Dear Eitan and Shayna,
Yesterday was a tough day. It started quite promising, as we were all able to leave the apartment in the morning as a family so that you could watch your mom and me vote in one of the most important elections in our lifetime. We wanted you to see us exercise our rights to have our voices heard in choosing our representatives in government because we know that there are people all over the world who are not nearly as lucky. We also wanted you to get a sense of the gravity of the situation, since this election carried extra weight. The two main candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, were diametrically opposed in many of their views, particularly regarding equal rights for women, the LGBT community and people of color. Plus, there was also the very real possibility that we would be able to take part in electing the first female president of the United States.
Your mom and I were genuinely excited when we left the poll. We thought we were about to see Hillary elected, a move that would launch missiles at the glass ceiling that has trapped women in our country for decades. We thought that there was no way that Trump could be elected, not after the campaign he ran using bigotry, misogyny and flat-out lies. We thought that American citizens would respond positively to Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric but that they would be so shocked by his blatant disrespect and disregard for those who disagreed with him – let alone, those who had the audacity to be born with a vagina – that they would send him back where he came from.
We were wrong.
The two of you are in a difficult position right now. You know that there was this thing called an election, that we spoke with you about hope for the future and about not voting for the “silly man.” You know that, the morning after, there were parents in your school hallway in tears as they hugged each other, trying to find comfort after such a confusing, depressing and, for many, infuriating night. You may hear grownups talk about walls or deportations or even about moving to Canada. The reason people are talking like this is because they are scared for the future and, if adults are scared, you might be too.
I’ll admit, I’m as frustrated and disappointed as anyone. I think our country had a real opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to equality and social justice and we somehow decided to go the other way. But, despite yesterday’s election results, I don’t think we’ve necessarily lost that opportunity altogether. Eitan, I’ve written countless times about your caring, sensitive heart and how much I admire your intelligence and your desire to help others. Shayna, you may not even be six months old yet, but you’ve already shown that you’re one of the happiest babies I’ve ever met. Your smile lights up every room you enter and the twinkle in your eyes when you recognize your family is truly amazing. Our country may feel a bit dimmer this morning, but we’re all going to continue working together to ensure that our lights are able to shine even brighter through the darkness. The fight for justice lost a major battle last night, but we’ve hardly lost the war.
Yesterday didn’t go as we planned or hoped and the next four years are not going to be easy for anyone. We have each other, though, and there are a lot of people who are with us in this struggle. You may feel scared at times and that’s okay; we’re scared sometimes too. It’s natural to be afraid when the future is filled with so much uncertainty. If you have questions, we’ll do our best to answer them. And, if we don’t know the answers, we’ll just keep having the conversations that need to be had so that we can figure things out together.