“What will we do if Trump wins, mama?” This is the question my 9 year old daughter asks before she falls asleep on election night. This is the question I thought of as I watched state after state call Trump winner, the map of the United States turning red for the Republican candidate. I wish I had an enlightening answer, I wish I could reassure her in the nature of our Constitution. I wish I could enlighten her on the system of checks and balances this nation stands upon, after all, I am the social studies teacher. But all I could think of in that moment was “what are we going to do? we’re going to continue living our lives!”, in a typical Arab mom voice.
Little did I know this question, hours later, would be keeping me up on election night, as I am feeling completely disheartened by our nation’s decision.
Little did I know that all I could think of while watching the news is how my children will have to live through a Presidency whose message was built upon sexist and racial divides. My children have already had to sit through listening over and over “Grab them by the p****” while in the waiting room of the dentist’s office. I had no control over that, I was in a public waiting room, but I had to tolerate my children sitting through the derogatory comments. I could see the discomfort on my children’s faces, but I felt helpless. I can’t help but feel like we’ll be sitting through many more of these uncomfortable situations in the next four years.
I constantly tell my children that bullying is wrong, and we have a moral obligation to stand up for what is right. And yet, here is a bully being elected for the highest position in the nation and arguably the world. The distress as a parent is overwhelming, but the strategy to deal with the morning after this election is evident, continue to instill in our children the values we want them to embody. Here is the conversation I will be having with my children tomorrow on the ride to school.
Now more than ever we have to teach our children to speak up. We have to teach them to be loud. We have to teach them to stand up against the wrong they see in their daily lives. We have to give our children the tools they need to become empowered citizens.
Talk about Privilege
Let us be 100% clear on the privilege that groomed the incumbent president. Although we like to believe that everyone begins on the same playing field, we know that is incorrect. The social divide in this country is alive and well, and we need to make our children aware of this – at least it breaks the illusion that we do not see people who reflect us in these positions because of something we lack. This is an issue that we are working on, and hopefully, their generation will find themselves increasingly in positions of power. Positions that will one day allow them to create meaningful change.
Reassure your children they are safe, they are loved and we are strong together. Everyone wants a sense of security and although we cannot control what is happening beyond our walls, we can control what is happening within. Our children need to know that they are loved and protected. We have to give them the sense of security we may not be feeling ourselves.