I Don't Know How To Raise My Daughter In Donald Trump's America
This little girl. My little girl. She smiles constantly. Every day spent with her is full of giggles, wide-eyed wonder, and endless squishy baby hugs. She’s an especially easy baby, content to just sit and admire the small miracles of the world, overjoyed to just be present and loved. And in this moment, my heart is breaking for her. Because I don’t know how to raise her in Donald Trump’s America. How can I look into her perfect little face and tell her that the greatest country in the world, a place that affords us so many privileges and freedoms, has just elected a Commander-in-Chief who disregards her worth as a human, disrespects her body, denies her right to make her own medical choices, and doesn’t believe that she deserves to treated as an equal to her male counterparts?
I don’t know how to explain why a man like Donald Trump even exists, let alone that millions of Americans have chosen to support him. That it isn’t just Trump who thinks she is undeserving of respect, autonomy, and protection – but that is millions of her fellow Americans, too. No matter what, I'll raise my daughter to value herself. I'll make certain she knows that she is worthy of love and respect. I will teach her to protect her body and her heart. I will support her in taking up room, speaking her truth, and standing her ground. But now, now I'll be raising her under the oppression of a man who openly and unapologetically models the exact opposite for her.
I can only protect her from so much, before she'll become just another woman making her way in the world. This is the terrifying truth of parenting: I can and will work tirelessly to lift her up, educate her well, and love her through the dark moments of life, but the rest of the world will teach her things that she should never have to learn. She'll be inundated with images from the media that may cause her to question or even despise her own body. She'll be betrayed by friends and lovers. She'll see people treated differently based on the color of their skin. She'll be treated differently because she has two moms.
It's no longer a matter of telling my daughter that bad things happen, that people make mistakes, or that sometimes the suffering in the world feels like to much to bear. Now, on top of all of the other hard truths, I will have to tell her: The President of the United States is a man who hates women.
For all the beauty in the world, it is a brutal and unforgiving place full of hard truths that I cannot prevent her from realizing. It’s the burden of parenthood to suddenly see the world in all its hazards. From exposed electrical outlets, to improperly installed car seats, to playground injuries, to middle school angst, to high school heartbreak. Addiction and disease. Schoolyard bullies and sexual predators. War and terrorism. I want to protect her from it all, but I can’t, because that would mean keeping her from really living in a world that is simultaneously beautiful and inspiring, unfair and heartbreaking. So every day I work to accept that it is my job to prepare her for the world, instead of keep her from it. I don’t like it, but I do my best to accept it.
But watching my fellow Americans elect Donald Trump as our president is something I cannot accept. It's no longer a matter of telling my daughter that bad things happen, that people make mistakes, or that sometimes the suffering in the world feels like to much to bear. Now, on top of all of the other hard truths, I will have to tell her: The President of the United States is a man who hates women. He demonstrates this hatred with cruel remarks about women’s appearances and intellectual ability. With his statements regarding a woman’s worth in the workplace or how a woman should be punished for exercising her right to choose. With his belief that he can treat a woman’s body any way he wants to, regardless of consent. With his lengthy history of rape and sexual assault allegations.
The truth, my precious baby girl, is that living in Donald Trump’s America means that the most powerful man the world is not here for you and the most powerful country in the world is full of people who used their votes to prove that they are not here for you either. But I am.
The President of the United States is a man who discriminates against African Americans, Mexicans, and Muslims. He makes fun of those with disabilities. He breaks the law and takes advantage of people, and then uses his money to make it go away.
The President of the United States is a man who is reactionary, retaliatory, petty, cruel, and corrupt. And on November 8, 2016 it was irrefutably proven that this terrifying man is not an anomaly. That there are millions of Americans who love him, support him, and share his opinions. Millions of people who also believe that my daughter is unworthy of respect and equality. No matter how unremittingly I endeavor to support her sense of confidence, self-respect, kindness, selflessness, honesty, integrity, and altruism, my daughter is growing up amidst a country that will attack these values with equal fervor.
I'm committed to always telling my children the truth, even when it’s difficult. They deserve the truth and sheltering them will only serve to preserve their privilege instead of empowering them to be allies and helpers. So the truth, my precious baby girl, is that living in Donald Trump’s America means that the most powerful man the world is not here for you and the most powerful country in the world is full of people who used their votes to prove that they are not here for you either. But I am. I am always here for you and together, we'll be here for all of the other communities, genders, religions, and races that the rest of America abandoned today. And I am so sorry, little one. You deserve better than this. We all do.