To my daughter,
This is a bad day. We have failed you and your future. We are doing our best to shield you from what this outcome means about the country in which you are forced to grow up while also giving you glimpses of the gravity of this situation. Don’t let anyone fool you. This is a truly devastating situation. It is a rare glimpse into a very broken society of humans that think that social and financial equality is a zero sum game. Just for the record, it doesn’t have to be.
It is easy to want to bury your head in the sand and leave the people that did this to reap what they have sown. It is easy to want to brush this ugliness under the rug for the sake of a calm dinner at Thanksgiving. It is easy to say you will go to a better country that feels 400 years ahead of us. My challenge for you, my poor sweet child, is not to do those things.
People will try to justify their actions in this election by cloaking it in terms of a normal election, as though the monster that continually revealed himself as such time and time again is somehow a normal candidate of a traditional party. They will pretend that he represents the fiscal values of a party they usually support despite the fact he never coherently described even one policy that adheres to the platform of “his” party. Some will even say that they voted for the party that most closely aligns with their Christian values thereby revealing once and for all their own bone deep hypocrisy.
My other challenge to you, beautiful innocent girl, is not to let these people off the hook. Not ever. We are raising you to be kind, thoughtful, and engaged in the world around you. You are naturally assertive. Use those gifts. Hang on to them in the face of the systematic retraining of females to minimize themselves. You will be taught through toxic societal norms that it is somehow your job to smooth things out for other people. Don’t. That’s bullshit. When someone looks to you to make sense of their situation or problems or decisions, just look them straight in the eye and make them defend themselves out loud. Make them explain to your face their own ignorance, selfishness, or hypocrisy. Make them squirm in their discomfort.
Do it. Do it again. Do it every time it needs to be done. Do it to strangers and co-workers, and hardest of all, those you love. It is not your job to make things that aren’t okay seem okay or defend the insupportable. I will tell you what is your responsibility. It is to fight for those most injured. You are uniquely positioned, as are your father and I, to help. We are not injured or victimized by the existence of racial, sexual, or religious minorities. We are educated, employed, and quite frankly, white. It is our duty, and yours, to use our unearned privilege to help others. People will lie to you and say that there will come a time when race isn’t an issue and equality has been achieved. You can clearly see that is also bullshit. It will never be over. The fight must always be waged. It is your duty to wage it one day. Start now. If you begin using your kindness, thoughtfulness, intelligence, and assertiveness now, and other young girls do the same, then perhaps we will normalize the idea of those types of grown women. Perhaps when those types of women seem normal, we can stop this sort of racist and misogynistic backlash from occurring in your adulthood. It’s a tall task, but for the unseen future, do better than I have done for you.