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November 9, 2016

What do we tell our Children about President Trump?

kids vintage ice cream summer

*Eleditor’s note: We welcome all points of view, as long as helpful and respectful and fact-based. Contribute your thoughts, if so inspired, here—our mission is to bring all together in mindful discussion, so that we may learn, share and listen.*

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Mindful bonus from Waylon & elephant community, today:

We didn’t see it coming.

We grew up watching cartoon superheroes who fought off villains and saved the day. We were raised with the idea that love always wins and that, when people get together and do what is right, the right thing always prevails.

Bad guys aren’t supposed to come out on top, and if ever we were facing the epitome of a sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic bad guy, Donald Trump is it.

The problem: not only did Trump stand on his platform of fear and hate, insulting disabled people, objectifying women, denigrating immigrants, blatantly lying and bringing out the ugliest in humanity, but America liked it. We grabbed our guns and ran to the polls. We decided that this is what we wanted in a leader.

Discrimination against everyone who is not a white, middle-to-upper class, Christian, straight, non-disabled male is now legitimized in our country. Think about that for a second. Not only do adults have to face that, but many of us have to break it to our children that good does not always prevail, and that our country is not always the land of the free that we wanted so much for it to be.

So how do we do that?

We do it with kindness.

We tell our children that we are still their biggest protectors. The people who loved them yesterday still love them today. We still have laws and good people in our communities, states and nation who will always defend them, and they stand with us too.

We tell them this presidential race was about many different things. People are frustrated about economic conditions, scared of losing their property or their rights, and scared because things are changing. There was no single issue that made a difference all by itself.

We tell them that goodness is not something we elect; it is inside each of us. We are the ones who choose whether to be kind or not, and no one on the outside, including the President, can change that.

We tell them that this is why we must educate ourselves. When we know better, we do better, and learning to listen to and understand all sides of an issue as well as identify and rid ourselves of our own prejudices can help us become stronger and smarter.

And we tell them that their lives have purpose and meaning. This is part of the journey. Sometimes it takes difficult experiences to recognize the good and the beauty in the world. As adults, we have seen this election bring out the worst in each other, but we have also seen it bring out the best. Point out the goodness that is still everywhere.

All these things we can say, but there is more.

We must also fight like hell behind the scenes to make sure acceptance and equality remain important in our communities, schools, governments and institutions.

We can no longer remain passive when innocent people are served with injustice. We must be aware and active in our own communities and hold people accountable for their actions. We can’t tolerate crime, but we also can’t tolerate persecution and unjust prosecution or murder.

What we allow, we condone, and we have condoned far too much.

We must speak out for one another. There will, no doubt, be legislation proposed that takes away equality, redacts the strides our country has taken toward fairness and shuts down the voices of the poor, minorities, same-sex couples, gender-queer people, and many others who are the targets of discrimination. We must not allow this to happen.

Our country is resilient, and I believe in it. I believe in us.

We are no different today than we were before the votes were cast. As parents, and as human beings, we have a duty to make America kind again.

It doesn’t matter who is in the Oval Office; it all begins with us.

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Author: Amanda Christmann

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Editor: Toby Israel

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