I'm going to light a fire in her belly.
I’m starting to get nervous about the election.
Actually, I’ve been anxious about it all year, but, in these final days before the 2016 Presidential election, I’m finding myself facing some harsh realities that I didn’t really anticipate.
Namely, what will I say to my daughter if she wakes up on November 9th and Donald Trump is our president?
Because there’s a decent chance he’ll win. His poll numbers are up, statisticians like Nate Silver are pointing out that his paths to victory are improving every day. We need to start preparing ourselves for a President Trump-led America.
But that involves the possibility of me waking my daughter up on Wednesday morning and telling her that Trump won.
How do I do that? How do I ever say those words to her?
She’s been watching Trump all year. She’s heard what he’s said about women and immigrants. She’s seen how he constantly lies. Even she knows that Trump doesn’t really want the job. He has no interest in civics or public service. He just wants to win.
And that scares the hell out of my daughter — he scares the hell out of her.
But, if the unthinkable happens and Trump wins, when my daughter wakes up that morning, this is what I will tell her…
Sometimes the bad guy wins.
It’s a fact of life.
Good does not always triumph over evil. There are moments where no matter what you believe or how strong you believe it, the world will take a sharp turn and you’ll be devastated by the direction you’re headed in.
Bad guys win.
And bad guys often have lots of support. That doesn’t mean that all of their supporters are bad. They’re not. They all have their own anxieties and worries too. But, occasionally, good people support bad guys, because they’re AFRAID.
They feel lost, abused, attacked. And bad guys tell them what someone else is to blame for their problems and that there are easy solutions to complex problems and that just feels good to hear when you’re at your lowest point.
So they go into a voting booth and they vote for Trump.
We can’t control what they do. We can only do what we do. And we can do now.
And the most important thing we can do is NEVER stop being the good guys.
A wise woman once said “When they go low, we go high.” That’s our motto. If the bad guys win the day and they get power and influence and they get to spread their toxic agendas, we go in the other direction.
We love people, we have empathy, we make sure that we’re annoying as shit to the bad people in power, so they know, every day, that they do NOT have a mandate from the masses.
We organize. We cultivate hope. We never stop smiling and doing whatever we think is right because, deep down, we know that it will piss them off. (It’s also the right thing to do, but the “pissing them off” part is a lot of fun.)
Our nation has had some truly HORRIFIC rulers in the past and we’ll have more in the future.
I will remind my daughter that the President has limited powers, that he can be impeached, that he’s going to spend four years finding out that he can’t do half of all the dumb crap he’s promised his followers he can do.
We will be the fly in the ointment. The sand in the Vaseline. We will never, ever, EVER stop rubbing our new awful President the wrong way because he needs to know that he doesn’t speak for us.
And we accomplish that by being the good guys.
By helping where we can. By refusing to be silent about injustice. By making sure the world can judge us by our personal examples and not by the bloated trust-fund kid we elected to office.
If Trump wins, I’m not going to console my daughter. I’m going to light a fire in her belly.
I’m going to say, “OK, Voldemort won. The Death Eaters have taken control of the Ministry. Do we give up? Or do we keep fighting?”
And, knowing my daughter, she’s going to give me a long, low smirk and tell me, “Bring it on.”
Maybe I won’t get the smirk that morning. She might be too shell-shocked. Too upset. But, once we have a chance to look out upon Trump’s America, I know, in my heart, as a family, we’ll want to knock Donald Trump’s tacky branding off our country and start moving towards the next act of the American story, where the good guys rally and we make our country a place of empathy and acceptance once again.
So, if you do win, Donald, I have just one piece of advice for you.