An Open Letter to the President-Elect
You’re scaring the women and children.
The day after the election, I found myself sobbing in a co-worker’s office with several of our female colleagues. Our shared pain was not necessarily that Hillary Clinton had lost; most of us were not huge fans, though the prospect of our first woman president was exciting. No, our pain came from our shock and fear that we lived in a country where blatant racism and misogyny are not just tolerated, but rewarded. To the highest office in the land, our fellow Americans had elected a man whom we would not trust to babysit our daughters.
My 11-year-old daughter is terrified of you.
You might think that’s my fault, that my husband and I made a bogeyman out of you. We did not. In fact, we spent months tiptoeing around politics at home, not mentioning the campaign if she was in the room and begging our guests to do the same. But she heard things at school. She’s in a high-ability class, and they watch news. They discuss current events. She was suddenly seeing worrisome changes in her classmates. Some of her Hispanic and Muslim friends were scared. She’s been having nightmares for months. You are the monster under her bed.
The morning after the election, I had to go upstairs to wake her for school. To help her sleep the night before, I had lied and told her the election results were tied even though you were already ahead. I didn’t want any more nightmares for at least one more night.
Walking up those stairs was like walking to the gallows for my own execution. I dreaded the moment I actually had to tell her that the monster in her dreams had been elected president. I stood in the doorway and looked at her peaceful sleeping face for a minute. When she opened her eyes and asked, “Do we know?” I had to tell her yes, we did, and Secretary Clinton had lost.
I tried to do it the same way I would pick her up after a tumble when she was very little: keep the tone light, brush her off, make it no big deal.
Or the way I do when she finds a big, scary spider, and I have to get rid of it without freaking out because I don’t want her to inherit my fear. Keep the tone light, eliminate the spider, no big deal.
She cried anyway.
So here is my plea, Mr. Trump:
Stop talking about women in terms of our genitalia or physical attractiveness. (Including your own daughter, please.)
Stop threatening to shoot or bomb random people.
Stop exhorting your supporters to shoot people.
Stop bullying people on social media.
Stop mocking people with disabilities.
Stop threatening to build impossible walls and deport people because of their religion or ethnicity.
Stop spouting off and listen to the advisers and veteran public servants we’re all now counting on to keep you from sending nukes to some country because one of its citizens looked at you the wrong way.
In short, stop scaring the children. The mothers of America thank you.