I have never cried at election results. Scratch that. I cried when Obama won in 2008. But those were tears of joy. Last night I cried tears of shame, fear, dread. This isn’t my America. And then I wondered…what will I tell my sons?
This election season was a new brand of toxic. I have not found words adequate to capture what’s happened. If Hollywood had written this as a script it would have been panned as a story too far fetched.
Yet here we are.
My sons went to bed late last night with hope in their hearts. The races in our state and nation were tight, but we hung on to the hope for decency. It wasn’t to be. They were incredulous when I confirmed that Trump had won. I was puffy eyed. Mac Daddy was silent. The boys were morose as they finished breakfast and packed up their backpacks. The sadness in our home was palpable.
“There are millions of racists out there who just voted for a terrible man.”
“What will it take for us to leave? How much would it cost for us to move?”
“Where could we go? How can we stay here?”
Even before the election one of my sons said to me, “Mom, I would rather be cold and feel safe than be warm and stay here. We should move to Canada.” Ouch. My sons don’t feel safe in our current climate. They have been taunted. Brown and black children, minorities of all stripes, everyone marked with “otherness” in our county feels this way. But the reactions of children are the most poignant. They feel life fiercely and speak unabashedly. Here’s what children from around the country have said in reaction to a Trump presidency.
Read it and weep. I did.
“Why is Donald Trump president when he’s been doing such bad things?”
“Why do and how can people believe that Donald Trump would make a suitable president?”
“How is Trump going to affect our lives?”
“Will I get in trouble if I don’t want to call him President Trump?”
“What made Trump always say such mean things? Did his parents not teach him respect for others?”
“Why did this election get so crazy?”
“Why did they let Donald Trump be president if he’s so mean to women and black people?”
“Are we going to give him a chance?”
“But, you said this wouldn’t happen, mum… you said.”
“What do we do now?” – age 7
My 11-year old cried and asked to leave.
Upon hearing Trump won: “I’m embarrassed.” – age 8
“The future is ruined” – age 8
“How could this even happen? How could anyone vote for him?” – age 15
My 20-year old told me that she literally screamed at her best friend because her friend was upset over the result but didn’t vote.
Yesterday afternoon my 12-year old asked how people could vote for Trump. She said, “Well they must not have children because he doesn’t care about children and education.”
“Never underestimate the power of hatred. Hatred of Mexicans, hatred of muslims, hatred of LGBT, hatred of black people, hatred of the planet.” – age 17
“Mom, how can someone so mean win an election?” – age 10
“I want to meet him and ask him if he thinks the election is still rigged.” – age 12
My daughter looked at me and asked who won. When I told her, she had that look she gets before a panic attack. She asked to leave and said how scared she was. She asked to stay home. – age 12
My folded into my arms, tears in his eyes and asked ” What about those with disabilities, what happens to them? What happens to all those that get bullied?” – age 10
“I don’t understand. Why do people think it’s OK to treat people that way? Trump makes me feel bad about myself.” – age 8
“Momma should we move just out of North Carolina or do we go all the way to another country?” – age 12
My 11-year old cried. My 16 year old is worried about the economy and wants to do nothing but pace.
My 9-year old was crying because he didn’t want to go to school to “face his friends that we let down.”
My 8-year old was to know why the popular vote doesn’t count. I don’t have an answer.
My 11-year old is dreading the taunting from classmates who supported Trump.
“If Trump gets elected what are we gonna do?” – age 12
Guatemalan born, US citizen. ‘I won’t have to go back, Mom, right?’ – age 9
“I’m looking for a job in Canada. I feel homeless.” – age 26
“Is he really going to build that wall, Mom?” – age 9
“But he’s such a racist, how could he win?” – age 11
She just stood silently with tears in her eyes. – age 13
“I’m afraid we are going to war.”- age 11
My daughter and her friends are wearing black shoes because they’re in mourning for our country. – 7th graders
“I’m scared as sh**.” – age 15
Mine curled up together in one of their beds this morning. To talk. By themselves. This what the two of them do when they are worried. – ages 16 and 13
“I’m never going to be able to go to college!” – age 12
My son asked if I was worried. He knew what the answer was. He said, “Mom, I’ll be able to vote next election.” – age 13
My almost 8-year old said he wanted to move. My 11-year old cried a little, but he didn’t want me to see.
My son wanted to know what the national anthem of Canada was. – age 12
Just had to talk down my newly turned 18-year old who suffers from anxiety and depression. She wants to withdraw from college. I had to convince her everything will be okay, even when I don’t know or believe that myself.
One wants us to move to France, the other reassured me things would get fixed in the next election because she and her friends would be voting. – age 14
A friend who is a high school teacher had a hard working Hispanic student come in crying. He had a number of white students say to him “Yep, they are going to send your ass back”. All before 9:00 am.
“I don’t want to live in America, Mom.” – age 13
I had to send one of my kids home early. She couldn’t take it.
“Will there now be even more bullying in schools?” – age 12
She is devastated. She is angry and she doesn’t understand how the “backbone” of America (a phrase she’s heard from family) could so blatantly ignore her future and can care so little about the nation as a whole. She keeps texting me from school and says she’s been crying off and on today. I should have let her stay home. – age 13
My son, age 10, asked if other countries will start wars with us when I told him.
My son asked if his permanent resident father would have to leave the country. – age 10
“Well, looks like we will have WW 3.” – age 9
This morning before leaving for school “Mom, I’m still scared.” And so I said “Me too, honey. But as long as I’ve got you and Dad, we will be okay… I’m more afraid for other families.” – age 13
Turns 8 tomorrow: At least Obama will still be president on my birthday” and “Are you SURE you watched the right election?” and to my assurance that we will fight, “But how? How do you fight a president?”
“I wish hadn’t read so many Time magazines.” – age 10
He wanted to know why we have an electoral college. I told him that it was to guard against the “tyranny of the small majority” and to prevent large population centers from deciding for the rural areas. Instead, we’re left with the tyranny of the ignorant electorate. – age 16
“Does this mean we will have a war?” and “If we have to move, can it be after the sixth grade band concert?” – age 11
“I am worried that school will be even less safe and mom, did you know there has never been a more dangerous time to go to school?” – age 14
“Will things get bad for the Jewish people again?” (We’re Jewish) – age 11
My son is very worried because while he and his brother were born here, his parents weren’t. And he wants to know what is going to happen to us. Also, he is now worried that we speak Spanish because that is now “very bad” and the police are going to come. – age 7
I got a text at 7 am from the Hispanic translator at the clinic where I volunteer (she is now a Nurse Family Partnership nurse). “Good morning sweet doctor. Looks like you have to work hard with anxiety during the next months. I received 4 calls this mornings from Hispanic parents. They do not know how to deal with their children’s anxiety after Mr. Trump wins….” I cannot imagine what it must have been like to put a brown skinned child on the bus this morning and wave goodbye.
“But he says and does bad things to women.” – age 7
“Mom, do you think Trump will make a good president? I’m really concerned he’s going to start WWIII.” – age 11
He rolled his eyes, grunted “no way” and asked how someone so mean and who says bad words is our president. – age 6
“Someone who I (and not just me) would be afraid to be alone in a room with should not be president.” – age 14
“Time to pack and move.” – age 12
“But Trump doesn’t like girls!” – age 6
“Why didn’t Millenials vote? Who can be deported? Why do we have the electoral college? By the next election I’ll be able to VOTE.” – age 14
“I’m so shocked. I’m afraid he will not make good decisions for the country. He’s a bully. Do we need to move?” – age 8
This morning my daughter looked at me, big grin on her face, and asked “is Hillary our new president? “When I told her no, she crumpled on the floor and cried. – age 6
“My friends are scared. They’re scared their family will be taken away.” – age 13
What about the people trying to get away from war? Where will they go? Countries are looking the other way and closing the doors, where will we go if a war starts here?” – age 13
He started to cry. He was quiet. He asked how it happened. – age 8
“They are going to take my friend away.” – age 6
“He walked in on naked girls my age. He talked about doing things to girls when they weren’t ok with it. He has said such awful things about girls. All of these people voted for him? Does that mean what he says and does is ok?” – age 13Tweet