The only way I know how to cope and process what happened on November 8, 2016 is to write.
My daughter, in second grade, had a mock election in which Hillary Clinton won the election. She was aware with what President-elect Donald Trump has said in many cases even though my wife and I tried to shield her from the ugly politics this year.
But as she took a bath that evening she asked me, “Daddy, why would America elect a bad man like Donald Trump?”
How the hell do I answer that?
Before I share my answer, I think to myself – this is what this election and state of politics has become.
All politicians are criminals. They’re horrible people. People who support these people – family, friends, and complete strangers – are awful because they support the bad guy/girl.
This election season has been hostile – period. It’s nearly an impossible task to have a debate, online or in person, without someone calling into question someone’s character and decision making because they support a candidate that is perceived to be the worst possible person in the world.
Negative political ads seemed to be in full force this year. One in particular ended with the line, “She’s too liberal for Indiana.”
That’s where we’ve gotten. We are attacking people based on political views and determining their worth. When I was raised I was sold the great idea of American Democracy. Different ideas. Different perspectives. All coming together to try to find a place in the middle that was for the greater good.
Today’s state of democracy is the exact opposite. The other party is the enemy. If there is no reasonable showing from the other party then we don’t compromise. We don’t budge. It’s feast or famine.
What I said
All of this went round and round in my head as I washed her hair.
The best answer I had for her, “Donald Trump has said some pretty bad things I don’t agree with, but he hasn’t been convicted of a crime. There are beliefs he’s done things that I would never do, but to say he’s a bad man is unfair. I just don’t believe he’s a good fit to be the President of the United States. That’s why we vote. We vote for who we think is the best for the country. A lot of people seem to think he might be.”
I want her to believe that American Democracy can be what I was sold 28 years ago. Even if I believe in almost nothing this candidate stood for.
Your move, Mr. Trump. Prove to America, my daughter, and the world they were wrong about you. There’s no more hiding behind blaming everyone else. All eyes, and expectations, are on you. You’re the boss of a system you can’t control.