What to tell the children?
I may be old-fashioned, and my answer may be simplistic.
But why is there any question about what to tell the children?
I would tell them that yesterday, our country elected a new president. Some people were for one candidate and others were for another but, in the end, the winner becomes everyone’s president.
It is not necessary to agree with everything he says, does or stands for. But, because he won fair and square by following the election procedures that have been established and by which we have elected our leaders for more than 200 years, Donald Trump IS the president-elect.
His opponent called him late last night to tell him that she understands and accepts that fact. He was gracious last night and she was the same this morning.
The current president has invited the president-elect to the White House tomorrow to talk about the orderly transition of power in the most democratic and diverse country on the face of the earth.
America’s strength is, and will continue to be that every four years we go to the polls to elect, in a more or less peaceful and civilized manner, the person who will lead us. We are blessed to not have to endure periodic coups or military takeovers. We still possess the right to disagree, to criticize, to poke fun; we are allowed to be disrespectful and overreactive – even to be nasty to one another – but why would we want to prolong that atmosphere? Innuendo and loathsome behavior ran rampant this year during an overly long campaign. I think it is time to tell the children that the time for that is over.
Be disappointed in the results, if you are, but leave aside the drama and the invective. Be sad, but be ready to move on. This is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of this country. The morning dawned and the only thing that has changed is that the campaign has ended. The potential still exists that, with a can-do attitude, a positive spirit, and the willingness to put aside the name calling, we can relearn a way to talk to one another with respect and thereby to forge understanding.
Pouting, ranting and bitterness have no place in the post-election landscape. Not if we want to demonstrate to our children the underlying strength of this nation. Telling someone that their opinion is not wanted, needed or valued only exacerbates the hurt and elevates the rancor. Telling our children anything other than the facts perpetuates our own prejudices and contributes little to our children’s understanding.
Unfortunately, as I roamed through Facebook posts this morning, I saw too many attempts — still — to silence opposing views and to inflict hurt rather than seek understanding.
We do not have to agree; we simply have to listen.
And then we have to grit our teeth and get down to business. That is what we should tell our children.
This is a great time for all of us to learn how to talk about politics, about our experiences, our hopes and dreams and visions for a better world. It’s important!
I see today as a great opportunity. And I look forward to the future of our country. Hopefully, our children will grow up with a sense of how great it is to be an American.