Today is a tough day. And Im having a very hard time focusing on anything positive. Why, you may ask? Because Donald Trump was just sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States. Yeah....
I've been messaging back and forth with a few friends of mine throughout the day and the general consensus is, "What the...is this real?" Unfortunately, yes. If there was ever a time where I wished something was fake news, this would be it.
It reminded me of a letter I wrote to my daughter, Paloma a few days after Trump won the election. I had originally posted this to Facebook but since I rarely if ever sign on there anymore - and as Jason and I discussed today - I need to own my words on my own domain. So I choosing to post this here. So that my daughter - and soon to be son Mateo, due April 2017 will see that their father stood behind his words.
I have been trying to write this letter for a few days now, but have been too sad/confused/upset to finish. I wish I could just sit you down and tell you how I feel. That said, I'm also relieved that you’re too young to realize what has happened.
But as your father, I feel the need to guide you through this sad moment in our country.
Earlier this week, the United States held it’s election for it’s next President. This process takes place every four years and it’s an honor to be able to cast your vote and be apart of the democratic process. So that's what we did. You, mommy and I all walked down to the polling station and cast our votes. Unfortunately for us, the person that we voted for didn’t win. Sadly, if she had won, she would have been the first female President ever elected in the United States.
The man who did win, is someone that I feel I need to protect you from. His name is Donald Trump and to put it in words that you may understand, he’s a very bad man. And that’s why it makes me so sad that he won. Especially since his campaign was launched on the premise of him as a demagogue who would marginalize anyone that didn't fit into his standard of ‘Real Americans’. A dog whistle term used by Conservative Politicians that means White Americans.
As I was putting you to bed the night of the election, I laid beside you - and for the first time, I feared for our future. Even waking up at 3AM - restless and worried, I had nothing left within me but to pray for you and your mommy’s future.
The main reason that I am writing this to you - even though you are still at such a young age - is that as a parent, I understand the renewed importance of building up the next generation to speak truth to hate. So as you are learning how to use your voice - I give you the strength and permission to use it for the following:
- To say STOP to the bullies at school who will now feel emboldened by a Trump presidency to lash out when they feel even the least bit slighted.
- To say NO to anyone who tries to touch you inappropriately. For I fear that some boys will again, feel emboldened by knowing that their President has admitted to sexually assulting women without consequences.
- To use your voice in LOVE for your fellow Americans of the Muslim faith to show them that even though a Trump presidency will demonize their religion, we as Americans will remain better than him in that regard.
- To use your voice to SCREAM at the injustices, prejudices and hateful acts that will be inflicted on People of Color and any other group that Trumps supporters feel are less than. For this is a man that began his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murders, knowing fully well that those words would act as a call sign to the worst of our society. And again embolden them in feeling that they finally had a leader that shares in their bigoted ideology.
- To use your voice in SILENCE as you empathize and listen to your friends as they cry on your shoulder and tell of the struggles and fears they are facing under a Trump presidency that promises to tear families apart by ‘Building a Wall’.
- Lastly, to use your voice in PRAYER for your mother and father. For we need guidence now more than ever. Especially since our sadness is slowly turning to anger. Anger, at seeing our country make such a horrible decion. Anger that so much of the progress that has been made over the past eight years will be wiped out. Anger at a political party that claims to govern from a moral high ground, yet rejoices in their quest to remove 20 million of their fellow Americans - including both you and I - from our health care. All the while not holding themselves to the same standards.
Yet, the saddest of all is that I feel anger at the church. Anger at such a large portion of Evangelicals who voted for him knowing with certainty that he’s admittedly racist. Knowing that he’s a sexual predator. Knowing that he see's People of Color and those of other religions as less than. Knowing that his policies will have a negative impact on the climate. And knowing that he holds no forgiveness or empathy in his heart for his fellow man.
So as you can see, this act of electing him to the highest office in the land will have grave consequences on the life of our family. You will be taught about him in school. His photo will be hung in buildings and he will give speeches on television. You will come to know and say his name as you progress in school. And for I am sorry.
But do not fret - for you have my word that your mother and I will raise you up to live a life in direct opposition to how this man has lived his. And in doing so, I can only hope that you and your generation will never make a mistake like the one our country did this past week.
I love you, Dad.
An update to this letter that I thought I would share: Since Paloma attended the march and heard the chants from that day - whenever she see's a picture of Donald Trump, she says, "No KK no Trump!" A reference to the chant, "No Trump, No KKK, no racist USA" But that's how she remembers it. I couldn't be more proud of her whenever I hear her little - yet powerful voice say those words.