowing division.
But then today happened.
I’m sad. My heart breaks today. I spent yesterday filled with hope seeing my father friends filling out ballots holding their daughter’s hands.
I think about all the hope that was floating around leading up to the election day ..
.. and how it all came crashing down.
My heart breaks today seeing the sadness across my social feeds with women highlighting the sexism, misogyny, and privilege I have so naively lived with.
My heart breaks today with guilt. I’m a straight, white, Canadian male. I have a job. I have healthy kids. I’m saving well for my future, and while my family has struggles, they’re obviously #privilegeproblems.
So how do I fix it? How do I console my wife? How do I give hope to my kids? How do I help my neighbour understand we’re in this together?
Do we get mad? Do we go high now that they’ve gone low? Progressives are always so polite when engaged in the political discourse. Epithets and threats come flying from the right, while the left negotiates and takes the high road and then it ends with a steamrolling like we saw last night.
They troll, they troll, they troll, and then .. when they win? Their angry, aggressive, abusive tactics are endorsed. How do we bring intelligent discourse to political debate when a man with zero cares to give was just elected President?!
Clinton and Obama soared in their post-election comments today, but there is a way to make that high road a little rocky. Van Jones, a CNN commentator, is one of the most eloquent panelists on tv. He can be polite, calm, and articulate while simultaneously eviscerating you.
I saw this on Tuesday night and it hit me. We can take the high road, we can try to build bridges instead of walls, but there’s no way we can’t continue to call out the hate, the anger, the division.
“It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us.
You tell your kids, don’t be a bully.
You tell your kids don’t be a bigot. You tell your kids do your homework and be prepared.
And then you have this outcome, and you have people putting children to bed tonight, and they’re afraid of breakfast.”
I was not looking forward to my sons coming downstairs in the morning. They were sad, they were scared, they were angry. But I can’t let them feel defeated.
Sometimes the bullies win. That’s going to be the hardest thing to explain to my kids. Sometimes bad gets a goal, but the game isn’t over. Over the course of history, the arc bends to the right side. We will get there .. eventually, and when a bully wins, we need to rise above.
I will teach my children to love, to cooperate, to care. I won’t teach them to stand idly by when bigotry and fear rise.
So we will love harder, we will share bolder, we will help stronger, and we will stand firm in the face of hate and call it out until it stops.