Dear Grayson and Charlie,
What a weird day, my loves.
It’s not just another day. It’s not even just another election. Today will make history. One way or another, today will shape our country in a new way. I’m scrolling through social media and there are so many emotions. I’m torn between speaking my mind and staying silent. I am stuck between vomiting my opinions and resigning to the fact that no one will hear my heart, my facts, or my reasoning. Honestly, though, none of that matters. My Facebook friends don’t matter. Strangers on Instagram don’t matter. Trolls in comment sections don’t matter. However, I do want to explain myself to you guys, because, you know what does matter?
Today, I thought of you. I thought of your future. I thought of the research papers you would write for your history class someday. I thought of the morals I wanted you to grow up with and the values that your Dad and I work so hard to instill in you. I thought of the people I want you to become and the hopes and dreams I have for you. I thought about the nation you will inherit. I thought about optimism and hope and how those two things have been the building blocks upon which liberty was built.
One side of this election has demonstrated new levels of public ignorance, hate, racism, elitism, rape culture, and fear mongering. While I have always leaned farther to the left, I have never seen such emotional instability, disrespect, remedial intelligence, or lack of compassion from any candidate from any political party in my lifetime. That isn’t the leader I want for you. That isn’t the leader I want to mold and shape your future, and it certainly isn’t the leader I want you to look to for an example of poise, professionalism and confidence.
So, today, I voted for progress. I voted for the continued evolution of a civilized country that I believe in. I voted for tolerance and equality. I voted for a candidate that will challenge the status quo and continue to challenge the state of the republic. I voted for forward motion and not regression. I voted with faith instead of fear.
Grayson, you came to me yesterday and told me your friends said that you should vote for Trump because their parents are. This was my first opportunity to tell you that no matter what your friends are doing, you should always go with your own convictions. I also told you that you can’t possibly understand the issues that adults will be weighing out in their minds today as they vote, but one day you will. One day you will be registered to vote and you will vote for the candidate that best represents your values. No matter what, never be driven by fear or even popular opinion. No matter what, stay true to who you are and what you know to be true. Let truth and love guide your heart. I need you to know that Donald Trump is not a role model. Donald Trump is not love. Donald Trump is not class. Even if he doesn’t win this election and people push him out of their memories by the time you read this, I need you to hear me. Being a man is not abusing women. Being a man is not interrupting others while they are talking. Being a man is not insulting people who are different than you. Being a man is not mocking the disabled or casually using racist verbiage. Being a man is not belittling the opposite sex and minimizing their importance. Today, I voted, for you.
Charlie, tomorrow we may have the first ever female president. Hopefully, you will never know a world of gender inequality or unfair wages. You will presumably grow up in a world where women can do and be whatever they want. (Yes, even POTUS.) Today, I voted because it wasn’t long ago that women couldn’t vote at all. Strong women went ahead of us and paved the way to equal rights and we owe it to them to exercise them. Don’t ever take that for granted. While some of the country doesn’t believe a woman can serve our country as president, I believe she can. I believe in her as a woman, as a mother, and as our president. I believe she will continue to protect your rights and shatter the ceiling that precedes you. There is no question that the other candidate would do his best to take away the privileges afforded to us by our sisters who came before us. I want you, too, to know that there will be respectable men in politics over the course of your life, but Donald Trump is not one of them. Don’t ever be fooled into believing that it is acceptable to be judged based on your physical appearance. Don’t ever accept any excuse for sexual abuse, even if it’s painted as “locker room talk”. Today, I voted, for you.
I want you both to understand this country and what who we are at our core. We are a country that invites the tired, the poor, the displaced, and the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and we love. We are refuge. We are democracy. We are a melting pot. We are the light of the world. We are the FREE.
We are not a private, invitation-only club. We are not hate. We do not tell another person who to love, we do not tell another person what to believe, and we don’t tell a woman what to do with her body.
I trust the military and heads of state to protect our already great country and am not afraid of foreign affairs. Today, I voted with my heart. I voted for your future. I love you both more than anything, and if you hear nothing else- please know that I only wish to leave with you a legacy of bravery, strength, and love.
Love will always trump hate.