We’ve had quite a week around here. Inside our own little world the kids are working on moving rooms, giving each of them a bit more breathing space for when they need to get away for a while. I’m keeping up with Bear’s science fair project and T-man’s sinus infection, kicking my own bronchial infection and praying it’s gone for good, vet appointments and UPS deliveries and dog boarding. You know, the same old same old.
But it’s been far from a same old same old kind of week.
T-man and Bear have been extraordinarily aware during this entire election cycle. It started way back before the primaries, when we explained repeatedly that a candidate wasn’t “winning” the presidency because the polls had him or her ahead for a state’s primary. We discussed the two party system, the primaries, the Democratic and Republican tickets, the conventions…
Things got real in the fall.
Bear’s conversations mainly launched from her peers. Comments were flying fast and furious at school and on the bus, boisterous opinions expressed and ugly rumors spread. (Can we take a moment to thank those teachers who survived the daily onslaught of political commentary from small people in their rooms? Bless.) She’d come home upset about the latest thing and we’d talk politics.
T-man had plenty of input from his peers – apparently stories about both candidates ran rampant through the halls this year – but he was also picking up a lot of things from the media that led to our conversations. Trump and his wall. Clinton and her e-mails. Trump and immigration. Clinton and her husband. (Sex conversations were particularly fun.) Mexico and guns and Muslims and Benghazi and stop-and-frisk and on and on it went. He even found the second debate on YouTube so he could watch it.
Then we had Tuesday.
Bear tapped out early and asked me to put a Post It note on her door saying who won, but T-man stayed up until about 10:30pm watching the returns as he paced from room to room. We finally sent him off to bed with a promise to talk about it in the morning.
I’ll just go ahead and get this out of the way now…I was one of the folks taken completely by surprise Tuesday night. I simply never saw it coming, which was part of my anxiety about facing the kids. I hadn’t prepared them at all for the possibility of a Trump presidency.
On Wednesday morning we had to wade through the melodramatic “I’m moving to Canada” moment, then these were the kinds of questions my kids asked:
- Will Trump really build that wall?
- Is he going to make stop-and-frisk a law everywhere?
- How did he get elected when he says such mean things?
- What will happen to the peace treaties we have with other countries?
- Does he still have to go to trial if he’s president? Aren’t there people suing him?
- Will he have the nuclear codes now?
They’re thinking, they’re worried, and they’re looking for answers which makes me incredibly proud. It also freaks me out because they’re too grown for me to make everything sound like it’s going to be okay.
Lest anyone get their panties in a wad, here were the first two things I said to our kids on Wednesday morning. 1) You know, I’m not really sure how he got elected, that surprised me, too. 2) But we respect the office. We may disagree with something he does, but we have to respect the office.
Now here are two of the things I’ve read this week that I find troubling.
Praise Jesus that He led this man into the presidency for this time in our country. Please lead him as he brings us to greatness again.
Umm…okay. I know folks are gonna be all “What? You’ve got a problem praying for our president?” but here’s the thing. I cannot tell my kids that Jesus put a man in office who wants to build a wall dividing us from part of the world. Not when we teach them that Jesus is about loving your fellow man (ALL of them). For that matter, it conflicts with so many public behaviors Trump displayed during the campaign that I’m pretty sure the kids can’t reconcile Jesus with Trump at all.
Holy crap, what did you just say?! This isn’t complaining because there’s no pepperoni pizza left; we’re witnessing an outpouring about who our nation chose for its next leader. Let’s not even get into post election responses to President Obama’s wins. I’ll look instead at some of the reasons I just might be struggling with explaining how my kids’ country put Trump in office for four years.
Over the course of the campaign T-man and Bear listened to this man promise to build a wall keeping Mexicans away and ban Muslims because they’re a security threat; speak to African Americans as if every one of them lives in a crime infested inner city with a gun to their heads; accept the endorsement of the KKK and NRA; and call women slobs, dogs, and pigs then brush off his comments about assault as locker room talk.
You think this is me blogging? One or both of my kids brought up every single one of these topics over the last six months. In a world where they already feel marginalized, they sensed exactly what Trump was saying.
So here we are, two white parents with two children of color, talking through the tough issues. We tell them they’re valued, they’re important, they’re the next generation that’s going to bring our country to a better place.
But then this happens in our state.
We’re praying, too.