This election has been ugly.
We have a country so divided by who should lead our free world that riots, violence, and intolerance have lined the campaign trail. This morning I woke up to a Facebook page full of uncertainty, disbelief, gloating, anger, resentment, and celebration.
As a young mo
m myself, my friends list is also chalk full of other young parents as well as young educators worried about the message we are sending our children by electing a man who has made sexist, racist, and bigoted comments through out his campaign. While I surely empathize with their concern, I think a bigger issue is being overlooked.
I am most heartbroken by the sides of my friends this election has brought out. I have seen more name calling, disrespect for one another, and utterly embarrassing interactions between grown adults than I can ever remember happening in my life before this point.
Our children don’t watch the behavior of the president day in and day out. Yes, his choices and behaviors shape the world in which we live, but we need to choose how much to expose our children to the very adult issues that have come up during this election.
Just this morning I have seen the same nude (but thankfully censored) photo of our next first lady twice, I have read the name calling, bashing of one’s values and opinions, attacking one another for voting for our chosen candidate, and those are just the people I know. Open up a news outlet’s post for the election results and people are more or less threatening each other’s lives.
I am far more worried right now about raising my children to respect differences, to respect all people, to love others despite the differences, and to be cautious with their judgements based on the way people I interact with everyday are behaving.
Do I worry about what a Trump presidency could mean? I think it would be naive not to be concerned – this is a new type of presidency after all. But I would have been concerned had I woken up with the converse results, the fact that it came down to these two individuals as the most qualified individuals in the land for the job worries me. Each individual has qualities that potentially open our country up to vulnerabilities that I am frankly uncomfortable with.
I certainly don’t think our future president and first lady emulate the class with which I wish to raise my children. I also don’t wish to raise a child who behaves the way Clinton does either. I don’t want my children to engage in digging up dirt, bullying, or character assassination when they are trying to win a competition. It is hard to separate the person from such a position as ‘leader of the free world’ because your individual values, character, and beliefs shape the way you will do any job, especially where the ‘right’ move is so subjective based on what you hold to be true.
The fact is I am tired.
I am tired of each party bad mouthing the other.
I am tired of opening Facebook to catch up on the happenings in the lives of friends and family just to see venom and disrespectful disagreement.
I am tried of having to be extra cautious to sensor basically every form of media so my children aren’t seeing images of our future first lady that are less than savory.
I am tired of seeing, reading, and hearing people abuse the candidates and their families for having differing opinions, for past indiscretions, and for generally being human.
I am even more tired of seeing, reading, and hearing people who were once friends abuse each other because they support different candidates.
In my heart of hearts, I didn’t support either candidate because there most certainly are more qualified people. But we are still a ‘representative democracy’ and my hope is that it will be enough to keep the major concerns about this presidency in check. I do recognize that our major system of checks and balances are majority representative of the presidents own party and that may undermine the system, but my hope is that where we actually end up is somewhere between the more extreme measures Trump has supported and where we are now, a compromise of sorts I suppose.
I also hope that as a nation we can stop lamenting the messages that electing Trump sends to our children over the messages we are sending to our children with the way we are disrespecting one another over this campaign. I also hope that the majority of this nation can see why individuals are concerned about this coming term. We are in a climate of particular racial tension and we are ushering in a presidential term that has helped to fuel that tension.
I can only imagine the feeling that oppressed minorities have facing the coming presidential term, and I don’t think we should be overlooking that, but the reality is we don’t truly have control over the fact that Trump has become the president elect and will begin serving our nation as our leader in the coming months. What we can control is how we choose to treat one another, what we let our children see through all forms of media, and how we choose to conduct ourselves in this particular political climate.