I came home from running this morning. London immediately greeted me with the fact that Donald Trump had won the election. She wasn’t excited. She knows the things he has said about immigrants, building a wall, and deporting people. We live in a place that is very diverse. Some of her best friends are from the Middle East. She knows refugees. She is genuinely afraid that her friends will be deported. And she has reason to be afraid. I thought a lot last night about what I would say to her when she woke up this morning.
In times like this, I remember something my mother said to me long ago. She probably doesn’t even remember this, but it has stuck with me. When I was in high school, Bill Clinton was the president. There were a lot of things about him and his presidency that I did not agree with. I was disgusted by things he was doing. One day my mom told me that he was going to be in Sacramento and maybe we could go catch a glimpse. I immediately rejected the idea. I didn’t need to see him, but my mom said, “Kiersten, he is our president. Whether you agree with the things he does or not, we still need to respect him.” I know my mom wasn’t a fan of Bill Clinton. I’m pretty sure she didn’t vote for him and she most definitely did not agree with the way he was acting, but she recognized that we needed to respect him. We needed to respect the office, no matter who it was. And he needed our support. So that is what I told London this morning. It may not be the outcome we wanted, but come January, Donald Trump will be our president. We may not agree with him or even like him, but we have to respect him. And we have to fight. We have to fight for our beliefs and our freedoms and our friends and our neighbors. We have been awakened and we will be involved. And we will pray. We pray for our country and we pray for our president. And with that, she promptly sat down and wrote Mr. Trump a letter, explaining why he shouldn’t build a wall.
Yesterday after school, all of the neighborhood kids were out riding their bikes together and talking politics. The girls next door told my kids that their parents voted for Donald Trump. Hillary should be in jail. The Iraqi immigrant kids across the street told them that if Donald Trump won, their whole lives would be turned upside down. And the girl down the street told my kids that her mom voted for Clinton and her dad voted for Trump. She couldn’t believe her dad would do that! But in all of this, the kids played together. The kids are friends. They put their differences aside and they play. They respect each other. They care about each other. They want our neighborhood to be a safe place for them. I hope that we can, as a country, do the same thing. I hope that we can play together. I hope that we can respect each other. I hope that we can put our differences aside and move through this for a better us.